The History of ShipShapeUSA and Tony's Stocking
A few years ago, when her son Tony entered the military and was away from home his first holiday season, Cathy Staller felt inspired to create a special holiday surprise for him. A traditional holiday stocking was Tony's favorite part of the holiday season when he was a boy.
So Cathy crafted an initial stocking-shaped box out of cardboard and duct tape, filled it with goodies and sent it on to Tony. "I wanted to make something special to send that would remind him of home," she said. Despite its "homemade" appearance, everyone who saw the stocking immediately smiled from ear to ear. Even the postal carrier who mailed that first stocking showed it to everyone at the post office, and said to Cathy, "You need to do something with this!"
Cathy and her husband Dennis took a duct tape and cardboard stocking prototype to a patent agent. He thought it a clever idea, but questioned its marketability. Cathy redesigned the product and created a new stocking that could be simply folded together and assembled by the average consumer, and now the product is now patented.
In October 2009, Steve Schneider at the Sawyer Center in Santa Rosa, CA referred Cathy to Heritage Paper in Livermore, CA to investigate mass production. A professional prototype was constructed, and Cathy and Dennis decided to do a minimum run of the boxes and test them in the market place immediately.
Although they were a little late to the market for the 2009 holiday season, the response from the public was overwhelming. Local stores carried the product and a Hollywood production company and other volunteer organizations sent hundreds of gift-stuffed Tony's Stockings to our troops overseas, and to charities.
In early 2010, a high-school friend of Dennis, Dave Mittereder, who had earlier encouraged Cathy and Dennis to pursue their idea, joined the team and a new company name was chosen, ShipShapeUSA. Other product ideas are being developed, but Tony's Stocking will remain a favorite product. If you have any ideas for products that you'd like to see, please let us know.
We have many goals and dreams for ShipShapeUSA but a primary motivator is to get a special gift like Tony's Stocking out to as many active military personnel as would like them during the holidays. Nothing projects that feeling of "home" during the holidays more than receiving a traditional heart-felt gift. Just the cheery sight of a Tony's Stocking can put a big smile on the face of someone away from home, and remind him or her that he or she is loved and missed, and remind us all of happy times. Tony’s Stocking is made in the U.S.A. by Heritage Paper in Livermore, CA. The stocking box is made using green technology -- solar energy provides 90% of the power to manufacture Tony’s Stocking.