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Made in Tribeca: Ivy & Bugz

Made in Tribeca: Ivy & Bugz

Ivy and Bugz curates perfectly detailed party favors and gift boxes for children.

It’s not such a leap for Laura Fulmer to be creating the perfect birthday party favors — for years she worked in fashion as a merchandise coordinator, most recently as director of sales for national and international markets at Joie and then Nieves Lavi. But now her efforts are much more home-grown and local with Ivy & Bugz, which she started in her living room during the pandemic.

Once all her kids’ friends had scattered and birthday parties and playdates were relegated to Zoom, she went looking for what she calls a “hello box” — a care package for friends sent for no reason. When she found nothing online, she started to think this could be a niche. She had always gone all-out on her kids birthday parties (her friends often told her to start a business) and when her own kids’ 2020 parties rolled around, she sent out a round of favors in advance so kids to join in on-screen.

“Zoom birthdays were brutal,” Laura said, “but the gift boxes made it a little more fun.”

She launched in February and started word of mouth with friends. Each month it grew and grew till she had to rent an office to carry the stock. She’s also added to her repertoire, offering a build-your-own travel bag, for when kids are on their way to a vacation or plane (or grandma’s house); table décor for themed parties; Hanukkah boxes with eight wrapped gifts.

She gets her merch at trade shows and showrooms, as well as online marketplaces that have expanded since the pandemic. She is still packing everything herself, though she is now covering her own buys. The packages range from $15 to $150 and she tries to avoid a lot of junk that comes in the standard favor bags — the toys are things the kids can reuse and really play with.

It helps that she has her own built-in focus group with her 7- and 9-year-old at home, and she’s kept them in the loop on the business.

“The kids are definitely learning the buying side,” Laura said. “Looking back, the fashion market was tough since 2008 and this is more rewarding. And the biggest reward is to see my kids happy to see me build the business.”