About Kathleen Vignos
The advent of an idea
Kathleen Vignos (pronounced "Vin-yo") founded Plumpstocking shortly after the birth of her 2nd child. "Even before I had kids, I hated to go to the mall in December, and I went to great lengths to avoid it.
E-commerce saved me. I loved that I could accomplish most of my Christmas shopping online," says Vignos. "One year I was feeling very smug about finishing my list early - but then I remembered the stocking stuffers. There was nothing to be found online, so guess who found herself at the mall on December 20th with a newborn?" Vignos remembers. Two years later, Vignos launched the Plumpstocking.com website as a one-stop-shop for Christmas stocking stuffers.
All in the family
Knowing that Plumpstocking would be an enormous endeavor, Vignos called in help from every friend and relative. Her father ran the family automotive shop for decades, so she went to him for business
advice. Her mother worked on cameras that filmed animated cartoons, so she asked her to work on electronic product images and descriptions. For financials, husband Rene, an engineer, jumped in to assist. Even their 3-year-old daughter Josie helped pack orders that first year. Says Vignos, "she begged me every day, 'Mommy, let's pack orders!'"
As for Vignos, she had a great advantage for a new online retailer: she knew how to build a major website from the bottom up. "I've had my own web development consulting practice for years. Before that, I worked for a huge business consulting firm and two software companies. I coded the Plumpstocking.com website myself, right down to the database architecture and custom shopping cart."
A great fit
"Designing and developing the Plumpstocking.com site was a dream come true," says Vignos. Having worked on sites for so many other businesses, she loved the challenge of building something from conception. "I would put in 14 hour days working on the site, and I didn't even care. It was a labor of love, and a great challenge."
Her enthusiasm doesn't stop there. Vignos has thoroughly enjoyed another component of her job as the buyer for Plumpstocking. Choosing each and every one of Plumpstocking's hundreds of products with care, Vignos says she's been "groomed" for the job from an early age. "First of all, I've had a lifelong love affair with Christmas," says Vignos. "As a teen I strung up lights and had my own Christmas tree in my bedroom. I know the words to every Christmas carol there is. I even got married in December so that we could have a Christmas wedding - green dresses, red flowers, a Christmas tree - the works!"
Now she gets to spend all year looking for great stocking stuffers, following in her mother's footsteps. "My mom would gather little gifts for the stockings all throughout the year, so I learned early how to spot a good stocking stuffer from a mile away," says Vignos. "I love every task associated with Plumpstocking. It's too good to be true - it's so much fun."
When she's not fine-tuning the Plumpstocking.com website, scouting out new products at gift fairs, and coordinating the fulfillment process at her new warehouse, Vignos raises two preschoolers and runs her consulting practice out of her home. She loves baking, distance running and volunteering for local non-profits and her church.
Note from Kathleen Vignos: "I want to hear from you! Send me your comments and suggestions. We love to keep in touch with our customers." Email address: kvignos at plumpstocking.com
Plumpstocking Founder Kathleen Vignos remembers savoring the contents of her childhood stockings. "My mom would collect stocking stuffers all year round, so each one was special. On Christmas morning, I would sneak downstairs at the crack of dawn, bring my stocking up to my bed, and carefully unwrap each gift." It's this experience that led her to Plumpstocking. "We hope to help people create that kind of joy and delight for their kids and loved ones - folks who don't necessarily have the time to shop all year for stocking trinkets!"
A mother of two preschoolers, Vignos remembers how challenging it was to shop for Christmas gifts amidst caring for her babies. "Both of my kids were born near the holidays, so for a couple of Christmases I had to do pretty much all of my shopping online - usually at 3am, trying to rock a newborn to sleep!" But the allure of a plump stocking lingered. "I remember how disappointed I was that I couldn't get good stocking stuffers online. One year I headed for the nearest drug store and grabbed whatever I could find there. It got the job done - but those items weren't the creative, individualized items I preferred for filling stockings."
As it turns out, Vignos was not the only one looking for a little help with stocking stuffers. Now, with over 500 products, Plumpstocking is continuing to expand, making life easier for moms and other "elves" everywhere. "We've scoured the globe to create a wide selection of toys and other perfect stocking stuffers," says Vignos. "So when shoppers place an order with us, they know they're getting the real 'finds'." Vignos personally supervises the selection of each and every item, and in the true Christmas spirit, is adamant about offering something for everyone. "We've worked hard to provide a range of prices to fit every budget. We have hundreds of items for $5.00 or less!"
It all started with a mom looking for an easier way to make Christmas special for her growing family. "We're coming full circle by offering busy people everywhere a one-stop-shop for the world's best selection of stocking stuffers!"
A portion of our profits are donated to charity.