We had the good fortune of connecting with Jodi Avis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jodi, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Like so many others, Ready-Set-Start was born as a solution to a problem. I am sure so many others can relate to my state of mind when I dreamed up the concept behind Ready-Set-Start.
Do you know that frustration you feel as a parent trying to fulfill your child’s back-to-school list? Boy, I sure do! In 2012, after leaving the 5th store in utter despair, with my daughter crying in the backseat, I remember thinking there has got to be a better way to get the school supplies my daughter’s school was requesting!
You see, I was the teacher who would not always get what is on her lists from parents. That said, as a new parent I would overthink the supply lists and strive to get EXACTLY what the teachers were requesting. As I headed to the 6th stop, I was day-dreaming about what a solution might look like. I knew that the solution would have to be one that would deliver the exact items teachers are requesting straight to the parents front door. Oh, and of course, as a volunteer, I wanted a program that would give money back to my school.
Luckily, I was in a position to be able to act on my day-dream. After years of research and development, Ready-Set-Start was launched in 2018. I am so proud of the solution that Ready-Set-Start has become. Ready-Set-Start:
* fulfills school supply lists and gets teachers exactly what they are requesting
* delivers the exact supplies that parents need directly to their front door, and
* helps schools reach their fundraising goals by giving money back.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am very proud of what sets us apart from our competition. Until Ready-Set-Start, the only solution offered to schools and parents was a pre-packaged supply box which isn’t always the best option. I knew that we needed to be unique. Here are just a few of the ways Ready-Set-Start is different from our competitors:
1) PreK- 12th Grade Lists: As a High School teacher, I knew that I wanted Ready-Set-Start to work for ALL grade levels. We offer schools the ability to create lists as Grade Specific (1st Grade, 2nd Grade, etc.) and as Teacher Specific (Mr. Jones – Biology, Mrs. Smith – Algebra, etc.)
2) Parents Save Money – Ready-Set-Start allows parents to purchase only the items they need from their school’s list and are not stuck purchasing the “whole” box as with our competitors.
3) No Ordering Deadlines – parents are busy and often miss ordering deadlines. Ready-Set-Start allows parents to order their supplies ANYTIME – 24/7/365
4) Reach Fundraising Goals – Ready-Set-Start helps schools reach their fundraising goals by giving 5% back on every purchase.
5) Spirit Shop – we recently added a Spirit Shop! Schools can now add their logo to offer a full range of unique personalized gifts to their school community – earning them even more money.
6) No Obligation – of course, Ready-Set-Start offers a program at no cost to the school. Schools also do not have to sign lengthy contracts which require them to sell a certain amount. Ready-Set-Start allows schools to simply add their lists online with no strings attached.
As a legally-blind, woman-owned business – I knew that Ready-Set-Start would have to be truly unique to be seen. Of course, taking my dream into a reality is a long story with many challenges. But, with determination, grit, and loads of support Ready-Set-Start became my reality! You see, life will always have its challenges that will cause you to swerve. Your success comes from how you recover and move forward. There is always a solution. There is always a dream. And you have control of your reality.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband. He first listened to me recount my entire journey all over town (yes, all 6 stores) and my frustrations. Then after hearing about the solution that I had dreamed up on my way home, he simply said: “You should do it.” Really? My husband continues to be my greatest supporter and never made me feel like it was just a “dream”.