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Breaking Glass

NJ business woman scores the best seat in the house at the news Emmys

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Lisa Pavia made 800 favors by hand to help fill the gift bags at the 34th News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Oct. 1, 2013.
Lisa Pavia made 800 favors by hand to help fill the gift bags at the 34th News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Oct. 1, 2013. - (Lisa Pavia)

Lisa Pavia scored what has got to be, for a small business owner like herself, the best spot in the house at the 34th annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards last night at Lincoln Center — inside the gift bags.

Lisa Pavia

Lisa runs a company called LMK Gifts, based in Livingston. She makes handcrafted gift items such as towel cakes and Origami favor boxes and hot cocoa cones. She does all her work by hand, with the help of three to six part-time employees, depending on the time of year. And she's dying to take her business, which is now solely online, to the next level.

Then she got the call from Off the Wall Gifts, a New Hampshire-based company that makes a living filling gift bags for events like the news Emmys. Her story is kind of like the actors or models who get discovered walking down the streets of L.A. or Manhattan: One of Off the Wall's producers spotted some of Lisa's favors online, liked what she saw and asked to have 800 of them handmade with the Emmy logo — within 72 hours.

"It was controlled chaos," Lisa said.

"We've had a lot of fervor here, had a lot of pizzas, coffee," she said with a laugh. "(My husband) felt like a bachelor the whole week because I wasn't really able to cook dinner or spend some quality time with him."

But she did it: She made 800 favors in 72 hours and shipped them off in time for the event last night in Manhattan.

Now she's hoping that exposure will takeher business to the next level. Maybe LMK gifts could score shelf space in the boutiques at the Mall at Short Hills, she said. Costco, too, would be a major coup. And Off the Wall Gifts has already suggested that Lisa's favors could land in more gift bags at future big-name, black-tie events.

"My favors were pretty much approved by the Emmys because they saw the quality," she said. "I've been in business a long time. I've worked really hard, and you know how every business looks for that one break? This could possibly be it."

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson is a staff reporter covering midsized and growth companies, as well as women in business. Mary lived in Fla., Texas, Conn. and N.Y. before moving to N.J. with her husband and infant son. Email her at maryj@njbiz.com. She is @mjohns422 on Twitter. Read her blog, Breaking Glass.

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