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Denise Lasprogata

28, president of DLL LLC in New York City

Description: Designer of women's apparel with large print and Braille garment labels; also has clothing line with sequins spelling out "DEE DEE" (Lasprogata's nickname and name of clothing line) in Braille.

Start-Up: 1999, for $50,000

2001 Sales: $30,000

You're My Inspiration: After a friend lost her sight in a car accident, Lasprogata decided to turn her interest in fashion into a business helping the visually impaired become more independent. Finding regular clothing labels inadequate for the blind, she saw an opportunity to create labels they could read.

Material Girl: Lasprogata located a substrate used for maps and diagrams for the blind that could withstand the washing and drying process. She patented her product, contacted label manufacturers to license it and, working with a team including a label company and celebrities, she launched her business. Her clothes are now sold in boutiques in New York City and upscale retailer Henri Bendel as well as on her Web site.

Warm Reception: "Retailers love the concept and are more than willing to learn about my line and labels. Consumers feel they're playing a part [in this cause], and they are!"

Looking Forward: "I'm now selling a line of women's dresses and intend to produce more women's wear in the future. My goal is to eventually open the first retail store with Braille materials, including Braille and large-print catalogs and signage as well as my signature line."

Contact Source

This story appears in the December 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »