Updated: Oct 1
Ty Sintrell, CEO and Founder of BrideNavy, saw a need that had not been met for the LGBTQ community. BrideNavy is a luxury gift and appeal company that provides customizable home products, apparel, gifts and events that surround love for same sex couples. Previously operating under TrueLoveNavy Co., the luxury brand BrideNavy and GroomNavy celebrates queer love with featured LGBTQ+ brides and grooms. Same-sex, non-binary, and other identities under the rainbow have a go-to for luxury customizable and bridal items.
Atlanta is one of the hottest cities for queer women of color creatives and entertainers. Weddings and festive celebrations are nothing new to the Atlanta scene. How did you develop BrideNavy and your brand? In 2018, I was planning my wedding and attending a lot of Wedding Expos. I would always be asked “where’s the groom” and I look to my fiancé (at the time), to whom is a woman. Even down to the follow-up emails, the invitation and party favors. Who’s getting married should be a generalized question. When my engagement ended, I still had that drive to see wedding items that reflects my community. There was a need for BrideNavy because my friends were still getting married. My company kept me in a positive mindset. Even though I may not be getting married or no matter what is going on with me, I am able still able to give back.
Over the years, you can tell my direction has changed. Every picture on my page tells a story. I look at the whole picture of the couple’s relationship. So, their love story is essential. I look at the whole picture of the couple’s relationship.
What wedding merchandise and appeal does BrideNavy provide?
My company is a gift and appeal company. From wedding invitations, bridesmaid accessories, favor candles, drinkware, silk robes to pajama sets— there is something for you. Many of our items are customizable.
The founder of a business is often the face or the creative director of their brand. You work professionally as a graphic designer; how has your profession helped and your business?
I’ve grown as a graphic designer. Respect my melanin is a company I gifted to my son, and sister, that I initially started with a friend. People loved the brand so much that I just could not get rid of it. So, as I focus my attention to BrideNavy and GroomNavy, my son will be building his own company. From my initial logo to changing to the kind of love stories shared— things are always changes with me, as a designer. If I had to pay graphic designer, the way my mind thinks and constantly changes— I would be broke by now. I’m building a luxury lifestyle for our community, without all the rainbows, so I constantly am changing.
How does your luxury brand reflect queer love? I’m a romantic, at heart. If I could go around spreading and sharing love all day, I would; that is what fuels me. Even when I don’t have a dime or the energy left, I give my all. With my forthcoming launch, we'll provide gender neutral wedding items and appeal merchandise. Even heterosexual couples, and friends, seek my wedding insight. So, providing gender neutral merchandise is important to reach, and support, a larger audience.
Photos of same-sex couples and ceremonies circulate the internet and social media, inspiring so many under the rainbow to share their love story. What are some wedding hacks that any rainbow couple can use? During COVID-19, there are some limitations with planning for your big day. Keep it simple— you do not want to [continuously] push back your wedding date. Prioritize how intimate you want your ceremony. You can still have that luxurious feel to your big day. You may not be able to have every one you want there; however, your special day can still be unique. Also, get wedding insurance! If your photographer or wedding planner gets sick, or the business close down you and your partner need to provide your investments. Your big day is an investment.
The night life, drag shows and anything over the topic is often paired with ceremonies and celebrations, thrown by LGBTQ+ people. You company post stories about couples and their “journey of love.” How important is the “love story” of a couple when planning their wedding? I’m a Beauty and the Beast, fairy tale-loving, Love Jones romantic— I just adore how love brings people together and begins their union. So, when couples share how they met, how they grew together— it tells you how the universe works and is so beautiful. That is everything for me. From how it was unexpected for the two together or plan to fall in love, but it happens in such a way that they want to spend the rest of their life together. I can’t have the picture without story. So, it’s not just a pretty picture but I communicate with my brides to authentically share their story.
Chosen family often make up a large portion of the wedding party's audience for some LGBTQ+ couples. What advice do you have for couples that do not have the support of their family and friends while planning a wedding? I am someone who initially did not have a great deal of support with my family when I came out and their understanding of my sexuality— and that was tough. Of course you want all of your family to be there; yet, I always had that one family member that was my go-to for me. No matter what, she loves me unconditionally and I’m able to share my struggles. If you have that love or person in your family, or even if they are a friend, cling to them. My friends make up most of my family circle and we’re a tribe.
What does the perfect checkoff list consider for couple planning their wedding? Venue is #1! No venue, no wedding. Decide on what each of you are wearing; prioritize your tribe and your happiness. Do not forget about invitation, this also includes asking a member of your queer tribe to a bridesmaid or Best Man. Decide on who is going to officiate or conduct the ceremony and consider your food, and “the cake.” For myself, I prefer cupcakes but it’s up to you and your loved one.
Niecy Nash recently tied the knot, and made headlines everywhere. What advice do you have couples that do not want a traditional wedding or ceremony, similar to Niecy Nash’s wedding? When it comes to planning your wedding and the details of how you want your ceremony to look like and feel, that truly is determined by the couple. Some of us want a super big wedding and others don’t— even down to being proposed to or not. I’m not a traditionally wedding company so I provide a colorful, whimsical insight that most seeking a traditional wedding would not consider. Especially now, COVID has changed so many things that many are looking into non-traditional features to add to their big day.
Do you continue communication with your clients after their wedding or ceremonies? I am very hands-on with my Brides and couples. I have to touch every level of love. Yes, my main focus is women of color; however, I want other faces and sizes, races and cultures to be represented with my brand. My company not only shares their love story; however, we celebrate their love too. It’s important we see their story, even after the wedding.
Lastly, the face and beauty of your brand is you— a queer woman of color. Will to share your wedding experience the world or will you keep it private?
Many are familiar with the brand and it’s association to TrueLoveNavy Co. Sintrell spoke on the disbandment of that platform to focus their attention on and to produce content on her BrideNavy and other social media. “I know most people are wondering where it went. I that made a big decision to end TrueLoveNavy Co. because it is easier to brand myself instead of that company. This is me, this how I love and express myself. I did not need multiple pages to do so.
What is next for BrideNavy and GroomNavy?
We will be launching new merchandise and appeal items like our pajama sets. The brand is to launch custom products for gender neutral parties. Even our new jewelry line! These items are perfect for anyone that loves to travel, or lounge around the house looking cute or something personalized and posh. Our forthcoming launch has something for everyone. @tysintrell (graphic design) @bridenavy (wedding business) @groomnavy (wedding business) www.truelovenavyco.com