Community//

“A Leader Needs To Be Intentional and Present” with Audrey Craig of GB Design House

Be Intentional and Present. This has been my top goal for 2019, as I discovered last year that I am spread way too thin. I became acutely aware that I can possibly have it all, BUT (and this is a big “but”) just not at the same time. So my efforts are when working, give […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Be Intentional and Present. This has been my top goal for 2019, as I discovered last year that I am spread way too thin. I became acutely aware that I can possibly have it all, BUT (and this is a big “but”) just not at the same time. So my efforts are when working, give 100% to my job. With family time, I try to give 100% to them and eliminate the distractions of email and business. It is important to be intentional in each of my roles as an entrepreneur, mother, boss, wife, and friend. Whatever I am doing at that moment, I aim to be fully in it. Just think how many people would sleep more peaceful had the day been totally intentional.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Audrey Craig. Audrey is President and CEO of GB Design House and its subsidiary Gracious Bridal, specializing in custom branding fabulous events with personalized products and gifts. Blending her entrepreneurial spirit and design flair, Audrey brings style and savvy to a lifestyle brand that defines effortless and personalized entertaining. Founded by Audrey’s mother, Brenda Cascio in 2006, GB Design House began as Gracious Bridal, a home-based business supplying personalized wedding gifts, accessories and favors. In 2010 Audrey was named CEO, bringing her keen business skills and inherited sense of style. Under their leadership, GB Design House grew from an at-home business to a product and branding design house, earning more than $1.5 million dollars in annual sales online and in the Austin studio. Audrey brings her Southern charm and design expertise to assist clients in gracious entertaining. Whether working with celebrity event planners, Italian fashion houses, corporate clients, or a single bride in the studio, she gives each her creative style and undivided attention with a personalized approach to their needs. GB Design House has contributed unique design elements to enhance special events for corporate clients such as Neiman Marcus, Kendra Scott, Miu-Miu, Prada, lululemon, the NFL, Formula 1, Crown Royal, the San Antonio Spurs, Titos, etc. In the celebrity space, they have worked with: newlyweds Joe Jonas (musician) and Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones); Porsha Williams (Real Housewives of Atlanta); LeeAnne Locken (Real Housewives of Dallas); newlyweds Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon (Bachelor in Paradise); Mercedes Javid (Shahs of Sunset); country artist Chuck Wicks; fashionista Nicky Hilton Rothschild; Sabrina Bryan (The Cheetah Girls); Olympic Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski, among others. The University of Texas at Austin graduate holds a degree in Corporate Communications. Audrey’s business acumen and flair for spotting trends were apparent when she opened her first design business at the age of 13, creating and selling one-of-a-kind bookmarks to local gift boutiques, foreshadowing her future as an entrepreneur. Believing in ‘giving back,’ she supports such non-profits as Mobile Loaves and Fishes and Health Talents, International. Audrey resides in Austin, TX with her husband Jerad and their two young daughters.


Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It was a circuitous path! Armed with a Corporate Communications degree from the University of Texas at Austin, I worked for various companies, but quickly realized that wasn’t the environment for me. From my first entrepreneurial adventure in middle school, I dreamed of having my own creative business. Serendipitously, my mother, Brenda Cascio, had recently begun an online business focusing on wedding favors. I jumped on immediately! It was a huge risk to quit my job with a steady paycheck and dive into this uncharted territory. Soon after we began, the 2008 recession hit, which was a scary time to be a start-up. The long-term benefits of what I learned during this difficult period were invaluable. It taught us how to be efficient, how to budget and think outside of the box. It was imperative that we expand our business into other areas of entertaining and branding. Through the thirteen years of business we have expanded from wedding favors to a premiere custom design studio with consumers, event planners, corporate clients and celebrities (A-list actors, actresses, musicians, sports figures and reality stars).

