Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spotlight on Mom: Michelle Brandriss of NameBubbles

Now that I have almost 3 years of motherhood under my belt (wow, how the time goes by fast), I can finally say that I have found name labels that actually do what they are supposed to do -- stay point and keep me organized.  Prior to stumbling across NameBubbles created by fellow mom entrepreneur, Michelle Brandriss, I had spent around $100 on other name labels, that ended up not being waterproof, smudged when I wrote the dates on the them, or left behind nasty residue once I took them off bottles, jars, etc.  But, then a few months ago, I stumbled across NameBubbles and loved their selection of labels for all your family's needs, and was sold once I saw the video below.

Here is a short video showing how to use NameBubbles to help keep your family organized:


What sold me was that their write on labels didn't smudgeAnd, the cute designs were a plus, as I knew the girls would like them.  Then, when I read about the owner, I was excited to learn she was a mom.  So, you know how it goes.  I reached out to Michelle and she agreed to answer my Spotlight on Mom questions, and even sent along name labels with Savannah's name, for me to try out.  Stay tuned Friday, when I will share more about NameBubbles and my personal thoughts on the samples sent to me for review.  But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Michelle Brandriss of NameBubbles.com.

Name: Michelle Brandriss
Company Name/Product/Service: NameBubbles.com/Waterproof Name Labels for Kids
Company Location: Clifton Park, New York
Company Website:  www.NameBubbles.com
Twitter Handle: @NameBubbles
Age of Company:  4 Years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of
their passion."-
Martha Graham
Favorite Book: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

 I feel like I’m a work in progress. I enjoy learning new things and feel 43 years young, - my life is just beginning. I came late to the mommy party and I am having a blast, having a child grounded me. For years, I was always thinking about the future, I didn’t appreciate the present moment. As I truly get to know myself, I’ve found that life is a process and being in the moment is a gift.   

How many children do you have? What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I have a six year old son and most of my hobbies include things that we do together as a family, to stay active. We snow ski on the weekends during the colder months and hike or spend time on the lake during the summer. My husband and I enjoy gardening, flowers mostly, but I love being outside. I’ve started running again after many years, and am spending more time on art projects with my son, he inspires me. He is creative and I love the concepts and the humor that he brings to each project.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

Name Bubbles makes award-winning personalized name labels for busy families on the go. Our labels are durable and stylish; perfect for baby bottles headed to daycare, school uniforms and sports equipment, and camping gear.  The popular press-and-stick application makes them easy to use and because they’re durable and waterproof, too, they stand up to the rough-and-tumble of everyday life.  Parents appreciate that they’re dishwasher and laundry safe – they stay put. Moms, dads and grandparents can create their family’s personalized labels online at www.NameBubbles.com by using an easy step-by-step process. With hundreds of designs, icons, colors and styles to choose from, each label is unique and an expression of personal style.

As a working mom I used masking tape and sharpies, even labels from several other companies, but at that time I found that they offered limited options for styles, colors, and personalization. Because of this, mix ups occurred with my son’s items at daycare which was unsettling to me. More importantly, my son developed a food allergy at a very young age, so I needed to be confident that he would receive his food, spoon, bottle or sippy cup at daycare.  I also wanted all of my contact information and instructions right on the label in case of an emergency.

Creating a label that did just that became my passion and focus, since this level of customization was not available before I started Name Bubbles. I started out designing and creating around my own needs, and it turns out they dovetailed with needs other moms were experiencing.  Today our customers are involved in every aspect of our business, from icon and design suggestions to product uses, and how we engage with them on a regular basis. 

What is a typical work day like? 
For many years there wasn’t a typical work day because I was doing much of what needed to be done – by myself.  It was difficult to put a plan or schedule in place, because I was trying to do it all. Fortunately, the company has evolved and I have been able to hire a team of very talented people that work within the various disciplines; allowing me to maintain a somewhat regular schedule.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  
The biggest struggle that I experienced was managing the initial growth that took place in the company’s infancy. It is a good problem to have, but it was difficult to balance growth with making sure the company was financially secure, should an unexpected problem or opportunity arise.
What did you do in your past work life?

Having worked much of my adult life for Internet related start-ups, I truly understood the risks and rewards of launching my own online business. Having learned by watching others – the pros and cons, I took note. I believed in my heart that Name Bubbles was a good idea, and after researching the marketplace I made the move. Although the decision to leave my position in client services at an advertising agency was difficult, the final impetus to jump into the “deep end” came from a painful parenting moment concerning my then 18-month old son. I was leaving to catch a flight for a focus group and was scheduled to be gone for four days when my son came down with a double ear infection and fever. It was awful; mom guilt can rip you apart. I looked through the window on my way out the door and I saw my son lying on my husband’s chest. On that day, in that moment, I knew I was ready. A month later, I set up an office in our basement and within six months, I was able to move the office out of the house.

What have been some of your major successes?

As Name Bubbles grew, I was able to realize a personal goal of giving back through the business. Even though Name Bubbles is a small company, we have a strong cause marketing strategy that allows us to build awareness for great non-profit organizations that make a difference in the world. The Giving Program began in 2010, in our second year of business, and we’ll be announcing our 2013 program partner next month.

Another success is our loyal customer base, we see many return customers from all over the world and it’s wonderful to know that our Name Bubbles are growing up with so many children. From babies to big kids, Name Bubbles labels stick with them every step of the way. It is my hope that each child’s personalized name labels remind them that their labels are just for them and that they are unique and loved.

What have been some of your major challenges?

In the beginning, Name Bubbles was located in two different offices, operations was separate from marketing and business administration. This created a lot of difficulty for customer service and communication between the various functions of the business. It became clear early on that manufacturing the labels and selling the labels needed to be under the same roof. I knew I needed to find a space that would allow us to work as a team and be big enough for us to grow without putting too much strain on the business financially. We looked for nine months before we found a space that would become the “Bubble Factory” that we all work in today.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
The impossible days always go by the quickest; you put your head down and plow through. It doesn’t hurt to have your favorite bottle of wine set aside at home for after the storm either.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Do your best and call it a day. It’s okay to think about the next steps and what must be done, but children grow quickly so have some sacred time set aside for the ones you care about – even yourself.

What is next for your business?
Name Bubbles is working on a more robust and supportive customer service portal that includes videos, tips and tricks, order tracking and editing.  We want our customers to be happy with their order and if they have any questions or changes. I would like their interactions with our customer service department to leave a lasting and positive impression about our company. It is my belief that superior customer service will set us apart in what has become a competitive marketplace. “Your happiness as a customer is our promise to you.” are the words we work by and are posted outside my office to remind us all

1 comment :

  1. I like that these do not smudge that is what we need.
    heather [email protected]