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Woman bags a real super deal; Female entrepreneur fills gap In the market for bottle gifts.

Byline: NICK WHITTEN

A BUDDING female entrepreneur who specialises in innovative bottle and gift bags has signed a deal with a major supermarket chain.

Stupid Bags Ltd did a deal to supply Morrisons with special Father's Day bottle bags called Best Dad bags to sell in around 250 stores across the country priced at pounds 1.99.

Marie Difolco of North Shields set up Stupid Bags two years ago to fill a gap in the market for fun, creative bottle bags.

The company carries several ranges, one of which features a brand called Squiffy. The brand was created by Not So Stupid Ltd, a sister company of Stupid Bags, which was founded as a vehicle to license out Marie's characters for use on a variety of products.

The bottle bags are a two-in-one product that act as a gift bag and greetings card in one.

Each bag carries a slogan such as 'Cheers Big Ears', 'Girly Night', 'Who Needs Men Anyway' and 'Well Done You' covering the many reasons why people might buy a bottle of alcohol as a present. All Stupid Bags have a 'safe drinking' message on the back and some contain thought-provoking poems written by Marie herself.

Stupid Bags are currently available at Fenwick's department store in Newcastle City Centre as well as growing number of independent wine and gift stores across the North East.

The deal with Morrisons came about after Marie wrote directly to the supermarket chain who spotted the product's potential. This deal will also test the appeal of the Squiffy brand.

Stupid Bags was set up by accident - literally. After badly injuring her leg while working as a telecoms project manager in London, Marie had to return to her native North East and live with her parents while she recovered.

With plenty of time on her hands she put her Art A-level to use, began doodling, and the first step towards her business start-up had been made.

She said: "I began jotting down the reasons why people buy wine as a gift and did a rough sketch of a character to go with each one.

"There were hundreds of reasons and I soon realized there was a gap in the market for a unique gift product. Stupid Bags solves the problem of dashing into a wine store at the last minute to buy a present, wondering what you're going to wrap it in and where you're going to get a card from!

"On occasions such as birthdays, Valentine's Day and Christmas, you usually have to buy a card and a plain bottle bag, now you don't have to because this product serves both purposes and saves you money!"

Stupid Bags is based at the Stonehills complex in Pelaw.

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IDEA - from left, John Howells, manager at Morrisons Cowgate and Marie Difolco
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 12, 2007
Words:469
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