A colorful business
Two local family businesses create custom crayons in fun shapes and colors
by Lauren Dowdle, content director
Kids and crayons are the perfect match. But why buy the regular ones when there are crayons in different shapes, colors, and designs made just for them? That’s exactly what two local, family owned businesses offer with their customized crayons.
Lauren “Lolly” Tucker started creating crayons in the shape of her two children’s names back in April while they were quarantined. “The kids loved them so much that I quickly decided to begin making them for gifts and taking orders from parents in Birmingham and beyond,” Tucker says.
It didn’t take long until stores were interested in her products, and she began offering them in retailers as Lolly Crayons. Tucker can create just about any crayon design a customer can imagine. That includes letters, numbers, shapes, animals, vehicles, and party-themed designs like Toy Story. Children also like the build-your-own-shape box where they can choose their shapes inside a gift box. “My own children, ages 2 and 4, have colored with Lolly Crayons almost every day since April, and they still love using them,” Tucker says.
Beyond creating crayons, Tucker also enjoys giving back. In August, she was able to give 150 children back-to-school puzzle piece crayons, thanks to an anonymous donor. Five teachers were also chosen for Lolly Crayons’ “Tag a Teacher: We All Fit Together” giveaway. In October, she will be giving back a portion of all sales to benefit The Brayden Moore Foundation at Children’s Hospital of Alabama.
Lolly Crayons can be found locally in Homewood Toy & Hobby, Learning Express, Monograms Plus, Smith’s Variety, and Wrapsody — and in more than 20 stores across the country. Online ordering is available at lollycrayons.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homewood neighbors Julie and Gabe Harris and Amanda and Clay Rogers opened Oxford Colors in June. They thought it would be a fun idea and something different for party favors and gifts. “As parents, we’re always looking for gifts that are useful but fun,” Julie says.
Oxford Colors are available in the shapes of letters, numbers, and all kinds of objects from butterflies and footballs to ice cream cones. They also offer the option to add glitter to the crayons, which is especially popular with their unicorns. In addition to the unicorn shape, the train set is also popular. But, the best sellers are letters to form names. Customers can tell them the exact colors they want or leave it up to them.
“We put a lot of thought into the colors to be included in each piece,” Julie says. “Once the colors are selected and melted and the crayons have cooled, it’s so exciting
to pop them out of the mold to see the finished product. Our 7-year-old daughter even gets in on the crayon-making.”
While all of the owners of Oxford Colors enjoy creating the products, their favorite part is partnering with local elementary school PTOs. “Because of the pandemic, the yearly fundraiser at our daughter’s school was cancelled, leaving a huge deficit in the PTO budget,” Julie says. “We wanted to help, so we partnered with several area elementary schools to conduct a fundraiser throughout the school year. Customers just mention the name of a participating school in their order, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to that school’s PTO.”
Unlike regular crayons, these have different colors in them, so there’s always something new as the child uses them. “Children love to color, create, and use their imaginations,” Julie says. “Crayons check all of those boxes,” Julie says.
Customers can request custom colors and designs, and orders and be shipped or picked up locally. Oxford Colors can also be custom ordered at B. Bayer & Co. Monogramming and Gifts in Homewood and Crestline Pharmacy in Mountain Brook. Their crayons can also be purchased on their website, oxfordcolors.com, or by contacting them on Instagram, Facebook, or email, email@example.com.