Jackie and Shaun Rodgers got tired of not finding holiday wrapping paper that looked like them or that they could show their son, so they created their own – Clarence Claus. Clarence, a jolly old man with a chocolate complexion, a white beard and red suit provides children of color with images that are reflective of their daily lives and allows their families to feel happiness and joy during the holiday season.
Photo: Greentop Gifts
Greentop Gifts, a wrapping paper and gift company for people of color, launched its first line of products for the upcoming holiday season. The inaugural product line includes wrapping paper and stocking stuffers such as buttons and stickers that feature Clarence. The company is providing children of color with images that are reflective of their daily lives and allows their families to feel happiness and joy during the holiday season.
The company's objective is two-fold: first to build a company that creates wrapping paper and gifts for people of color. Jackie and Shawn, both HBCU graduates (Clark Atlanta and Morehouse respectively), wanted to continue to build on the entrepreneurial legacy that their families created. Greentop Gifts is named after Jackie's grandfather's bar/lounge from the 1940s. The second is within Greentop Gifts create characters that evoked joy from any celebration like Christmas, birthdays, weddings, and more.
When asked how they came up with Clarence, the owners said "We weren't seeing anything readily available when we would be out looking for holiday products from ornaments to wrapping paper. We would purchase the paper that was available and end up coloring the man on it brown just so we could have something that looked like us under the tree. We wanted to create an image that was a jolly old man that embodied happiness and excitement for the holiday season."
Photo: Greentop Gifts
They do, in fact, want to roll out more products in the future. "Yes, we want to roll out other products. We did some research with our customer base and people are looking forward to seeing other items. They also did a marketing stint in October where they visited HBCUs to drive awareness. "Each ambassador was wearing t-shirts with Clarence’s face on them to drive awareness. The t-shirts were a big hit on campuses so they, as well as hoodies, are now on sale on our website. We are thinking of expanding the line to include other clothing items as well."