Many thanks to The Republican newspaper, author Elizabeth LaFond Coppez, and MassLive.com for the fabulous local write up! We are proud to be made and based in Massachusetts, and always appreciate folks who want to spread the word about our plastic-free alternative.
Click to read on MassLive or continue below (reprinted with permission).
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By ELIZABETH LaFOND COPPEZ
Special to The Republican
Growing up in a family of creators, it's no surprise that Michelle Zimora is where she is today, selling a very unique product across the country.
Only in business since January 2018, Z Wraps - reusable wraps for food - are being sold in 180 stores nationally, and online through its website.
Z Wraps, made of cotton, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin, are created and packaged in the Eastworks building in Easthampton.
"Our goal is to save 17 million rolls of plastic wrap from going into our environment," Zimora says.
Zimora suggests simply starting with one thing to help reduce the use of plastic. You can use Z Wraps for wrapping cheese, vegetables or bread as well as for covering a casserole dish and placing it in the refrigerator.
"It's a heart hug," she says. "And, it feels good when you don't reach for that zip-lock bag drawer."
The Z Wrap story begins during a simple do-it-yourself afternoon. Zimora, a former outdoor educator, noticed her friend's blog had a post about how to make reusable wraps. Since her mother taught her to sew, she went to work, using her collection of fabric and a block of beeswax.
Receiving many comments about how her wrap looked, Zimora's business concept was settled.
"I realized people would be proud to own these wraps and give them as gifts," she says. "I thought, 'Let's go for it!"
All Z Wraps are colorful and bright with artwork designed by Susy Pilgrim Waters, of Boston. "It took a while to find a designer to work with us in the beginning, as we were very small and just starting out," Zimora says.
Her "Farmer's Market" design is the most popular, and Zimora found that sketch buried in Pilgrim Water's Instagram feed. "When I saw the radish, I knew that was it!"
Z Wraps were first sold online at Etsy.com, but Zimora says it proved difficult for them to be noticed. "I started bringing my Z Wraps to kitchenware stores, and we got a great response," she explains.
Zimora then went to Valley Venture Mentors and was accepted into the accelerator program for entrepreneurs. "I endured a high learning curve, but I loved it and soaked it up," she says. "To me, our business really kicked off when we attended the New England Made Trade Show in Portland, Maine, in March of 2018. I opened 40 accounts that weekend, and I knew it was time to get serious about this."
Locally, Zimora has received substantial support from businesses like the Baker's Pin in Northampton, along with River Valley Co-op, Provisions and the Cedar Chest in Thorne's Market, all in Northampton.
"All of our labels are printed by Hadley Printing, and we work really hard on sourcing locally and supporting local businesses. We love being in Easthampton's Eastworks Building," she adds.
Z Wraps are sold in various sizes, and they last six to 12 months. Gently wash and air dry Z Wraps after each use, and they can be used over and over again.
Looking back, Zimora says the most amazing part of her entrepreneur experience is the people who have helped her along the way. "You really can go from outdoor education teacher to startup business entrepreneur with no experience and make it happen," she says.
For all the entrepreneurs out there, Zimora suggests checking out Valley Venture Mentors. Also helpful, she says, is to listen to the NPR series, "How I Built This."
Zimora hopes her product's success will inspire many to make baby steps toward preserving our environment. "We need to take responsibility, and it's nice that there can be easier solutions and to start off slow. And, it's nice to have a beautiful option, too!"
You can find Z Wraps online at myzwraps.com.