Jennifer Rose Packaging Solutions (JRPS) is a new green start-up specializing in tree-free sustainable paper packaging made from agricultural by-products. They believe they are the first company in the USA to design, develop and distribute tree-free, sustainable point of sale packaging. Their products are made exclusively from papers made from plant fibers such as scrap cotton, pineapple leaf, jute, sugarcane, and hemp.
JRPS is run by husband and wife team Lynette Kapsinow and Paul DeFruscio, both veterans of the jewelry and packaging industries with deep Rhode Island roots. DeFruscio grew up in his family’s jewelry business in Pawtucket. When more and more work was outsourced to China, he transferred to the jewelry packaging industry and developed a successful career working for various companies in Mexico, Canada, Texas and Florida. But he missed Rhode Island, and returned home with his young family in 2000. “Providence is simply a great place to be,” says DeFruscio. “I have a quality of life here unmatched by anywhere else I had been.”
Happily resettled on Providence’s East Side, DeFruscio attended a trade show in 2005 and had a life-changing encounter when he walked into a booth run by a Bangladeshi who showed him tree-free paper samples. DeFruscio immediately loved the quality of the papers and the sustainable concept of using agricultural by-products that would otherwise be discarded, providing Fair Trade jobs for rural workers in India and Bangladesh. He and Kapsinow decided to start their own tree-free paper packaging company.
They had a great concept, but financing proved challenging. Finally, in early 2009, JRPS got its start thanks to a loan from the City of Providence’s Economic Development Partnership. A few weeks later, JRPS became the exclusive paper sponsor for the annual Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s (MIT) Sustainability Summit, an important international environmental conference. “Securing capital for a new small business during a recession was tough. Fortunately, the City of Providence saw the value and potential of our company, and thanks to their support our business is now moving forward,” says Kapsinow.