Batter Up! : Melissa Mills, Founder; Old Joy Gift Boxes

Never have I ever met a more nurturing, truly warm-hearted woman. Melissa Mills brings a breath of fresh air to an industry that not so long ago could easily have been classified as 'stale'. No longer do we have to rely on (not that we ever really did) poorly put together food baskets wrapped in twenty feet of cellophane. Gifting, and the art of gifting has luckily taken a turn for the better thanks to companies like Old Joy Gift Boxes. The care and attention Melissa exudes is not lost on her work as the sole curator of Old Joy, or on her undeniably fresh and design-minded Instagram account — a texture aficionado's dream. Anyone on the receiving end of one of her thoughtful, modern gift boxes is in for a real treat!

'Gifting has always been something I’ve enjoyed, and now with Old Joy, something I really take pride in. The art of giving, and gifting with intention is something that was definitely always apparent, even at a young age but enhanced by the values my Oma shared with me.  She taught me how to be a good hostess and that it was proper etiquette when a friend invites you over, to bring a little something. It never needs to be excessive or expensive, just something to let them know you appreciate them. 

Gifting feels good, and when it is done with thoughtful intention it can create the kind of magic that intoxicates your entire being.

Gifting With Intention

Old Joy came about after the birth of my first child. I saw a need for more authentic gifting and I wanted to foster the idea of gifting more meaningfully. When it comes to gifting, I believe it should embody intention first, though the gift itself is also extremely important. I wanted to connect with the consumer, and move away from gifting things that people receiving don't find of value or enjoyment in. It was also important to me to support the local economy and partner with companies who were not huge conglomerates, who behind their walls were real people hustling for a product they believe in.

I love texture, so I love a layered look. I like to start with say a fabric, paired with something hard, then something light, something edible, topped off with some greenery or fresh blooms. I really like building on the contrasts of different mediums. It’s like building a sandwich, all pieces are important and must compliment each other. I mean, you can just put goods in a box, but I really believe in the introduction of something — the debut. I think that in itself is winning.

Family Matters

My husband inspires me everyday with the drive and passion he brings to his own business, Four Winds, a successful brewery he runs with his brother and father. Having watched him build something from the ground up with his family without any previous knowledge has shown me that whatever it is you want to do, if you dedicate yourself to it, it can be done. It’s his creative drive that fuels me and I learn from him everyday. We’re constantly bouncing things off of each other; we’re both really interested in interior design, colours and graphic design and have very similar tastes. Seeing him passionate about his work inspires me and parallels my own drive with Old Joy. 

Since first starting the business three years ago this September, it’s been an exciting journey and one that I could never have predicted. I can almost relate it to the cycle of a new relationship.  

The first year was like being in the honeymoon phase; everything was new and exciting, and now that we’re a few years in and married — Old Joy and myself; with deepened affection, we’re having to look each other square in the eye and accept who each other is in order to make this work (laughs).

That being said, we have some great days and then some challenging days — all in the same week. Being flexible and light-hearted definitely make those days more manageable but all in all we’re still madly in love.

You and Only You

The concept of originality almost doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s sometimes hard to feel like what you’re doing is reaching people and what you’re offering is memorable. In these moments, it’s important to remember there’s only one you. You are the heartbeat of your company, and what makes your company special and shine is a reflection of you— and there is only one you. Trust in your originality.

I once heard somewhere that what you resist, persists. And it’s so true! You can apply this to all aspects of life; business, relationships— it’s sort of become my daily mantra to tackle head-on the parts of my life I’m resisting. Something I’ve come to terms with lately is that to not be run off your feet busy does not mean you’re not successful.

The glorification of ‘busy’ sometimes overshadows all the work you’ve put in day and day out, and taking time for yourself and having moments where you can just breathe, those are meaningful — they are purposeful and just as important as being busy.

When you’re quiet or in idle times, this is not a reflection of your overall success. Enjoy the quiet, as soon the chaos will come as it always does (laughs). 

My proudest moment in the past few years has been finding a positive relationship with myself. Five years ago I would never have been able to have these sorts of conversations, I wouldn’t have been comfortable talking about myself or my accomplishments. I’ve finally come to a place where I can appreciate my purpose; I have a newfound respect for myself and confidence that wasn’t there previously. Before I was a 'Jill of all trades', skipping around doing many things at once and couldn’t ever seem to stick to one thing. Because I didn’t have a real purpose, I never felt really proud or excited about the work I was doing, whereas now I’m super proud of what I do. I wake up feeling driven and lucky to be apart of creating joy in people’s lives. '

Interviewed and photographed by Tianna Grey on 04.27.2016; photos otherwise marked.

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