“What are you giving your dad for Father’s Day?” asked Miles Petty, an MBA student at the University of Utah, to an unsuspecting audience at the beginning of his pitch for The Care Tree at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s May Get Seeded event.
“You don’t know yet? Well …” and then, to the surprise of the crowd, he followed up with a poem — rhyming “shirt or tie” with “the look in his eyes,” “the surprise,” a line about all the browser tabs and sites it takes to find a good gift — that ended with an introduction of his business, The Care Tree.
It was only appropriate that Petty incorporate a poem into his pitch — his startup has published two illustrated gift books that could be described as children’s books for adults. The first, a love poem called “I Love You Like …” considers a range of similes for love, from the whimsical to the sentimental: “I love you like H2 loves O,” or “I love you like a roof loves walls / I want to stand tall and hover above you / to cover you ….” The second, an ode to the sacrifices of a mother, has seen great results, “100 percent of mothers that read it smile and 50 percent cry,” Petty said.
The products seem to be doing well — not only did The Care Tree win $2,000 in funding for its milestone at the Get Seeded pitch, but several audience members wanted to buy on the spot from among the books and original greeting cards he had on display. The goal of the company is to grow from these current offerings to books for every big life event, along with cards, prints and other items — to be a one-stop-shop “you can go to and know you’ll find a thoughtful gift for any occasion.”
Petty sees a large target market: “We communicate more now than ever through texting, Facebook, Instagram … and a lot of that communication can be pretty superficial. But we still want deep connection, we want to do good in the world — so The Care Tree will offer original, modern ways to show you care.”