Mary Martha Parisher

Mary Martha Parisher

An Entrepreneur with an Idea That Is Taking the Online Specialty Gifts Industry by Storm

by Kara Kennedy

Entrepreneur Mary Martha Parisher’s business idea came out of necessity really, or better yet a void in the market when she tried to send her uncle a gift in the hospital.   “My uncle was in the hospital about a year ago in another state, and I called the hospital gift shop to get them to package up some fishing magazines to give to him with a note to let him know that we were thinking about him,” said Mary Martha Parisher, founder of the new online gifts company Cheeriodicals.  “I was told that the gift shop didn’t have any magazines on fishing and that they didn’t offer a service for patients like that.”  That got Mary Martha thinking and researching online to find an online specialty gifts store that would send magazines and food items in a gift package to someone.  She shortly discovered that such a company didn’t exit in the form that she was looking for, so from that discovery her idea to start a business was founded.  She decided to create an online company to do the very thing she was having trouble finding online.  The result was the launch of in May.    In addition, one thing Mary Martha has going for her, is that she listened to people and sought advice on start-ups, which led her to recognize that she didn’t “know” everything.  Mary Martha added, “One of my friends told me that one of the keys to success was being able to recognize that I didn’t know everything about starting a business.  That advice was key, because it told me that I had to surround myself with people who did know certain aspects of branding, PR and advertising and to not be shy about hiring professionals to help me.”

Mary Martha’s background is as a corporate attorney in the pharmaceuticals industry, so she really has stepped out of her comfort zone in becoming an entrepreneur, but as she told me she is up for the challenge of running a small business.    Mary Martha also has shone that she is willing to take a risk to a certain extent in order to approach her business the right way using the right tools.  Although she still works on a contractual basis as a corporate attorney, she does hope to eventually make Cheeriodicals her fulltime position.

The online specialty gift company offers an alternative to the traditional flowers and candies that one might send as a gift to someone.    It combines magazine choices and specialty food item choices in a bright green cheery box that is customized to coincide with the recipient’s interests and tastes.  The magazine choices are categorized in 33 categories for the buyer to choose from, and the company maintains an inventory of more than 134 titles of magazines in-house.   According to Mary Martha and through her research, this is the first time in the US that a company has implemented a business model like this with so many choices and with such a large inventory of magazines, as well as, the first time a company that combines the magazines with snacks, subscription options and gift items to ship nationwide.    The website is designed in such a way and on purpose to make a purchase easy, efficient and turnkey for purchasers of the Cheeriodicals product.   Anyone who wants to purchase a gift box can do so when they choose from one of the 33 categories; In addition and in response to customer feedback, Cheeriodicals put in a Mix and Match option for customers who want to build “their own” Cheeriodical.    Mary Martha has already found that she has had to tweak her online business for customer preferences, as well as, make the click and choose process a little easier.   “I really didn’t realize that I would have to tweak what we are doing in a short period of time, but customer feedback is key, and we wanted to make sure that our customers saw that we really listened and got what they were saying about purchasing our product,” said Mary Martha.

Another interesting twist, I found with Mary Martha’s business is that from the get-go she was willing to place in her business model, a philanthropic model, which meant the company would give back to the community from its beginning.  She chose to form a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the national organization that grants wishes for children who have life threatening conditions.  In fact, before being in business a whole month, the company sent Gabe Griffin and his parents on a mini vacation to Atlanta’s Aquarium.   Gabe has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a disease that has no cure.    “More often the money that is being raised to find a cure for Gabe’s disease goes towards research and medical bills, but it doesn’t offer any sort of normalcy for everyday living,” said Mary Martha.  “So I felt like that’s where Cheeriodicals could make a difference in Gabe and other children’s lives by offering to grant wishes, and in Gabe’s case it was for a vacation to the Aquarium.”  Mary Martha says that as her company grows so will the growth and her willingness to grant more wishes for children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.    “If you are able to give back to the community from the beginning, I believe that it establishes your company as a community partner.  That is something that people look for these days when purchasing products,” she added.

Cheeriodicals specialty gift

Cheeriodicals products have been well received in the short few weeks since the company launched.  Mary Martha says that people love the gift packaging, (which is a bright lime green box), the many magazines to choose from and the specialty food items.   She also has made advertising and public relations key to the launch of her business through purchasing TV commercials, using social media, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin and by partnering with TheSuperDeal, a Groupon-type service.   Her company also has been featured in the news recently.

Additionally, companies are liking what they see, so much so, that Pradco Outdoors partnered with Cheeriodicals to place their Knight & Hale Beacon II locator hunting lights in the hunting and fishing Cheeriodical package and box as a freebie for those who ordered the hunting and fishing package for Father’s Day.    Product sampling is the area that Mary Martha sees the most immediate potential and opportunities for growth for her company in the next five years. She plans to actively seek other partnerships with companies who want to get their products in the hands of consumers that purchase theme-tailored Cheeriodical gifts.

As I ended our conversation, I asked Mary Martha what advice she would give to those who wanted to start their own business and she told me:  “Whatever company you decide to start, it is key that you do the research and choose a company or business that best fits your needs and interests.  You also have to be willing to tweak what you do in order to fit the desires of your customers and finally, you can’t be scared of taking a risk.”

To purchase a Cheeriodicals gift log onto:  You also will find there, Cheeriodical logoed merchandise that is guaranteed also to add cheer to your order.

2 Responses to “Mary Martha Parisher”

  1. Brett Wallace says:

    What a fantastic idea!! Cheeriodicals incorporating a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation is truly a unique idea in today’s “business” world. I applaude you and your efforts to help others in need to make our community a better place. I wish nothing but the best of luck to you. Bravo!

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