It has only been about three months since locaLI bred first launched, and since then the startup – that’s owned by two stay-at-home moms – has hit the ground running.
In October, Halie Geller of Huntington and Theresa Pinelli of Centerport decided that they did not want to return to their corporate jobs after having two children each. Instead, they wanted to make it easier for people to try out locally made products through the startup’s signature gift boxes.
“We wanted to do something that was more focused on the community and that means something to us,” Geller said.
After moving from Brooklyn to Long Island five years ago, the duo (often times with their kids in the backseat) were amazed at what was offered at local farmers markets and craft fairs.
“I don’t think people realize how many great, new products are being created here,” Geller said. “It’s hard because geographically Long Island is so spread apart… I think that a lot of people really want to shop local and support local, but it’s not easy when big-box stores are so convenient.”
LocaLI bred’s curated gift boxes and online store are filled with edible treats and artisan-crafted gifts from small businesses in Nassau County to Montauk. Each box supports at least 10 local businesses, including products from Sail Away Coffee, Kerber’s Farm, What the Soap, and North Fork Chocolate Company, to name a few.
But it’s not just the two moms working hard; their children often like to get involved. Geller’s four-year-old daughter, Annabelle, enjoys creating her own boxes and draws her own pictures to showcase her art. Along with the items inside, the boxes feature a local artist who creates special artwork for the box. Right now, their boxes offer a tote bag with an image of the island created by Jackie Maloney of Hampton Bays.
The startup has a subscription box program that features four different boxes throughout the year, selling for $225. Other options include a half-year box, which features two boxes, and a single gift box that is perfect for any occasion. Some feature homemade soaps, and others have chocolates, candles, coasters, jams or spices. Single gift boxes range from $50 to $110.
LocaLI bred also offers bulk packages for corporate gifting of orders over 10. “We want to make it easier to shop local and we also want to change the mindset of corporate gifting in general,” Geller said. “It’s so easy for corporate businesses to go to a big company [for gifts], but we want to change that mindset…. If they want to be integrated into the community, we’re making it easy for them to support local shops.”
Operating out of Pinelli’s garage, the duo is thinking long-term. “We’re going to offer a Father’s Day box, a Hamptons’ box, a Mother’s Day box, a box for any significant holiday,” Pinelli said.
But their goal was to focus on the towns that usually don’t get a shout out. “We wanted to show people that Long Island isn’t just the Hampton’s – we chose to be representative of all the island, so it’s really important to show places like Plainview that people may not know about,” Geller said.
The boxes ship across the U.S. and, surprisingly enough, the duo said that tons of orders actually go out of state.“What we’re really excited about is that these boxes are also being sent outside of Long Island to places like D.C., Florida, North Carolina and it’s exciting because I think it’s hitting on what we were originally going for – that Long Island needs to be represented and showcased for how good it really is,” Pinelli said.
Families are sending the boxes and other marketplace trinkets to their kids away at school, Geller added. “We see a lot of gift messages for people who left the island and the box is a gift so they can have a taste of home,” she said.
Recently they partnered with New York Marketplace and Brewery District in Westbury, which now carry their boxes. The next locaLI bred spring season box is expected to ship the second week of April (order cut off is April 1, 2019).