Madison Murphy loves Birmingham, and she’s helping other folks fall in love with the Magic City, too — one gift box at a time. Madison is the creator of Byndel, gift boxes curated from top-notch products by local makers and small business owners. Madison started working with local businesses when she launched a grocery delivery service called Full Pantry about six years ago. As she connected with local farmers’ markets, she met more and more Birmingham-area makers, and she wanted to find a way to highlight their products better.
The first gift box she created was intended to be something fun for the holidays, but after it was such a big hit, she decided to go all in. Six months later, Byndel was born. “If I have an idea, I don’t sit on it for a long time,” Madison says. “I act quickly.” We’re excited to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Madison Murphy of Byndel.
Why is it so important to support local makers?
When businesses become bigger and franchises grow past the local level, it’s very easy to lose your relationship with people. You feel like you’re not necessarily supporting an individual. The makers I work with are truly small businesses. They work from their homes or have a really small shop with maybe a couple of workers. A lot of them work by themselves.
I always say that when you buy a box from Byndel you’re supporting three to 10 local businesses all at once. I think it’s so neat that they’re doing exactly what God has called them to do and what they enjoy doing. It’s their gift.
Do you envision Byndel growing into other markets, or are you staying focused on Birmingham?
When I first started, I thought I would enjoy having Byndel in different cities. But the more I’ve done this, the more I want to keep it small. There are so many gifting companies out there now. Curating gift boxes has become quite a thing in the last three to five years, so people are hitting other niches. I feel like this is my niche. I know my vendors on a more personal level, and honestly, I don’t want to be huge. I want to keep it local.
What has helped you be successful even though there are so many gift box companies out there?
Nobody else in Birmingham (that I know of) solely tries to use things made in Birmingham and Alabama. That keeps me different — I’m truly trying to support the local people.
When I started Byndel, I honestly thought I was going to sell to a lot of individuals. My goal was to be [the go-to] for birthday gifts, surprise gifts, or thank you gifts. I quickly learned that while I do that (and love doing that), getting into the corporate world and doing corporate gifts is what has helped Byndel be successful. That’s where I’ve put a lot of my focus. When you send these gifts to clients, not only are you supporting local people in your area, but you’re sending them something unique. A lot of the clients are in the local area too, so it’s a fun thing for them to receive. If they’re outside of the state, they learn about Birmingham by receiving a box. I’ve seen Byndel grow by leaps in the last year or two just by focusing on corporations. It’s easier to make money when you’re doing 100 boxes versus one.
How do you choose which items to include in your boxes?
First of all, [it has to be] a good product. On top of that, the biggest thing is that products are well-branded — my product is so affected by what goes in them! Sometimes there might be a good product, but it’s just not well-branded, so it doesn’t look beautiful or have the curated look I’m going for in my boxes.
What are your top tips for choosing the perfect gift?
When you’re sending a gift, it’s important that there’s something that can be enjoyed immediately — whether it’s food or something that can be used, like soap or face spray. Also, [it’s good to have] something that will last so everything in the box won’t be gone in a day. When you’re a business trying to send gifts, and the point of sending them is so [the recipient] will remember, and you make a difference, having something in there that will last helps with that.
Why do you love Birmingham so much?
I love that we get all seasons. I know that we get really hot, but I feel like we get a sprinkling of every season in this city. I love where our city has gone as far as food. We have so many great chefs and local restaurants! I’m very into that, and it has been fun to see it grow. As a small child, I remember when we would go downtown for certain things — it was nowhere near where it is today. I’m down there all the time. In my 30 years, I’ve seen it grow and change drastically, and that’s exciting. Also, my friends and family are all here. It’s my community.
What are some of your favorite Birmingham area restaurants?
Probably my top Birmingham restaurant is Chez Fonfon. My favorite thing about Chez Fonfon is how they change with the season and always have something new. I love that their menu isn’t set. I love El Barrio, (Trattoria) ZaZa, O’Carr’s, and Hero Doughnuts. I’m not picky. As long it’s local and fresh, I’m a fan.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to travel. I love spending time with my family. I’m at the gym on a daily basis. I really enjoy working out and exercising and my community at Godspeed Elite Sports Academy. I spend a lot of time serving and helping in my church Briarwood Presbyterian. I love hanging out with church friends. We have a small group that meets together for bible study once a week, and I help lead an 8th-grade girls’ Bible study on Sunday nights.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Sometimes it’s very easy — especially in the gift box world where there’s so much out there — to try to copy someone else or be what somebody else is. A friend of mine told me to try to be different, and I thought that was good advice. I stand out by being different and doing things well and with all my heart as unto the Lord.
Name three things you can’t live without.
My planner, sparkling water, and my flat iron.
Thank you, Madison! All photography by Meghan Gray.
Meet more inspiring Birmingham women in our FACES archives.