The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.
Interview with the founder of MediKids, Lisa Cords
Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
As a preface to my story, I am a single adoptive mother.
The concept of Medikids, like so many great ideas, was born of necessity. In 2009, I was asked to adopt a baby and at the first ultrasound with the birth mother, I learned my daughter had a very serious life threatening heart defect that would require open heart surgery right after her birth. This required the birth mother to be in Denver three weeks prior to her due date. If she were to go into labor in Billings where we lived, they would not be able to life flight Lily fast enough to Denver for her to survive. Lily was born April 9, 2009 and had her first heart procedure that day, followed by open heart surgery (transposition of the great arteries switch), and within days another defect was discovered and she had a third heart operation to correct an aortic coarctation. At two and a half weeks Lily had survived three heart operations and several other procedures. After she was released from the hospital, I was driving home with all her heart medications and suddenly panicked. I had no way of safely identifying her medical condition, medications or any other emergency medications. When we got home I spent days searching for medical ID and medication bags for infants and toddler. I wanted something that was bright, could attach directly to a car seat, booster, diaper bag and anything else I used for my daughter, that did not require calling into a phone center to retrieve the information (this takes too much time with children and you do not always have cell service), and had a comprehensive medical and emergency information right at a responders fingertips. I could not find anything to fit my needs.
After I lost my job upon returning home with my daughter, and researched the medical ID industry to see if a new ID for babies, toddlers and special needs children would be viable. After six months I had a logo, a prototype, a business plan and a mission. I took all my savings, borrowed money from my parents and started my business. Now I have worked with Easter Seals, Ronald McDonald Houses, Children’s Hospitals and parents to develop products and build brand awareness.
What do your kids think about your job?
My daughter knows that mommy has her own business and works from home. Early on I had to do a lot of travel, but I took her with me and she thought it was fun. Now she thinks I just stay at home and ‘play’ because she doesn’t see me working. Which is great! But, she does know that I help kids who have things that make them special (like she does) and she thinks that is pretty neat.
Tell us about a total mom + biz fail.
When Lily was a toddler and I was trying to get input from moms at Easter Seals in Chicago everyone wanted me to bring Lily. Well, the night before I had a big meeting with a moms group, Lily found scissors, the sharp kind. Let’s just say Billy Ray Cyrus had nothing on this kid. I didn’t even have the time to take her to try to get it ‘fixed’. I had NO skill or choice and took her to the meeting anyhow. Moms were asking if she had a shunt put in! That is how bad it was. I had to fess up to HUGE new mom fail that yeah, I let my kid get into the big girl scissors and she gave herself a mullet that had half her scalp showing. MOM FAIL! At least they understood.
A business fail...which one?? As a new and novel business owner there are a LOT of fails. MAJOR fails. I thought it would be smooth sailing because the products are needed, but had no idea of how it really is to try to get a novel product on shelves. Fails are learning opportunities, regardless of how much they cost in time, money or embarrassment. They help you learn and grow as a person and a businessperson.
Share with us a total win (brag away!)
Getting meetings with VP’s at Easter Seals at a National level and having them tell me these products are needed and wanted, at the adult level too! That’s when I knew I couldn’t give up. Hearing from the mom’s I gave products to that this has saved their kids from potential brain damaging seizures because they had medication lists right there for ER docs. Having people believe in the product and my mission to get these in major retail stores because they are inexpensive, all the information is provided right there and they save lives. That is a total win!
What’s your relationship to Mamalode?
My good friend Alicia Angell, told me about Mamalode in our book club. She is a great free PR person for Mamalode! She brought a stack of magazines and I took as many as I could without seeming rude and read them all cover to cover. That was the beginning! I was hooked! Finally a magazine for real moms. It’s smartly written and not just parenting ‘tips’ and things that make moms feel like a total fail because we don’t cut sandwiches into creative characters in bento boxes! By the way, THANK YOU for the article on ‘Re-Branding Single Moms’!