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

GB Design House is a woman-owned business with a team of dedicated employees. Our design studio in Austin Texas has a large space where our in-office team works together. Collaborating and brainstorming in a creative environment gives a synergy to the process that cannot be had with each person working independently. We thrive in that environment.

To supercharge our creativity, we coordinate inspirational staff retreats filled with spa experiences, photo shoots at the lake, and a variety of brainstorming activities.

We have employees within the United States and Europe. Having designers worldwide gives us a more global perspective, keeping us ahead of trends which is great for our international weddings and events clientele.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My parents have led by example in both life and business, especially in how to build a loyal team, and how to maintain a vital and creative environment in the workspace.

Fellow Austinite, Kendra Scott has also been a great inspiration, helming her eponymous business and parlaying herself into a powerhouse. GB Design House has provided custom party goods for many of her store openings and events across the US. It is encouraging to see how she has grown from a home-based business to an iconic brand. Her jewelry line is a household name and she is very passionate about her charitable works. I am inspired by her accomplishments and success in business.

Working with A-List event planners such as Troy Williams, Joy Proctor and Lauren Beamon has catapulted us into some high-profile events both here and abroad. It’s been a great opportunity to learn from and collaborate with some of the masters in our space. Dealing with celebrity clients, discretion is key in these projects and non-disclosure agreements are de rigueur. Being super-creative without budget constraints is always exciting, and we are able to assist the client in achieving their vision of glamour and elegance while stamping it with their personal style.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

1.“Move forward with great vigor” John F. Kennedy

My father frequently ends our conversations with this quote. It is a reminder to try a little harder, give it another shot, and keep my head down to push through to the next level.

2. “Take care of your employees and they will take care of the customer.” JW Marriott

From the early days, I’ve learned that running a company takes a team, and delegating to creative and smart people allows our business to be successful. We empower team members by letting them further develop skill-sets in their specific interest. By offering a healthy work environment our employees translate their positivity to our customers.

3. “Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.” Scott Cook, founder of Intuit.

In a competitive industry, there are two points that set us apart and have been the cornerstone of our growth. First, provide the best product and client experience possible. Second, create new, exceptional designs and products to move our company forward.

How are you going to shake things up next?

We have a lot of great things coming down the pipe for the end of this year! We are partnering with a company with more than 1,000 locations nationwide offering customized packaging as an add-on to their customer’s experience. As professionals in the entertainment and lifestyle space, we have been offered some exciting opportunities in both print and media.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Local author, Rachel Hollis, is my favorite current read. I devoured “Girl, Wash Your Face” in one day! It includes amazing advice and tips on life.

While driving, I listen to “How I Built This” podcast, which interviews some of the world’s top entrepreneurs and innovators about their inspiring journeys in business. It is a comforting reminder to hear that most people did not achieve success without first experiencing failure and hardship. There will always be tough times, but if you focus and work hard towards your goal, you will succeed.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Be Intentional and Present. This has been my top goal for 2019, as I discovered last year that I am spread way too thin. I became acutely aware that I can possibly have it all, BUT (and this is a big “but”) just not at the same time. So my efforts are when working, give 100% to my job. With family time, I try to give 100% to them and eliminate the distractions of email and business. It is important to be intentional in each of my roles as an entrepreneur, mother, boss, wife, and friend. Whatever I am doing at that moment, I aim to be fully in it. Just think how many people would sleep more peaceful had the day been totally intentional.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Good manners reflect something from inside — an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” ― Emily Post

Emily Post was a legendary arbiter of etiquette and manners. At GB Design House, we believe in treating our clients equally and with the utmost respect. We provide special items for events where etiquette is a great consideration. It is important that we gently educate the client of the proper etiquette for a situation of which they may not be aware.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Be disciplined and have an “off-switch”, With Audrey Craig and Brenda Cascio of GB Design House

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

Tips From The Top: One On One With Rosalie Guillem

by Adam Mendler
The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

This CEO Has Powerful Advice to Help You Reframe Negative Thinking

by Lindsey Benoit O'Connell

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.