The year was 1975, and Gary and Sharon Page were expecting our first child--an event we had anticipated since our marriage in September 1970. Our home was Parkersburg, WV, where we had moved when Gary got his "big break" and went to work as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and Sharon was teaching math in the local school system.
This was before the days of knowing if you were going to have a boy or a girl--a mystery GOD determines as part of His majesty. We had a girl, Jennifer Jill, and St. Joseph's Hospital gave us a blank birth certificate to fill in and display in her newborn nursery. From day one, this unbelievable, incredible event awed the new parents. "If you do not believe in miracles after holding your first baby, then there is probably no hope for you," we frequently said. Sharon cherished that little birth certificate reminder of the joyful day Jill entered our lives.
Fast forward five years to 1980 and Sharon and I are now in Charlotte, NC and expecting our second child, since I had moved to another pharmaceutical territory. "It's a girl," the doctor exclaimed, and we welcomed Leigh Anne home from Presbyterian Hospital to join her big sister. However, there was something missing--the hospital did not give us a birth certificate, and Sharon asked if she might have one for Leigh Anne's nursery. "No problem," I said but there was a problem. There was not one to be found in the hospital gift shop, the baby areas of local department stores, or even in baby gift shops. No one had a solution.
Knowing the essence of beginning a new business, ie. recognizing a need and then satisfying it with an excellent product, I began investigating how to produce such a product. Not being talented as an artist, I hired a friend and neighbor to do the artwork in her spare time with my guidance. I then did due diligence to find the best printer in Charlotte; this one had won many awards so I selected them to produce my first run of birth certificates and related product. The process had taken many months to accomplish, and in 1981 God's Little Gift was launched as a one-man company and sales force. Also in 1981 Sharon and I welcomed daughter number three, Ashley Autumn, just in time to get footprints and handprints that became the accompanying artwork and expanded the grouping to three pieces (birth certificate, handprints and footprints), all with coordinating artwork. The line was completed in time to be included in Autumn's nursery, and our little family was now complete.
The line sold well, and shop owners encouraged me with oo's and ah's as they saw and purchased the offering. The line was improved with shrink wrapping and even a countertop display, but something was still missing to make it a really exceptional product. The essence of the product was that it was personalized, but the times and technology dictated that the product was a "fill-in-the-blanks" format that might not look good if your handwriting was like mine. I established a calligraphy service to complete this information, but the results were cumbersome, logistically difficult, and expensive.
While working on the birth certificates, I began a second business in the 1980's wholesaling helium and balloons, and the balloon company took off like a rocket ship! The resulting business became nationwide; and because our business was small, something had to give so birth certificate sales were eliminated as balloon sales expanded. The company trade name became "Helium & Balloons Across America (HABAA)," which encompassed the vision for the business.
In 2010 helium became scarce as the world supply was shaken by product shortages, allocations, and repeated dramatic price increases. However, upon examining the God's Little Gift line, technology now had caught up with what I really wanted to do so many years ago, allowing me to finish a project that began in 1980.
Now data could be collected and professionally applied to each piece of one-of-a-kind artwork being produced. You, the customer, can select the ethnicity (race) of your child, and that will be reflected in your artwork (i.e. a black child for an African-American customer). Your choice of wording for your birth certificate can be selected and even a special permanent message can be incorporated in your baby's keepsake. A variety of product options, including "gifting" which includes a certificate representation that can be given at baby showers before the parents even know the sex of their infant, is all part of the fun using our interactive web ordering portal to create a priceless remembrance of a new tiny life!
Sharon and I now have thirteen grandchildren who call us "Granddaddy" and "Granna," and we are still doing mostly the "pink thing" with ten girls and three boys. Undoubtedly, you will be seeing their pictures incorporated into our exciting website, as I have the privilege of sharing our joy with you. The awe Sharon and I experienced in 1975 is still fresh in our minds as we experience and celebrate each new birth. We named our venture "God's Little Gift"--the miracle of a newborn baby! We also acknowledge God's "Big Gift," HIS Son Jesus Christ, who freely offers "salvation" as a gift to each of us once we mature and grow up. Truly this eternal gift is the most important decision any of these babies will make in their lifetime. If you want to know more and upon your request, we will send you additional free information about a relationship with Jesus.
God bless you, and thank you for honoring us with your visit to our website!
Gary & Sharon Page