Jennifer Paretta of Wantagh, a new stay-at-home mom, found inspiration for her own business while having lunch with a girlfriend and watching a plastic bag float through the air. "Imagine how many hands that bag touched," Paretta said. "Imagine where it started in China...how it was made, and what was in it. There has to be a story there."
As a former new product development manager at a biomedical research firm, Paretta immediately wrote her preliminary patent for her online business idea, Simply Re-Gift It.
Paretta's unique concept enables kids to learn about the eco-friendly practice of reusing a gift bag, and about putting personal thought into giving a gift. She attended gift shows and stationery trade shows to market her eco-friendly Friendship Gift Bag®, which can be personalized by each child, regifted, and tracked online, so kids can view the bag's journey. The gift bags are sold in stationery stores in 20 states, Canada, and Bermuda, and are available for fundraising groups and PTA events all over New York. Paretta is grateful to the Girl Scouts of Long Island for placing many orders.
Can you walk us through the process of how Simply Re-Gift It works?
The gift bag has a complete life cycle. A person puts his/her own pictures on it, registers it online, and starts the story. The next person (who receives a gift in the gift bag) does the same. The final person creates his/her own pictures, downloads a label, and mails back the design portion of the bag. The company then emails all participants to view the final design online and the bag's journey.
How did you get started with inventory and designs for the bag?
I sourced out a wholesaler and got educated about paper products. We sourced an overseas manufacturer and I bought my inventory. Then I had to find a designer to create the bags.
What's your best advice for moms who want to start their own business?
If I described everything I've done - the trademarks, patents, selection, website - to a mom with a husband and kids, they'd say, "There's no way I can do that." But do what you love. Set realistic goals. And know that you don't know everything. I have people that do my website, designers, people who taught me about paper products. Go to the experts!
What's next for the company?
The bag is a spectacular marketing tool. Corporations can put their logo and message on it and teach eco-friendly behaviors. I have ideas for different areas - bags for showers and weddings, and family trees.
For more information, visit www.SimplyReGiftIt.com or call 1-888-RE-GIFT-3.