Friday Feature Mumpreneur: Betty Zeritis of Pass it Forward Gifts

Tell us about your business
Pass it Forward Gifts is an online shop that generates donations for 4 Australian charities - Petrea King's Quest for Life Foundation, Inala, Clothesline Incorporated and Kids for Life. Our customers choose how these proceeds are shared when they finish shopping, with 5% of each sale passed onto the chosen charity.  

Our products are either hand-made by lots of talented Aussie mums or supplied by other Australian small businesses, third world communities and from the charities themselves, we on-sell their products free of charge for them. We want to help in many ways and inspire others to give back to the community and help others in need. Our mission is to offer a positive online shopping experience that leaves people feeling good.

What inspired you to open Pass It Forward Gifts?It was in my ‘dream book’ for a couple of years, which was filled with all the things I really wanted to do in my life. I had a career in marketing but felt unfulfilled in the corporate world, I wanted to make a difference and do something inspiring with my time. Around the corner from 40 I felt it was the right time to make Pass it Forward Gifts a reality and just went for it one day! It felt right. I’ve always been a compassionate person and volunteer and tried to help whoever I can, wherever I can. It’s a value deeply ingrained in me. I truly believe generosity is the key to a better world.

How difficult was it to get your vision for Pass It Forward Gifts in progress and up and running?
It was an enormous effort and there were many, many evenings where I only slept a couple of hours; keen to get the site online and launched as quickly as possible. I took all my savings and with the support of my family, friends and business partners my dream materialized on December 1, 2010 when the website was launched. When you are running your own business, especially something you are emotionally attached to, there is no switching off. Your mind is constantly thinking about how to make it better and what more you can do. As hard as I worked in my corporate career, it rarely kept me awake at night.

How did you choose which 4 charities to support?It was not easy let me tell you! I went to hundreds of websites and registered charity lists and read and read until I kept coming back to these four – I was also listening very closely to my heart. I’ve admired and supported many charities over the years, sponsored children from around the world and volunteered my time to raise funds for major charitable organisations. But these ones felt right for my site.

It was the people involved in them and the fact that these charities were not as well known, yet did so much to help thousands of Australians every day in practical, positive ways. Because they are low overhead operations with lots of volunteers and little funding I wanted to support them by generating awareness as well as passing on donations on an ongoing basis. Most of what these charities receive truly does go to the people who need it, and quickly!

What does being a woman mean to you?Being a woman, I am governed by my heart and intuition – especially as I grow older. Pass it Forward Gifts feels right for me and regardless of the outcome I am proud that I have done it! Women are resilient and can do anything, in fact in tough times we are resourceful and find the people and means to pull us through. We are nurturers, want to live positive lives and be good role models – to create a better future and kinder generations. I know I want to be remembered fondly.

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