About Gayle Martz
Award-winning entrepreneur Gayle Martz is best known for creating The Original Sherpa Bag®, the first soft-sided pet carrier endorsed by major airlines. But at the heart of her company's success is a mission she values even more: increasing awareness of safe pet travel and improving the lives of animal lovers and their pets.
Ms. Martz began her professional life as a flight attendant. During a two-decade career, her expertise was recognized through coveted assignments such as presidential charters and rewarded through industry honors such as TWA's Award of Excellence.
Though she didn’t realize it then, her diverse international travel experiences were laying the groundwork for a revolutionary business idea. In 1989, wanting to globe trot with her new pet, a Lhasa Apso, Ms. Martz designed a lightweight, carry-on bag that fit under an airline seat — thus enabling her dog to comfortably travel in the passenger cabin, rather than the cargo hold.
Convinced she had devised a stylish yet safe solution to a common travel challenge, Ms. Martz proceeded to single-handedly persuade airlines to change their policies and permit small pets to travel alongside their owners. By 1994, the Sherpa Bag had become the officially approved in-cabin, soft-sided pet carrier for 10 airlines.
Her pioneering efforts captured the attention of press nationwide. Reporters from such wide-ranging media as CNN, to Town and Country magazine, to regional newspapers, told the engaging story of her start-up with clever headlines like "Ex-flight Attendant Finds $1 Million in Doggie Bag."
Her reputation as a travel expert turned innovative entrepreneur continued to grow, making Ms. Martz a sought-after speaker and consultant. In 1996, her achievements earned the prestigious Women of Enterprise Award from Avon Products Inc. and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Today Sherpa's Pet Trading Company manufactures more than a dozen styles of travel bags and accessories that are sold in the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe. Widely recognized as the premiere producer of soft-sided pet carriers, Sherpa’s line is featured by top retailers and better pet stores, and distributed through major airlines.
Ever the industry leader, Ms. Martz has branched into private label programs and formed strategic alliances for cross-marketing. The plush pet line, Sherpa and Her Friends®, continues to advance the company's message about animal protection and the benefits of pet ownership.