Jacquelyn Rodgers is the Founder of Greentop Gifts. Greentop Gifts started as an idea for her son and turned into a company bringing diverse products that reflect families for their own celebrations and holiday moments. Greentop Gifts has been featured in NBC News, Essence, People, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Jacquelyn is a recipient of the 2020 Visa • IFW Black Women Owned Business Grant, 2020 Wild Card Winner in the Stella Labs Women’s Fast Pitch Southeast Regional Competition and a participant in the 2020 Ad Astra Get to Even Founder Bootcamp. She has over 14 years of Consumer Packaged Goods experience at Nestle & Mars Wrigley. From this experience she has keen knowledge on how to take an idea from concept to actual product which has proved invaluable in the early stages of Greentop Gifts.
Patrice: What stuck for me while reading about your business is the name ‘Green Top Gifts’ which is unique. Could you tell us a little bit more about your motivation for creating Green Top Gifts?
Jacquelyn: Yes, I love telling the story of Greentop Gifts. It is an ode to my family. My grandfather had a restaurant bar in the 40’s/50’s which was called Greentop. It was a place of celebration for people in the black community because it was a place where people can go and enjoy the fellowship. This is how my grandfather got his start in entrepreneurship. My dad shined shoes there as a child. When we were deciding on names, we discussed it and that’s how I came up with the name.
Patrice: This is an amazing back story on how you came up with your business name! I like the fact that your grandfather owned a restaurant back in the day and that your dad shined shoes there as a child! Great memories to have! For those who don’t know, that Greentop gifts is an African-American décor and gift service and you mentioned that it features an African American character called Clarence Clause. Could you elaborate a little bit more on the character?
Jacquelyn: We launched the company with the idea of looking for black characters for the season that has a black Santa clause on it. I came to realize that it didn’t exist so I joked with my husband that I wanted to make wrapping paper and he just laughed. That made me start looking at manufacturers and illustrators and we created Clarence Clause that we wanted to appeal to children and adults.
Patrice: Now who would have thought of that idea? That is truly unique on how you moved on that idea of creating wrapping paper for black children! So, are the wrapping paper and other items that you guys sell specially sold online or are they in stores as well?
Jacquelyn: We currently sell online and partnered with some independent retailers in Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh. We are also looking to expand with some other retailers at the top of 2022!
Patrice: Sounds like a plan! Congrats on that! Like I stated before, your business is very unique and I love the whole representation and the whole meaning behind it. As far as diversity goes, how important is that to you and how do you empower not only kids, but adults on the importance of it?
Jacquelyn: Diversity is extremely important to me and to my husband especially since we are raising small children. We are factious about the images that we show them so that they see representation in television shows, the books they read, and even the celebration we do in our home. We try to make sure they understand and share with them the celebrations that are important to our family as well as people of other races and other nationalities.
Patrice: Well said! Diversity is extremely important in America! Besides Christmas wrapping paper, do you all have other wrapping paper for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or graduations?
Jacquelyn: Yes, absolutely!
Patrice: Great to hear! Your business is located in Atlanta and it has been reported that Greentop Gifts had the record-breaking in sales this past year. Congrats on that big accomplishment!
Jacquelyn: Thank you! We were excited to work with big supporters of our brand. 2020 was a challenging year for us and a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs. We really tried to fight through that by creating product and content that our consumers were excited about; we just thrived through the pandemic! We are grateful for the support from our customers.
Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can the readers expect next from Greentop Gifts?
Jacquelyn: We are launching our Happy Birthday collection, we are expanding that with other products, such as gift bags. We are also getting ready for the holidays! Also, we are trying to get our products with some retailers to expand the marketplace.
Listen to more of this interview by visiting http://www.anchor.fm/theriverzreport
Connect with Greentop Gifts:
Instagram (business page) @greentopgifts