Sandra started the company with her two daughters and their mission is - spreading your positive message face-to-face.

Sandra Centorino is the founder of Say It Forward, a Connecticut startup that uses what people have to say to create inspirational products. Sandra started the company with her two daughters, and their mission is – spreading your positive message face-to-face.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Say it Forward  all about?

Say it forward + Co. is an all woman run Social Enterprise and soon to be registered {B-Corp} Owned and managed by Sandra Centorino and her daughters Steph (24) and Allie (20) We are a start-up Internet and direct sales company based in Connecticut.  Our aim is to inspire and connect with others by Spreading Positivity Face-to-Face.  We use what people have to say to create colorful and inspirational products that people share and love.

Q: Please tell us about your background and how you started your company?

Our background BEFORE SAY IT FORWARD:

Several years ago, I started calling myself, ‘The Queen of Hope.’  It came about because one of my childhood friends was diagnosed with cancer.  I can remember speaking with my friend as she told me the side effects of her treatment.  Losing her hair was the worst; Patti was uncomfortable wearing hats and wigs. Taking this dilemma and knowing how crafty my daughters can be we took some soft, colorful fabric and created some head-coverings for her to wear.  It was our small gesture to show Patti we cared for her. It cheered her up, and gave her comfort. Patti asked us to make more and share them with others battling cancer.   In 2001, we made our first delivery to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

During the next 12 years, it was my daughters Steph and Allie who inspired me to establish and run a non-profit foundation.  Our focus: to bring hope and encouragement to others with cancer by way of the “CUREchief.”  We enlisted a group of thoughtful and compassionate volunteers who made and distributed hundreds of thousands of complimentary CUREchiefs across the country.  During this time, we met many everyday heroes and heard their inspirational stories.  This really resonated with me.  I wanted to hear more uplifting stories and to continue to bring hope and positivity to others in new ways.  **Say it forward was born**

Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?

1 – Public Relations and Social Media- is an ongoing project to spread the word!

2 – Connecting to PTA’s and schools in Connecticut.  Using SIF products as fundraising opportunities.

3 – We are developing a sponsor program.  Our goal is to collaborate with other companies and events using our products that are customizable.

4 – Developing an Affiliate program to connect to like-minded “positive” missions to promote and sell SIF products.

Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?

  • Recruiting the right team is KEY.
  • Hiring consultants, Developing Public relations, Marketing materials and building relationships.
  • Expanding our product line. Collaborating with other Dog Therapy Teams to distribute cards.
  • Connecting to Corporate partners and possible licensing deals.

Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?

(1)– We started with the wrong name. Our original name was Instant Message.  It was too difficult to explain.  We learned to keep it simple and easy so people would understand the concept.

(2)- Thinking it would be an “instant” hit or success!  Sure, we would love to be a guest on ELLEN!  We learned to start small and grow slow and steady. Make connections and develop relationships.

(3)- Not having a business plan.  Without a plan we were all over the place! We took a Fast Track Entrepreneur Class. We learned that having a plan keeps us focused and on track.

Q: Please share some advice for new entrepreneurs, someone who’s just starting out.

Get out there! People need to hear your story and connect to you! Get connected online- Register a domain, trademarks, register “your name/brand” on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc. develop your “brand.” Most important- show heart and be real, and have FUN!

Q: What was the best business advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

My husband says, “Start out small, like having a Tupperware party”

Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

Here are 5!  Shopify, Twitter, Facebook, Email List/Newsletters, Instagram

Q: What’s your definition of success?

When you wake up ever day motivated and inspired to do what you love.  Making the world a better place by spreading positivity!

Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read? 

(1) The Tipping Point -Malcom Gladwell

(2) Jab Jab Jab Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuck

(3)  – 101 Ways to promote yourself – Raleigh Pinskey

Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?

“You never know how or when you might touch another life”  – Sandra Centorino  [Tweet this]

“In a world where people have a lot of choices, the story may be the deciding factor” – (unknown)  [Tweet this]

Q: How can our community get in touch with you?

PHONE: (860) 490-9181   EMAIL: Sandra@sayitforward.me  SITE: Sayitforward.me

Instagram: @Sayitforward

Twitter: @sayitfwd

Facebook: sayitfwd