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03/13/2010: SENIOR BEAGLE INSPIRES A NATION - on PBS' StartUpNation - Open for Business [PRESS RELEASE]

StartUpNation - Open for Business with the Sloan Brothers banner


“GERTIE”, inspiration for the Gertie Gear™ pet airbed, and entrepreneur featured in PBS special, StartUpNation — Open for Business, on starting your own business.


March 13, 2010 – Westland, Mich., — Julie King, veteran Detroit creative left her job in August 2007 with promising career opportunities and a plan for relocation. A few months later, her father was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. With a few thousand dollars saved for “a rainy day”, strong foundational ideas, and a passion to “make it work”, Julie decided to start her own business in Michigan.

First came the formation of Greenworld Creative LLC, the creative services agency which would win a Summit Creative Award for the logo design of one of it’s first clients. Income from “Greenworld”, along with thrifty living and savvy practices would sustain daily expenses and contribute to the launch and growth of the second venture, the Gertie Gear™ brand pet airbed.

Planning and research began in January 2008. By March, it was apparent that Julie would initially need to produce the beds herself. She sourced equipment and components, learned to sew, developed the logo and marketing materials, acquired a credit card merchant account and opened a store on (an online market for handmade goods). With a bit of help from a few family and friends, 100+ bed sets plus ancillary items were prepared for the launch at the first show on June 1st. Breaking even on booth fees was a triumph — Julie and her sister (who also worked the show) slept little the preceding 72 hours — their father’s funeral was the day before.

Inspired by her aging beagle’s need for a supportive, comfortable bed and her own desire to conquer excessive laundry and the regular purchase and disposal of traditional pet beds, Julie designed and began making/marketing the airbeds. Each airbed is comprised of an inflatable tube, a claw/nail-proof canvas undercover and a snazzy slipcover. All covers are machine wash/dry and the tube never compresses nor holds orders/allergens. Vet recommended, orthopedic, portable and handcrafted in Michigan, the long lasting beds leave a minimal eco-footprint. Additionally, a vast array of available slipcover fabrics make them stylish in any decor.

The airbeds have already made an impression on the industry, including the American Kennel Club, which featured “Gertie” and her bed as the top item in its “2009 Holiday Gift Guide” and invited Gertie Gear back for its “2010 Spring Summer Gear Guide.” Gertie Gear is a FIDO Friendly magazine 2010 “100 Best Products” winner, and has participated in two gift bag promotions: Earthday in Hollywood 2009 and HollyWOOF 2009 (for A-list celebrity dog lovers). As a notable contender in the 2009 and American Express sponsored SHINE A LIGHT on small business competitions, Julie (and Gertie) were chosen to be a motivational story for the StartUpNation — Open for Business special produced by Detroit Public TV.

StartUpNation — Open for Business with the Sloan Brothers first airs Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 8pm ET on Detroit PBS (ch56). National syndication and DVD release scheduled for June/July 2010.

For more information, please visit and/or become a “Gertie Gear” fan on Facebook.

[NOTE: Gertie Gear donates a portion of sales to Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), an all-volunteer group in support of the many animals still in need, long after Hurricane Katrina.]

Julie King • P: 734.326.1569 • E:


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WARNING: Air beds are NOT recommended for teething puppies nor highly destructive "chewers"! Though inflatable is protected by industrial, claw/nail-proof canvas, NOTHING is completely chew proof. Air beds are NOT toys and are NOT for human children!
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