By Sophia Ricco
It’s now easier than ever before to sample Long Island’s best locally made items without even getting in the car, thanks to locaLI bred, a new business that assembles Long Island-made products into one box that can be shipped anywhere.
Created by Theresa Pinelli, of Centerport, and Halie Geller, of Huntington, locaLIbred.com went live at the beginning of October.
Both women met in college and after living in Brooklyn, moved to Long Island a few years ago. In Brooklyn, they had seen a growing trend toward locally made items and felt Long Island deserved the same.
“Long Island is awesome. There is so much here and there are so many people doing interesting things because of their access to agriculture and the ocean,” Pinelli said. “All of these really fresh, cool ideas are coming from Long Island but no one knows about it.”
Each 13 x 10 inch box is packed with six to eight full-size products made by local manufacturers.
The side of the box displays their motto “Long Island in a Box.”
“It showcases that there are new products and things happening on Long Island, that people aren’t aware of,” Geller said. “People are making things from all ends of the Island. Some of these companies could be the next huge thing that people just don’t know about if they don’t see them at the farmer’s market.”
On opening a box, recipients are greeted by a postcard with a watercolor map of Long Island created by local artist, Jackie Maloney. A letter explains the business’ mission of supporting local enterprises. On top of the box is their logo encircled by a square knot.
“It’s tying up Long Island together in a box,” Geller said.
Before launching, the women spent months sampling and tasting local vendors’ items. They want only the best to go into the box.
“If we represent the best – because it’s our brand on the line too – we have to make sure that it is the best,” Pinelli said. “We stand by that and make sure their story is legit and that they do make everything or a large piece of it on Long Island.”
In their travels around the Island, the women learned each maker’s story to truly understand how their products are created.
“We wanted to give a voice to the makers of Long Island and kind of give a re-branding of Long Island,” Pinelli said.
On their website, each creator has a page that tells their story with a photograph, giving people an idea of where the box comes from.
“We love a good story about how they came to their craft,” Geller said. “And honestly, I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t had a good story. They all do. If you’re doing something that you’re making yourself, there’s a story behind it.”
When the women purchase wholesale from the vendors, they make sure they are paying a fair price. Their mission is to support local business.
“We didn’t want to be just some gift box company,” Pinelli said. “We’re self funded so we wanted to be really careful and make this something that’s sustainable for the Island.”
In a survey, the women found people wanted edible and non-edible items in a gift box. Pinelli is trained as a pastry chef and bakes brownies and blondies that are packed in every box and can provide instant gratification.
“It’s a look good and feel good gift,” Pinelli said.
Their starter box, the “Welcome Wagon” is perfect for someone who has never experienced or is new to Long Island.
The pair have already received orders to ship the boxes across the country.
“Aside from it being a beautiful gift for someone to get. You’re supporting at least 10 businesses and it’s meaningful,” Geller said.
The company offers four themed boxes and one seasonal box, along with a yearly and half year subscription box. Every season, a box is shipped to subscribers and includes new vendors and products. They work to get the box shipped out within 48 hours of an order and find they typically arrive within a day or two. If you want to ensure freshness for your gift, pre-order the box now and choose a shipping date close to the holidays.
“There are a ton of gift box companies out there, we are not your normal gift box,” Geller said.
“This is meant to be supportive of the local community, the heart of Long Island, that makes us different from others.”
Find locaLI bred on Instagram @locali_bred, on online at locaLIbred.com.