Please tell us about the creation of laurelbox, how did this heartfelt journey begin? In 2014, both of us watched as our closest friends said goodbye to newborn babies. When we went to send them gifts, it was really hard to find something to care for their hurting hearts. We processed through those losses together, and started tossing around the idea of opening a store with gifts for hurting people. That idea became a reality when laurelbox officially launched in May 2015. Our vision is that a laurelbox nourishes hurting hearts, and that each box becomes the breath of community as it is opened.
Many bereaved hearts are soothed by your products, what are your biggest sellers? Right now, with Christmas just around the corner, our Heaven-Side Holiday Ornament is our top seller. Our other top sellers are the Forget-Me-Not Necklace, the Collecting Your Tears Handkerchief, and the items from our Tea Collection. And of course, our Prepared laurelboxes are popular, because they’re an easy way to know what to send someone.
Mothers of loss have a need to feel connected to one another, would you share some testimonials with us?
One week after losing my 6-day old baby, I received one of the most beautifully packaged boxes in the mail. I was so impressed by the immaculate attention to detail of the box itself, and, as I opened it, I was even more taken aback by its perfectly packaged contents. From the paper lantern to the necklace, each item was personalized and made me feel truly special. If there was ever a time one needs something to feel special, it was during that time. I thank you for giving my heart something to smile about when I didn’t even know it could smile.
I received my first laurelbox this year on what would have been my youngest daughter’s third birthday. A Chinese lantern, a sweetly scented, hand-poured birthday candle, and a sachet of sparkly glitter for the grave site were the contents of this beautiful box. This was the first birthday we were having to endure without Nora and our hearts were pained. The exquisite love and compassion that went in to putting this box together was so obvious down to the smallest detail! They even included a gold marker to write special messages to Nora on the Chinese lantern. Each item played a deeply meaningful part in our remembrance celebration that day, and helped lighten our heavy hearts in such a special way.
The holidays can be a time which the effects of grief are triggered, which of your products do you find to be the most uplifting this holiday season?
The Heaven-Side Holiday Ornament has a really tender message, because it recognizes a hurting heart and also offers a beautiful message of hope. We also really like the We Love You Holiday Luminary because it is a sweet way to represent the life of someone you are missing this Christmas. We are close to debuting a holiday themed laurelbox, and it will include a soothing handmade soap and a hand-stamped necklace with the word “love” or “hope.”
Soothing hearts and supporting others is your mission, but what effects have laurelbox had on your souls?
From Johanna: It was really crazy timing to launch laurelbox. When we started planning laurelbox, my life basically was good. But since then, some really difficult personal things happened, and suddenly, the work we were doing was very close to my own heart. I joke that this was the worst possible timing to start a new business, but the truth is, in a huge way, laurelbox saved me. Connecting with other hurting women, even though our stories are all different, and finding community and beauty amongst darkness, was a huge blessing.
From Denise: When we started laurelbox, I thought that I would be the one blessing others. But in actuality, laurelbox changed my soul and morphed me into a person who savors each moment. I have slowed down, and I don’t take the time we have now lightly. I think since I physically package each box, I am very aware of how quickly life can change. I have grown in patience…with my children, with my parents, with my husband…knowing that they are precious gifts.
Family and friends are sometimes left without words during and after times of child loss, which products do you suggest loved ones purchase to show support?
It’s so true that it’s hard to put together words after someone losses a child! We curated our Bereaved Mothers Prepared laurelbox collection to guide someone who might be struggling to know what to send. The items recognize the pain after losing a child, help commemorate the child, and include things to care for the hurting parents.
Mothers and fathers love to see their child’s name written, does laurelbox offer items that can be personalized?
Yes! We love personalizing items, and most of our laurelboxes include some level of customization. We can personalize our hand stamped Words of Memory Vintage Spoons and our Wear My Initial Necklaces. You can also add initial charms to any of our existing necklaces, which makes a beautiful piece of customized jewelry. You can also have our You Light Up My Life Lanterns personalized. We include a complimentary card with each laurelbox, and we handwrite your gift message. It is really precious, because the name of the heaven-side child is almost always included in that card. There are also some little touches that we include to make each laurelbox feel even more special. Maybe only we notice, but for example, if you include seed paper in your box…we make sure to put pink in the pack for families missing girls, and blue in the pack for families missing boys. Our goal is truly to make each recipient feel loved and remembered, and we are thrilled when we can think of even small ways to convey that sentiment.
There are too many grieving kids in the world, which products would inspire these bereaved children?
We know how hard loss can be on little ones too, so we created the Small But Mighty Superhero Capes. We think sometimes pain can make little ones feel small and scared, so we hope that these capes help remind them of their mighty hearts in a time when they feel sad. We also have child size Wear My Initial Necklaces. We also have some customers who use our essential oils to calm their hurting children. The diffusing oils can help balance their emotions and hearts.
The men in our lives act tough, but we know they could use some pampering too, does laurelbox have special items for the forever-healing dad?
Dads love our handmade Collect the Memories Box because it’s rustic and handsome. They also like the sanctuary essential oil (with its woodsy scent), the Heaven-Side Holiday Ornament, and the You Light Up My Life lantern. Although we are currently a small shop that focuses mainly on women, our dream is to someday expand our product line to include gifts designed just for men.
What is your proudest accomplishment thus far, and what are some dreams for the future of laurelbox?
We have poured all of our creative energies, our personal finances, and our dreams into laurelbox, and honestly… and we are so thrilled that our dreams of caring for hurting women became a reality! We spend a huge amount of energy to make sure that laurelbox is special, and when we hear heartfelt testimonies of how a laurelbox makes a hurting person feel. Well, for us…that is our proudest accomplishment. Hearing how the unwrapping experience touches deep emotions, how each product speaks to someone’s grief, how special it feels that their friend remembered their hurt…that makes us unbelievably proud. After hearing so much affirmation about our company, we are starting to dream about changing the way people connect after loss, and revolutionizing the sympathy gift market.
Your “thoughtfully curated gift boxes are designed for a woman in a season of difficulty”, what is your wish/prayer/hope for the bereaved community this upcoming holiday season?
Our wish is that your community of friends and family hold you up when pain makes it hard to hold yourself up. Our prayer is that a laurelbox gift can help you feel remembered in a time when people can get busy with their own lives and loved ones. Our hope is that if you are far from your family and friends this holiday season, the tangible gifts we provide will help you know that they stand with you from across the miles.