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Aquebogue English Teacher Markets Smart-Alecky Products

Shop online and support a local entrepreneur.

If you are looking for a unique gift that highlights your recipient's inner geek for the holidays, an Aquebogue woman may have what you are looking for.

High School English teacher Emily Puccio has taken “smart-alecky” sayings she has been saving for years in a journal and turned them into her own online business, SmarTalk Apparel & More. Sayings such as “Don’t dangle my participle” and “I’m in a subjunctive mood” now adorn everything from tee-shirts to coffee mugs.

Originally, Puccio thought about naming her business TeacherTalk, but said she had come to realize that teachers do not have the only line on “dorkiness” and that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to wear her quirky sayings on a shirt.

In order to launch her business in a cost-effective way, Puccio is using CafePress to manufacture, store, and ship her products to people all over the world. She pointed out that it’s a unique way for North Fork residents to support local businesses, while shopping online.

“People can buy my products online and still be shopping locally,” Puccio said.

Puccio incorporated her company last November and began exploring ways to turn her business into a reality. She researched garment printers and trade shows and found the costs to be prohibitive. Some of her colleagues mentioned the idea of using CaféPress to bring her ideas to live.

CaféPress will tell her what the cost per product is and she decides what the markups are. The whole process has been streamlined and has allowed her to get her business up and running.

Puccio said the work to bring her 19 sayings online was “very extensive” and it took her hours and hours of work to create the images and upload them to the site. She has marketed her products on Facebook and has even taken suggestions from her friends on an expanded product line. Today she has each SmarTalk saying on 20 different products, giving her customers hundreds of product options.

She cannot sing the praises of CaféPress enough and said for people who have an idea they want to get to market, this is a cost-effective and efficient way to do it.

“It allows you, as a startup, to have flexibility and control over your business,” Puccio said.

In the future, she said she may print some of her products and see if local businesses would be willing to carry them, but for now her online presence will suffice.

With the holidays coming up, she said she does see the potential to make some extra cash. However, Puccio said she has a job that keeps her busy and active and looks at SmarTalk as more of a money-making hobby than a change of career.

ABetterWayforRiverhead November 15, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Can you tell me if the raw products (t-shirts, mugs, etc) are "Made in the US"? I am assuming that cafepress prints in the US- hope so.
Erin Schultz November 15, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Emily Puccio said via email: "CafePress manufactures in Louisville, KY. The products they offer that are US-made are labeled as such, and I have a few of those in my stores, including the jr. raglan shirt and the men's fitted shirt. All of the printing is done in the US. They don't manufacture the "blanks," as they're called. They purchase those from suppliers, for instance Hanes, Jerzees & Gildan are well-known blanks manufacturers. So some of their blanks were made in the US (& those are indicated as such), but all of the printing/shipping is done from Kentucky. I hope this helps!"
ABetterWayforRiverhead November 16, 2011 at 05:30 AM
Thank you Ms. Puccio. It sounds like you did your homework and have an excellent business plan. Best of luck!

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