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'A gift within a gift’ | How one Minnesota woman uplifts the Midwestern spirit through inclusive gift wrap

Mahogany Ellis-Crutchfield began her own gift-wrapping company, GiftyWrap, in June of 2020.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — Normally when you open a present, you rip through the paper to get to the actual gift. Minnesota native and GiftyWrap founder Mahogany Ellis-Crutchfield hopes you will think twice and savor that paper. 

"When someone spends the time to wrap a gift for you, they are sending you a message," said Ellis-Crutchfield. "It's a part of the gift. My wrapping paper is a message for gifters to their gift recipients. It's a labor of love." 

Love that Ellis-Crutchfield didn't initially feel as a Black woman in Minnesota, which inspired her to create GiftyWrap, a Black and female-owned business that commercializes inclusive gift wrapping paper.

"There's a saying that people don't remember what you say, but they remember how they feel, and I feel the same thing about gifting," said Ellis-Crutchfield. "I am Minnesotan, and I am a Black woman who lives in Minnesota and I wanted to have products that reflected who I am. I wanted something that looked like me.

But after Ellis-Crutchfield launched GiftyWrap in 2020, she said she realized her culture wasn't the only one under-represented. 

"While [GiftyWrap] started with an initial 'Well, I want to see more Black faces,' all of a sudden, I said 'I wanted to see more Asian and Hispanic faces. I want to see everybody,'" said Ellis-Crutchfield.

This led her to connect with artists of all racial, ethnic, religious and sexual backgrounds. And particularly those who call the Midwest home.  

"It's really important to me as a Minnesotan and a Minnesotan business to always work with other Minnesotan businesses and Minnesotan artists because they understand the Midwestern flair," said Ellis-Crutchfield.

Ellis-Crutchfield added that there is more to the Midwest than meets the eye.

"We have a very diverse community in Minnesota. Your culture, your celebration and your joyfulness should be available commercially, and I created a line that does that," said Ellis-Crutchfield. "Everyone should be able to feel joy and see themselves in their products."

New holiday GiftyWrap prints and patterns is available with retailers including Leopold's Gifts & Antiques, The Department at Dayton's and the UMN Alumni Network.

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