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Q&A: Senior Sydney Reed discusses Custom Creations for Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day approaching, many individuals are looking for heartfelt gifts for their significant others. Clinton Township senior Sydney Reed has decided to help by selling custom made boxes through her business, Custom Creations. 

The two different boxes created are infinity and explosion boxes both sold for $20 each. Both boxes are filled with a couple's pictures and can incorporate personalized items such as quotes or movie references. 

This is Custom Creations’ first year, and Reed creates all of these boxes by herself. While sitting on her living room floor, Reed spends about two hours on each box making sure all of the components line up properly. 

Although Reed has just started selling these boxes, she has been receiving requests to do more occasions than just Valentine's Day. She has received requests for anniversaries and Mother's Day, and soon Reed hopes to continue to expand this business she has created. 

With the start-up of Custom Creations, Reed has been able to utilize her creativity to not only make a profit but to “spread the love with the talent” she has. 

Central Michigan Life sat down with Reed to learn more about her experience with Custom Creations. 

CM Life: What was the reason behind the creation of Custom Creations? 

Reed: So (there are) two main reasons. The first reason was that I am going to my grad school interviews over the course of the next month and it’s pretty expensive to fly out of state. I was thinking about all of the talents I have. I think about other people like some of my friends do makeup (or) braid hair, but I’m creative. I have done this (idea) for a past partner that I had, and he really liked it and a lot of my friends said it was pretty cool so I thought maybe I should try it. Also, going along with that, there are a lot of friends I have and people that I know in general that have partners but they don’t have the time to make them a gift because we have class and all of that stuff. So I was thinking since I have a lot of free time on my hands, then I would just do it and that’s kind of how the idea came about.

How did you learn to make these boxes? 

I remember seeing the explosion boxes, I want to say it was two years ago or so. I was just scrolling on Twitter and I saw someone post it and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I looked on YouTube and I never actually found the video for the explosion box, but I found one for the infinity boxes. So that’s how I came to making that for a past partner that I had and then when I was thinking about doing this little business thing I looked on YouTube and I eventually found a video for the explosion boxes and I just watched it and looked at the measurements they put up there and just got to cutting.

What goes into making these boxes? 

I got those rolls of paper you might see in the SIC or that your RA’s put up for their boards. So I bought one of those on Amazon and it was pretty cheap, and I also have card stock paper that I just got from JoAnn's. It’s a lot of measuring out exact measurements so when the boxes fold back together they go back how they’re supposed to. I’ve made boxes before and the measurements were off and then it just looked all out of whack. So it’s just a lot of time, measuring and creativity.

What would you say is your favorite part about it all? 

When I take the lid off (of the box) and start to unravel it so people can see and I’m recording the video, that’s one of my favorite parts. You can just see all of their pictures together and how much they love each other. Another favorite part is when I send the video to the customer and they see it and their reactions are always so great. It makes me feel good that I know that I’m able to at least help their relationship or provide something for them during the Valentine's Day season. I personally don’t have a partner so I could sit here and be bitter or I could just share the love with the rest of the world or the rest of campus.

What is a challenge you have faced with this business? 

I posted it and it kind of blew up more than I thought it was going to. A lot of my friends on Twitter were retweeting it and commenting, so I got a lot of orders, but even more inquiries just about the boxes in general. So I was getting a little overwhelmed like I don’t know if I’ll have time to make all of these boxes. I had some people that reached out to me from New York and Arizona, like all over people were reaching out. That was surprising because I wasn’t thinking anyone was going to reach out beyond CMU. I was just getting concerned I wasn’t going to be able to do all of the boxes in the time with 20-30 people reaching out to me. But, of course, not everyone followed through and wanted a box.

Do you have hopes for your business in the future? 

I’m hoping that, at least for myself, that it will turn into a nice little side hustle. Now that I am getting older I am understanding the importance of not only having one job but having multiple sources of income just in case something does happen. So I am hoping it does get a little bit bigger especially with going to grad school and still being in school and how expensive that is. I am hoping that I will be able to use this to help finance that. In addition to that, I have seen how happy it makes people when they see the box of them and their partner. So, I just want to continue to put smiles on people’s faces.