Proving The Test Of Time… And The Sharks Wrong!
Armed with only some loudly colored, crazy-looking prototypes, ex-entertainment industry couple Jennie Nigrosh & Rick Siegel sheepishly used the 2008 Fabricare Show to introduce themselves and The Green Garmento® to the dry cleaning and laundry communities.
“We really weren’t sure how well received our reusable dry cleaning bags would be,” recalls Nigrosh, “but we got some great feedback – and some orders!”
As they return to Long Beach and the 2018 Fabricare Convention to celebrate their company’s ten-year anniversary, The Green Garmento® is a brand with global recognition, now manufacturing a family of products and solutions for dry cleaners and launderers. The Green Garmento bags are offered by dry cleaners, launderers, retail, eCommerce, hotels and promotional product distributors internationally and can be found in 26 countries.
Nigrosh admits, “The road hasn’t been an easy one. Especially at the start, most of my time was working with dry cleaners to help implement the bags and explain all the benefits – economical, environmental and ease of use for the customer – to build a customer base.”
Three years in, Nigrosh was invited to appear on ABC’s hit TV series, SHARK TANK. “It was a blessing and a curse. We got our product in front of 6 million viewers, a PR coup, but it also made the product a target for copycats and competition.
“It was a nightmare, says Nigrosh. If businesses love my ideas so much, why not just use us and enjoy the warranties we offer versus trying to make it themselves. Yes, anyone can go to offshore factories, but there is a huge risk that they will not get a quality product for less money. Much of the work we have done is to verify the quality and ethical standards of our factory partners.
And if you’re a mega-distributor, why knock us off when you can share business with us and we all win?”
It’s not just the patented Garmento bags but other products she’s been working on for years that others have copied. When asked how she deals with it, Nigrosh recalls, “I love the guy on TV with the garden hose – sorry I don’t remember his name, but his line is, ‘If you believe the original should be rewarded and not copied then please buy our products.’ That has stuck with me. This industry thrives on loyalty, service and superlative quality. We think our innovations and product durability resonate, as they should, with dry cleaning and laundry professionals. Why reward imitation just to save a few dollars; in the end, if there’s only one place to buy something, the price will go up. The only long-term affect is stifling creativity so nobody, not the dry cleaner or the consumer, wins that way.”
So with all the roadblocks, how has The Green Garmento survived. “Easy,” says Nigrosh. Our determination and our continued eagerness to come up with new sustainable ideas. And most important, the loyalty, for which we are grateful, of the many dry cleaners and launderers who understand our products and continue to support our devotion to the environment and celebrate us.”
That determination is why Nigrosh and her team are confident the next ten years will be fantastic, starting with their introducing two new exciting products, at, where else, Fabricare 2018. They look forward to seeing you there.