May 7, 2010The Just. . . In case EMERGENCY I.D
The Just. . . #147;In case#148; EMERGENCY I.D
Working out of my home has been a part of my life for the past 25 years, starting when my daughters were ages two and five. I#146;m a cartoon illustrator, and I started out by writing and illustrating a little animated #147;Flip #145;n Giggle#148; picture book, What Pet Will I Get? After its publication I was actively involved in its marketing, but gradually slowed down to spend more quality time with my family. After a couple of years I started a little business, Madcap Creations where I created products that complemented my humorous cartoon style. I loved being my own boss, in complete control of my work, and I was excited by the challenges, but after nine years I decided to go the more conservative route and work freelance. I spent the next seven years taking on assignments from various companies #151; doing humorous illustrations for their lines of stationery, book marks, note pads, greeting cards and children#146;s magazines.
Then one day in 1997 my older daughter Jeana came to me with a story that changed my direction once again! Her boyfriend (now husband) had been baby-sitting his infant nephew when the baby fell, hitting his head. Concerned that the child might have a concussion, he searched frantically for the parents#146; emergency notes, but for several stressful minutes could find nothing. Finally he found a piece of paper wedged way in the bottom of the diaper bag containing the doctor#146;s name and number #151; so crumpled and worn it could barely be read.
This experience made it clear that there was a serious need for a more organized and reliable way to leave a child#146;s emergency information. Something, that in this hectic world, the parent wouldn#146;t have to think twice about #151;readily available not only at home, but in the car, on an outing, or with a sitter or family member- while staying completely intact. Because the name of my company, Madcap Creations, didn#146;t fit for such a serious product, I started a new company and named it Wee Five Designs. Jeana and I spent months doing research on the design, and making numerous, sometimes expensive changes here and there as we went along. We started out naming the product The All About Me Emergency I.D., but a year later changed it to its present name, the Just. . . #147;in case#148; Emergency I.D.
Upon deciding on the make-up of the final product, there were many things to consider. In order for it to be easily accessible, it needed to attach right onto a diaper bag, backpack, car seat, stroller, etc. #151; much like a luggage tag. We wanted it to be simple and affordable, since many parents would need them for more than one child -and we wanted it to be of top quality, so we chose the materials carefully from various wholesale manufacturers. To add to the convenience, we had the cards pre-printed with spaces for the most necessary emergency data, including the doctor, hospital, and emergency contact names and numbers, medication requirements, allergies, medical insurance information, the child#146;s blood type, and more. This way the parent could just fill in the blanks, eliminating any guesswork about what info#146; to write down. Then we thought of another note parents typically leave for sitters, an Authorization Form, to give consent for emergency treatment in the parents#146; absence; so we included this on the bottom of the cards#151; with a place for the child#146;s photo on the back. Once the cards were complete, we needed to come up with the packaging #151; another big hurdle, but with more research, my illustration background, and a great computer system we were soon ready with a prototype.
In developing a product, there#146;s a ton of research to be done: Is there a real need for the product? What#146;s the competition? How much money will be needed to get it off the ground? Is the product name already in use? How should it be marketed? - to name just a few. The first thing that we needed to find out was not only how parents felt about the Just . . .#148;in case#148; Emergency I.D., but the feedback from those in rescue-type jobs. So we developed survey sheets and, accompanied by a protoype, took them to over 100 parents, teachers, doctors, paramedics and firemen for their review.
The response was fantastic; giving us the inspiration and information we needed to pursue our commitment to the product. Paramedics stressed to us time and again how crucial it is for a child to have identification with him or her that#146;s easy to find - not only for identification and contact purposes, but to make emergency medical technicians aware of any allergies before administering medication. They also stressed how critical it is to know if the child has any preexisting medical problems in case he or she is already taking a medication that might complicate treatment. According to the survey results, our Just. . . #147;in case#148; Emergency I.D. was right on target.
Our next step was to get the word out. We hired a photographer and created a sell sheet with photos and a description of our product, developed a press kit, put up a website, got a toll free number, opened a merchant credit card account, and hired a public relations person to make phone calls to the editors of several parenting magazines. I followed up by sending them our press kit- accompanied by more follow-up calls. This gave us a terrific boost, as it resulted in several wonderful write-ups in some national parenting magazines which directed the readers to our website.
At first, orders were just trickling in, but once the write-up in BabyTalk magazine came out, the pace changed and the orders came flooding in! Thank goodness we were prepared with the different mail order material we would need - but what surprised me was the incredible amount of time and steps it takes to get the orders filled! If not for the help of a close friend and my family it would have been quite an overwhelming challenge. Now, months later the orders are still coming in, but we#146;re preparing to focus on other markets with a brand new brochure and a detailed marketing plan.
Just recently Jeana#146;s become a mom #151; making me a very happy stay-at-home working grandma! Looking back on my years as a mom working from my home I see so many advantages. It#146;s allowed me to be completely involved with my kids while pursuing the work that I love. If they needed to talk I was only a room away. If they were in sports, I could leave my work in a heartbeat to watch them play. If I needed to have conferences with their teachers there was never a problem #147;getting off work#148;, and when school was out I knew what they were up to because I was usually home to greet them. If I wasn#146;t, my mother would be, as she was just two minutes away. Last, but not least, I think it#146;s been good for my kids to see me pursuing my ambitions firsthand. I#146;ve always told them they can do anything they put their minds to, as long as they work hard and don#146;t give up. They know I mean it, because they#146;ve witnessed all the ups and downs that I#146;ve had to go through with my businesses #151; which leads me to another key player in my life as a work-at-home mom #151; my always supportive husband! Without his understanding, encouragement, and sincere interest in what I#146;m doing, many of my goals could not have been met.
As for my daughter, Jeana, since she#146;s had Caiden she#146;s chosen not to work outside the home. Instead, she works with me on this product as much as she can, while not missing a beat with her son. I#146;m not only grateful I could be home for my own children while they were growing up, but now I can be here for my precious grandson, and any future grandchildren, as well.
To see the Just. . . #147;in case#148; EMERGENCY I.D. visit our website at
. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each I.D. kit will go to the
Dr. Laura Foundation
to help abused and neglected children.Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
Posted by Staff at 1:43 AM