Whether its college graduation, a wedding, a baby shower, a birthday or the holidays, it seems like we are always shopping for a gift for someone in celebration of some occasion. And nestled in the heart of bustling downtown Homewood on 18th Street South is B. Bayer & Co. Monogramming & Gifts — a chic boutique that carries something for every occasion.
“I just try to keep every phase of life in mind when I’m shopping,” says shop owner Betsy Bayer of her collection. “Every age, every occasion — I want to make sure I always have something for everybody in the store.” Betsy curates a collection to meet her discerning clients’ tastes, from elegant to playful and traditional to modern. She has certain tried-and-true vendors that she always shops from, but she’s always got an eye out for new products when she goes to market.
Right behind the counter is an eye-catching display of linen hand towels, in gorgeous shades of white and pastels, each embellished with a unique monogram. These beautiful hand towels are some of the store’s best sellers. “Hand towels are an easy gift that anyone can use,” says Betsy. “They could make a great holiday gift or a wedding gift.” The Scents & Feel towel, a crowd-favorite among B. Bayer customers, is a high-quality textile that comes in a variety of stylish colors and features tassels. It’s the perfect canvas for a personalized monogram.
“Monogramming has always been popular in the South,” says Betsy. “Everyone likes having something that is personalized to them specifically. Your monogram is unique to you, and a lot of monogrammed items become treasured family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.”
And B. Bayer & Co. has a plethora of items to personalize — clothing, cosmetic bags, bedding, weekender bags, blankets, silver cups, leather coasters, decorative pillows, lunch boxes, frames, flasks, cocktail napkins, sorority items and more. Books are filled with hundreds of font and calligraphy styles, as well as more than 100 color options. Needless to say, the opportunity to capture your loved one’s personality in a monogrammed item awaits at this one-of-a-kind shop.
But B. Bayer and Co. didn’t always have monogramming. “In 1980, my mom and aunt started a hair-bow business in the back bedroom of our house,” says Betsy. “They sort of started selling to friends and local shops, but soon they were marketing to businesses all over the country. It really took off like wildfire.”
Bayer’s mother passed away from breast cancer in 1984, and her aunt kept the business, then called “Oodles of Ribbon,” going. Says Betsy, “She decided she wanted to get more into retail and monogramming, so she expanded her inventory to include gift items. I loved the store, I would hang out in there all the time while I was in school.”
Bayer’s aunt died suddenly in 2011, leaving Bayer with a decision to make. “I just could not stand to see the store go out of business. So I decided I would take over the store and keep it running.” She changed the name to B. Bayer and Co., and the store has been in its current 18th Street location in Homewood for almost two years.
Betsy can’t help but smile when she talks about the clientele that her shop has attracted. “We have a wide range of customers. It could be anyone — we have high school students looking for graduation gifts, new mothers, new grandmothers. We have men that come in for our unisex luggage. There’s something for everybody in here,” she says.
To Betsy, B. Bayer & Co. is like home. “I think everything in here is beautiful,” she says of her shop. “Everybody has a story or a reason that they’re in here shopping for a gift, and it’s usually to give something to someone else. And I like that.”
B. Bayer & Co. Monogramming & Gifts is located at 2815 18th St S, Homewood, AL 35209. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the shop is closed on Sunday. To learn more, call (205) 870-4126 or visit bbayerandco.com.
Thank you to Eric & Jamie Gay of Eric & Jamie Photography for the gorgeous photos of Betsy and her shop.
This article is sponsored by B. Bayer & Co. Mongramming & Gifts.