Like plenty of business owners, Jacquelyn and Shaun Rodgers have spent their careers in the corporate world. Jacquelyn works as an account manager for a large consumer packaged goods company. Shaun, who holds an MBA from Duke and once worked on Wall Street, now is in technology sales.
But the couple, who are Triangle natives living in Raleigh, have harbored dreams of creating something of their own.
“Even while building our careers, we’ve had an eye towards being entrepreneurs,” Rodgers tells me.
And, as it turned out, the inspiration for their successful business came about thanks to Christmas. They launched Greentop Gifts in 2016 after Jacquelyn grew frustrated that she could only find Christmas wrapping paper and holiday decor with white Santas, not brown ones who looked like her own family.
Since their launch, the business has gotten some major press, including coverage in The Oprah Magazine, from The D.L. Hughley Show, NBC News and elsewhere. Greentop Gifts is named after Jacquelyn’s grandfather’s restaurant, Greentop, which he ran in rural North Carolina in the 1940s and 1950s.
As of this week, the Rodgers are parents of two children. The family includes their four-year-old son, who serves as the company’s chief gift unwrapping expert, along with a little girl, who was born on Nov. 28. (Congratulations, Rodgers family!)
And check out this adorable baby girl!
Despite their very busy week, Jacquelyn took the time to answer a few questions about Greentop Gifts, which is featured in this year’s Go Ask Mom Made By Mom Gift Guide. Here’s a Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: What’s the backstory behind Greentop Gifts? How did it get its start?
Jacquelyn Rodgers: It all started with my frustration with not being able to find a brown Santa. I grew tired of coloring Santa brown on paper and ornaments. When I did my holiday shopping, I couldn’t find wrapping paper or holiday decor that looked like my family. So that year we decided that we would create what we wanted to see. We wanted our community, including our friends and families, to have their very own Santa on wrapping paper, gift labels and more every holiday season. And with that, Clarence Claus was born.
GAM: What all do you offer?
JR: Of course, we are known for our Clarence Claus wrapping paper. We also offer apparel such as sweatshirts, hoodies, T-shirts, dad hats as well as baby onesies that feature Clarence Claus. We have socks and buttons that make cool stocking stuffers in addition to coffee mugs, which are great for work gift exchanges.
GAM: You’ve gotten a lot of pretty impressive press (Oprah!!). What’s that been like as you build your business? Has it surprised you?
JR: Every piece of press is humbling. I wouldn’t say it surprised me, but it has further affirmed that what we’re building with Greentop Gifts is needed. With every news story, Clarence Claus is introduced to another person or family that wants to see themselves reflected during the holidays.
GAM: What do you love about what you do?
JR: What I love most about what I do is the opportunity to bring joy to others. Clarence was just an idea I wanted for my son. The most exciting part has been hearing from others and seeing their excitement when they find our products for the first time and share with their children, grandchildren, family and friends.
GAM: Where can people find you?
JR: People can find us online on the Greentop Gifts website. They can also follow our journey on Instagram at @greentopgifts and on Facebook @GreentopGifts.
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