Thinking Inside the Box With Katelyn Stalowy
As a child, Katelyn Stalowy recognized the agony of giving single gifts, so she decided to give many things in place of just one. As an adult the only thing that has changed is her job.
“I hate the pressure of a single gift,” says Stalowy. “So, even since I was a kid, and really in the last couple of years, I started to gift to people in my life in a selection—an assortment of things that I thought were a better gift than a single, one item.”
The custom gift boxes business was born out of long family talks during Christmas of 2014 and the natural talents of the Stalowy and Lobascio families. Katelyn’s husband, Craig, builds the boxes by hand; her sister, Gabby, handwrites calligraphy; and Katelyn curates all of the contents. Gift boxes come in small and large and can be shipped all over and outside of the United States.
“There are a lot of gift box brands that are starting all around the country and the world,” says Stalowy. “They’re all doing amazing things, and, for us, the big thing was Craig’s really building all of these boxes by hand—that’s something that’s different from a lot of the others.”
Blooms, salted caramels, single origin coffee and wood wick candles are a small handful of items in inventory. Gift boxes are typically created from item-specific customer requests, budgets, holidays or themes.
“I essentially create gifts for any season,” says Stalowy. ”Any category, any type of holiday. I have a ton of different stuff in inventory.”
Through the participation in farmers’ and flea markets around town and forming relationships with other local business owners, Manofatto is finding its place in the city of Denver.
“I think there are people here that just have a huge appreciation for things that are locally made, locally sourced and handmade,” says Stalowy. “You can see it in the coffee shops, you can see it in the breweries and you can see it in our restaurants.”
For the past year, Stalowy and her family have sanded, stained, curated and shipped gift boxes from home. While planning for the future, the principle stays the same: providing a better option for giving gifts.
“The purpose of the business and the business model was to create a better gift,” says Stalowy. “Build a gift that actually feels like there’s heart in it or thought in it.”