Sisters Jennifer DeGray and Lauren Kastrinos have come up with a charming business idea, one they say is starting to take off.
The duo is the creative force behind Gigi’s Charm, a web-based business that specializes in handmade, custom slide charm bracelets.
Kastrinos explains that the idea stemmed from a cousin who was selling similar items in Texas.
“We just made it our own,” said DeGray. “We just got into it and it is starting to take off.”
Customers chose the style band they like and custom charms and within hours the bracelet is made and in most cases delivered. Much of their business is generated through the company's Facebook page. Customers can pick or request a design and have it within hours.
“We design key chains, bracelets. We just started doing wedding favors and even a dog collar”, said DeGray, who is the creative force, while Kastrinos is more geared towards the business end of the endeavor. Both say the options are endless and new ideas pop into their heads daily.
The two recently filled an order for a bride who was giving the bracelets as favors for their wedding party.
DeGray and Kastrinos, both moms of five-year-old girls, say they like the flexibility of owning their own business. Their girls play nearby as the two design and fill orders.
“I love it. We can do what we want,” said Kastrinos, who on top of Gigi’s Charm, works as a bartender, babysits and is a full-time student studying to be an accountant.
“We have fun doing it,” said DeGray, who works at a restaurant in Syosset and does custom wall finishes as well. “I guess you would call this my third job,” she jokes.
Prices on the bracelets range from $12-$30 and can be customized with a name, a team favorite or phrase. The pair said they would like to see their product in local boutiques. A Huntington boutique is slated to start carrying their bracelets next month.
“We think the bracelets are also great for fundraisers,” said Kastrinos, who said she is reaching out to local PTA groups. Both women grew up in Kings Park and attended high school there.
Gigi’s Charm is named for their grandmother, Mary DeGray, whom they called Gigi. She passed away a little over a year ago.
“Gigi worked in Ben Franklin years ago and had a special affinity for jewelry,” said Kastrinos. “She watches over us and is a big influence on what we do.”