Every child's birthday is cause for celebration. But when the invitations pile up, the thought of driving around collecting gifts and then wrapping them can turn any parent into a party pooper.
Rather than viewing it as a hassle, Kara DuRie, busy mom of three, saw an opportunity. The former author-event organizer, who worked with Frank McCourt and Cher among others, combined her business background with her sense of style to open her home-based gift business Wrapped & Ready!
"It's one-stop shopping convenience," said DuRie. "Everyone has big families these days and a million parties to go to but who has the time to go out and buy everything you need, especially the wrapping paper and the card."
Offering a wide assortment of prewrapped and ready-for-delivery gifts for birthday boys and girls ages three through preteen, nothing is priced at more than $25.
At an open house Tuesday, DuRie had an opportunity to display her creations, which range from gardening totes, complete with gloves and butterfly net, to sports-themed packages that include a ball, water bottle and lunchbox. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
"I think the gifts are completely unique and the wrapping is absolutely stunning," said Margaret Dempsey. "I love the way she has found very different items and put them together and I like that it spans the ages, from young child to early teen. There's something for everyone. I think it's really going to take off."
The crafty entrepreneur said what she has enjoyed most about her new venture is coming up with gift ideas and then finding fun ways to package them.
For the tiny movie buff, DuRie has paired classic films such as "Karate Kid" and "Annie" with popcorn and candy and wrapped them together inside vintage popcorn buckets.
"The gifts are fun, beautiful, creative, and reasonable," said Mary Lord, also a mother of three. "A great combination. I will never have to go to Route 10 again!"
DuRie said her inventory will likely change seasonally but some items, such as her Chatham-wear baskets and superhero offerings, will be available year-round. She is also open to suggestions if customers have a special request for something that they know the birthday boy or girl would really treasure.
Once things get underway, DuRie, the consummate present purveyor, hopes to expand into party favors and hostess gifts.
"Kara is so easy to work with," said Dempsey. "With just a few days notice, she'll whip up something that's perfect."
While pick-up is available at DuRie's North Passaic Avenue home, delivery is also an option at an additional charge.
Lori Hinman, mom to three boys, said both the gifts and the idea itself were "amazing" and she looks forward to calling DuRie as soon as her children have another party to attend.
With the help of Wrapped & Ready! all parents need now is an invitation.
For more information or to purchase a Wrapped & Ready gift!, call (973) 665-9691 or email email@example.com.