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New Business Shares Arizona Love Through Locally Sourced Gift Baskets

Gift basket by Crate Forty Eight
Photo by Rennai Hoefer

Carmen Estep wants to bring people together, and she’s doing that through a new gifting company. Crate Forty Eight provides hand-selected, locally sourced presents. Estep, a realtor and interior stylist who originally hails from Pinetop, wants people to slow down and share moments together. Consider the Pasta Night crate, featuring Sonoran Pasta Co., a wooden cutting board, cookbook and steel serving utensils. “Curating gifts has never been about the tangible items; it has always been about the experience it creates,” she says. Every crate is also filled with fresh flowers and a handwritten note. Customizable crates are also available; crates can be delivered Valley-wide. We caught up with Estep about her new company, buying local and bringing the perfect host gift.

What sparked the idea for Crate Forty Eight?

Crate Forty Eight stemmed from my deep desire to bridge the gap between my two passions: curating and serving others. As an Arizona State University alum with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in family and human development, I have always known that my calling is to give to others in some capacity; however, I have not been able to deny my love of creating. My new business venture allows me to design intentional, deliberately sourced gifts and curate pieces that provide an opportunity for the community. With curated gifts, we are giving the unique opportunity to help someone feel known, loved and seen. A new house, a promotion, an addition to the family and every little moment in between deserves to be celebrated with purpose. It brings me great joy to serve my clients in a way that allows them to ultimately give back to the ones they love the most. There is nothing more satisfying to me than knowing that I can serve others in a way that is meaningful and allows for creative expression at the very same time.

Woman standing in kitchen holding a bouquet of flowers
Crate Forty Eight founder Carmen Estep. Photo by Rennai Hoefer

Tell readers about the Collective Edition that’s out now.

The Collective Edition of Crate Forty Eight was inspired by the idea that we may all be individuals, but life is meant to be enjoyed together—collectively. I am a firm believer that love should be celebrated in every relationship, not just between significant others. With my curated pieces in the Collective Edition, I hope that I can cater to many different types of love and nurture all relationships. For example, Pasta Night was inspired by familial love. I imagine a family coming together in the kitchen, looking through the pasta-filled cookbook and choosing the perfect recipe. This gift gives them the unique opportunity to build community in the kitchen, make memories together and enjoy locally sourced pasta as a family. Curating gifts has never been about tangible items; it has always been about the experience, the moments it provides between loved ones and the ability to foster relationships in a meaningful way. My intention is for the Collective Edition to bring friends together over a mutual love of coffee; for all my aspiring mixologists to be able to serve drinks to their loved ones at home; and for all the significant others out there to bond over lighting a candle and enjoying sweet treats together.

You’re also a real estate agent and interior stylist. How did that experience help you develop the offerings for your crates?

It is a privilege to help my clients through one of the biggest transactions of their lives. This is a huge means for celebration. Closing gifts allow agents the ability to provide clients with thoughtful gifts to observe this milestone. My background as an interior stylist has allowed me to efficiently source items and curate pieces that work well together—functionally and aesthetically.

Woman tying bow around gift basket
Photo by Rennai Hoefer

You work with local products and purveyors. How did you go about selecting them, and why was it important to you to focus on local?

With Arizona being the 48th state, I wanted to serve our community by incorporating a local item in each of our curated pieces (hence the name, Crate Forty Eight). Our everyday items are deliberately sourced and allow us to pour back into the community that loves us so well. Growing up in Pinetop, I had the unique opportunity to truly know and love my neighbors, to eat at the small-town restaurants, and to frequent the family-owned establishments. I saw firsthand the heart and grit it took to run a small business, and it was with great pride that I was able to support them. Since leaving my small town, I found a love for the local farmer’s markets around the Valley. They were thriving with entrepreneurs who provide artisanal goods, fresh produce and handmade pieces. I fell in love with shopping locally all over again. Today, it is such a privilege to be able to give back to the Phoenix community in this way, just on a much larger scale.

What’s one thing you always bring to show gratitude to a host?

First and foremost, I suggest always bringing a smile and a very warm verbal ‘thank you.’ Once that is taken care of, I’ve got you covered for what you bring. To show gratitude, I often think it depends on the host, as the integrity behind my brand is rooted in intentional giving. With that said, who doesn’t love a sweet treat or a dessert? I would suggest bringing the host goodies from my favorite local bakery, Whysked.

What’s next for you and Crate Forty Eight?

The next goal for Crate Forty Eight is to be able to bring the 48th state’s goodies into states all around the country! I have had many clients ask about delivery options to bring a little bit of Arizona to neighboring states. Sending fresh florals, heat-sensitive goods and perishable items without compromising the standards of Crate Forty Eight is a challenge that we are ready to take on.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are constantly changing our curated pieces to reflect the seasons, so be sure to stay up to date on current and exciting product launches. Crate Forty Eight is also able to provide custom pieces for any occasion and we look forward to working side by side with our clients to create gifts that are a reflection of you and the people you love.

Lastly, I want to encourage the celebration of all of life’s moments, big and small. Whether that is in a tangible item through Crate Forty Eight, or simply the acknowledgment of any milestone—life is meant to be celebrated.

Photo by Rennai Hoefer

Check out Estep’s gift baskets at


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