Here's the Keys

Fashion First

What: Stylish medical ID bracelets
Who: LeAnn Carlson and Denise Gaskill of Lauren's Hope Medical ID Bracelets LLC
Where: Kansas City, Missouri
When: Started in 2001

after learning that her baby-sitter, a diabetic teenager named Lauren, refused to wear her medical ID bracelet because she thought it was "ugly," Denise Gaskill, 35-with help from LeAnn Carlson, 42, her business partner of several years-decided it was time that they started a brand-new business. As they turned their personalized children's gift company into Lauren's Hope, the partners found a new calling: designing medical ID bracelets that kids and adults would find fashionable.

The pair came up with a patent-pending concept-medical ID tags that are linked by interchangeable bracelets. Since starting the venture, Carlson and Gaskill have designed 30 different styles retailing for $39.95 to $79.95. The lifesaving bracelets are marketed through diabetes educators and doctor's offices, as well as on the company's Web site (www.laurenshope.com). "If you're in an emergency situation and you're wearing it on [your] wrist, any EMT who takes your pulse [will] flip it over and see it," says Gaskill, who projects 2002 sales to hit $300,000. "It serves a purpose, but it's fashionable, too."

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This article was originally published in the October 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Here's the Keys.

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