Bold and Confident Moves Forward
Gayle is the founder and former CEO/President of the SHERPA Pet Trading Company. If you own a pet, you have definitely heard of The SHERPA Bag®, the first soft-sided pet carrier officially approved by major airlines. Gayle’s drive and determination has made pet travel possible.
No Home, No Money, No Job
Gayle’s life quickly spun out of control in 1987. Her fiancé passed away suddenly, she had no home, she was furloughed, and she had no money. Still, Gayle Martz built a brand that became a household name and as a former CEO of Petco said, “Gayle, you created a category.”
During this heartbreak period Gayle’s beloved Lhasa Apso, SHERPA became her emotional support. Being a TWA Hostess (today, Flight Attendant), she was all too familiar with the very restrictive pet policies in the commercial airline industry. These restrictions forced Gayle and her mother to drive cross country with her dog SHERPA.
Meet the Challenges and Take Action
Gayle always faced challenges head-on and knew she needed to advocate for the millions of pet owners. Gayle was not only uniquely qualified with her airline experience, but she also had great style from her years in the fashion industry. After many prototypes, Gayle created a soft-sided, waterproof pet carrier with superior ventilation, generous pockets, and a leash holder that fits underneath the seat in front of you on an airplane.
Changing Airline Policies
Convincing the airlines to change their pet policies was a major hurdle. Stepping outside her comfort zone, Gayle approached American, then TWA and United, then others. SHERPA Bags became the first officially approved soft sided pet carrier in the world allowed on flights.
A One-Woman Business
With little money to her name, Gayle’s mother loaned her $5,000 startup capital. Quickly she became designer, distributor, salesperson, and CEO. SHERPA was born and operated as a one-woman business out of her small apartment in NYC.
Today Gayle regularly meets with legislators and leaders of brand name companies including airlines, hotels, resorts, and fashion icons as she continues her advocacy for pets.
Learn a Little More About Gayle Martz
- Do you have an affirmation that you use for confidence building?
“I can do it!”
- What healthy routines and habits do follow to keep you strong.
I turn to yoga when I needed to relieve stress and it helps me in every phase of my life, especially during the trying time of starting a business when I had no money, home, or job! Mind, body, and spirit is what yoga is all about, and it is truly the reason I was able to work as much as I could. The funny thing is I do my best work on the floor, where I can get into a relaxed and focused state of mind, like what I feel when I’m practicing yoga!
- What’s your favorite song? / band/ music era? Names?
“Caruso” a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla.
- What was your favorite subject in high school? Do you use that skill now?
Psychology. Life is filled with trials and tribulations that are encountered every single day and finding the psychological implications (both pros and cons), helps me to make the correct decisions.
- If you could have any accent what would it be?
The Latin languages are filled with beauty and romance. If I could have any accent, it would be a French accent closely followed by Italian.
- What is your favorite thing about Italy?
The history, the fashion, the food. Oh, there is so much to love! I am part Italian, so I am totally enthralled with the Italian culture and in love with the beauty that abounds in Italy. If I had to have only one favorite, I have to go with the fashion. It is above and beyond and throughout my entire life, fashion has been a passion.
- Do you have a favorite Italian dish/wine/food?
Tortellini Carbonara with the most fabulous parmesan cheese that can only be found in Italy!
- What is your favorite Italian car?
- Describe your fashion style. Do you have an icon you follow?
Classic. My favorite designer is Valentino.