From metal shavings from grandpa's work bench, the last sawdust a dad carved before passing away suddenly, or a handwritten grocery list from a grandmother; Gemabees can preserve these and turn it into priceless artwork for families.
"Our work is different from any other memorial keepsake business around," said Missy Prince, founder of the company. "100% of our work is personalized and custom. We are 95% Alabama local customers but also have families that travel here to shop from Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi who bring their flowers. We love the intimacy of working with our families and creating special keepsakes."
For Prince, the dream of her business was decades in the making.
"I have been making jewelry for almost 30 years," she said. "I prayed relentlessly for about 20+ years for God to put my hands on what I was supposed to be doing with my craft. About 4 years ago, I was connected with Shepherd's Cove Hospice and making fingerprint pieces for some of the families, which led to flowers, which led to everything else."
They also team up with other local hand-crafters and small businesses
"I reached out to 4 other local businesses to network with and grow opportunities for them and add to our offerings," she continued. "We work with Jason Baugh Designs from Arab for our custom woodworking needs, April Blanks Woodburning in Crossville does the pyrography on our clocks and any other custom wood burning we might need. Flashpoint Laser Engraving is assisting us with our fingerprint and handwriting engraving and In Memory of a Bear is a memory pillow and Bear maker out of Glencoe that we partner with to share with our families in search of those items. We love the fact that we are all in Alabama and we have built some great relationships working with all of these local businesses."
When asked about the unique business name, Prince said there is also a story behind it.
"I actually get asked this question so often that I have a sign that hangs in my showroom explaining where it came from," she said. "So when I started making jewelry right out of high school, my maiden name was Missy Adams. I loved anagrams and that’s how I studied for my school courses. I started out making glass bead (and gemstone) bracelets. Take GBB and my name MA and the Ge Bees M A so I made that Gemabees and thought, wow! The bumble bee came to be my little symbol for the business and that’s where the name came from. Not that exciting but it’s an original idea that had brought me along for many years now. I love the name and people close to me know - I am Gemabees. My purpose behind my business has always been, I want my Gemabees jewelry and gifts to mean something. People wear the jewelry that has meaning to it."
Prince says her growing clientele are very important to her and those who work with her.
"People appreciate the love and dedication that is put into a custom designed piece of work and that’s what we do," she continued. "We sit with each family and custom design their order. Each loss for each family we worn with is important to us and we feel rearranging our work schedule out of order would alter the integrity of our work relationship.
Gemabees most popular items, all that can be made with or without flowers are ornaments, necklaces, bookmarks, clocks, knives, and wedding bouquet preservation.
The business is Marshall County grown with an appointment showroom located in Albertville.