Whenever people ask me what kind of business I run, I always know I’ll get one of two things when I tell them my company makes personalized name labels for kids: blank stares (older people with kids off in college) or excited looks (“Why didn’t I think of that? And OMG – how can I get my hands on these?”). The latter are often from exhausted Moms and Dads of little children who get excited about the darndest things – those that make their lives a little bit easier (once they experience our labels, there’s no going back to sharpies!).
What seems like eons ago (but not really), I had three young boys aged 3 and under. Yes, you read that right. No, I don’t know how I did it. And to be honest, that time is somewhat of a blur! But those three munchkins are how LeeLee Labels was born, and I thank them every day for being my inspiration.
Back then, my husband and I were both working full time, high-pressure jobs. Every morning consisted of many frantic exchanges between us, such as “Where’s his shoe?!” “I can’t find the lid of the lunchbox container”, “He got someone else’s gray hoodie” and my personal un-favorite favorite “The daycare didn’t give us back his bottle cap AGAIN”! Everything always seemed to be disorganized, and for a type A Mom like myself, that didn’t sit well. Most of the time, it was because of the mix-ups at daycare, but really, who was I kidding? I was the one responsible for making sure they knew the stuff was ours.
Our first son went to a daycare where they labeled his bottles by writing on them with nail polish (I know, right?!). In my naivete, I thought that was just what people did at daycare. But guess what? Although a novel idea, nail polish comes off of baby bottles, and names looks like a 2-year-old wrote them. Our second son was treated to a series of ad hoc masking tape labeling and blurred sharpie writing on his bottles and items. I learned two things from that daycare: 1 – Sharpies are not permanent. 2 – Some people wash their baby bottle caps with scotch-brite, causing bottle caps to become cloudy and unattractive. Those are the ones my son was usually sent home with, while I fumed because some Mom got our crystal-clear bottle cap.
When our third son arrived, matters only got worse. Very close age gaps meant that even our laundry was getting mixed up at home! The onesies and the pants (folding, taking them out to wear, realizing it’s the wrong size, re-folding, putting back in someone else’s drawer…) I remember very clearly telling my husband “Why can’t we just label their names on all the stuff and be done with it? No more guessing when folding the laundry. No more lost swimsuits and towels at camp. No more bottle (and bottle cap) mix-ups at daycare. No more disgusting mix-ups of pacifiers. It would all be so easy (“and clean!” shouted the OCD in me)”.
So, off I set out to find a labeling solution. The ones advertised looked cheap and flimsy to me. “We can do better”, I thought. And we did! After research and development, testing and re-testing, teaming up with a top graphic designer, and building our business plan, we finally had it – the beginning of a personalized name labels company offering waterproof, durable name labels for kids that would be perfect for camp, school, and daycare. We included stick on clothing labels in our lineup too (one of our bestsellers!). Best of all, all of our labels were laminated to avoid a color runoff, scratches, and scuffing, and our designs were head and shoulders above anything we had seen.
Being able to be the first test case of our products was critical. Our lives really changed after that. Our daycare center paid attention, and the orders started pouring in. After years of hard work, dedication, and listening to customer feedback and suggestions, we have a website jam-packed with original offerings in outstanding designs not seen anywhere else. We pride ourselves on our quality, commitment to customer satisfaction, and innovation, all in a family-feel atmosphere.
PS – for all of you wondering about our company name, it’s based on one of our kids’ nicknames!