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 ( "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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