By Keysha Drexel
Two moms have joined forces to bring a one-stop entertaining source to the Over the Mountain and Birmingham metro areas.
Emily Joy Gresham and Kelley Brown, both of Vestavia Hills, met while teaching at Covenant Day School. They recently launched Merry Company LLC, an online business that provides information on the area’s finest venues, caterers, entertainers and more.
“A unique feature of our site is that you can use an advanced search option to see which vendors fit the criteria for your party,” Gresham said. “If you want to know which venues will host a Sweet 16 party, where you can have a corporate event with in-house catering, or which venues can accommodate 300 guests, you can fill out the search questions and receive a list of Birmingham businesses and services that match your party planning goals.”
Brown and Gresham said they came up with the idea for the company after seeing a need in the community to share info on local vendors and businesses.
“The idea was born in January 2014, and we’ve been making it a reality ever since then,” Brown said.
The duo said they had firsthand knowledge about how time-consuming and stressful planning a party or an event can be.
“Even with the benefit of web searching, it’s not always easy to find the best vendors that fit your party planning goals,” Gresham said. “We saw a need for a comprehensive website which would feature and celebrate our community’s entertainment market. We help readers simplify the planning process by bringing inspiration and local vendors into one place.”
Merry Company also presents fresh and unique ideas in editorial features on its blog and has a master calendar so clients can view a vendor’s availability.
The new company has a philanthropic component, the pair said.
“Community service has always been a priority in our lives,” Brown said. “It’s been a longtime dream to start a business which could benefit local philanthropies.”
To that end, the company’s owners are combining their love of celebrations with a passion for serving the community with the Merry Moments Project.
Each quarter, the company will provide funds to make special parties possible for those who might not otherwise have the opportunity, the owners said.
“Whether it’s throwing a baby shower for mothers-to-be at Sav-A-Life, providing birthday gifts and cake for the girls at Grace House, or providing special entertainment for patients at Children’s (of Alabama), we’re committed to making merry moments for men, women and children in need in the greater Birmingham area,” Brown said.
Gresham taught elementary school until after her first son was born and then discovered photography as a creative outlet. That hobby led to a business, Emily Joy Designs.
After college, Brown worked in marketing and public relations for the Alabama Ballet and then for Cooking Light magazine. She served on several nonprofit boards and fulfilled her dream of attending seminary when she earned a master of theological studies degree from Beeson Divinity School. She writes freelance articles for Christian publications, teaches in-depth Bible studies and speaks to women’s ministry groups.
Prior to adopting her second daughter from China, Brown worked as executive coordinator for (un)adopted, a ministry of Lifeline Children’s Services.
Brown and her husband, Scott, met on a blind date in 2003 and almost two years later, she planned the most significant celebration of her life–becoming Mrs. Kelley Brown Brown.
“Yes, Brown was my maiden name, too,” she said.
The Browns are the parents of four children, two of whom they adopted from China. Brown and her husband serve as co-chairmen on the board of directors for Community Ministry for Girls, Inc. and are also involved members of Mountain Brook Community Church.
Gresham has been married to her husband, Miles Gresham Jr., since 2004. The couple has three children–Miles, Martha Ann and Leila. Gresham is an active member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and teaches part time at Covenant Day School.
The women said they are already looking down the road at how Merry Company could grow in the future.
“Our goal for Merry Company is for it to be a full representation of the party vendors in Birmingham. We hope that as the website gains awareness and popularity, more local businesses will jump on board and become involved on the site,” Gresham said.
For more information on the company’s Merry Moments Project, email email@example.com.
For more information on Merry Company, visit www.merrycompany.co.