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Entrepreneur to Watch: Maureen McCartney of Emily Press Labels

Entrepreneur to Watch: Maureen McCartney of Emily Press Labels

Maureen McCartney founded Emily Press Labels, an online personalized label business creating stylish, durable labels with designs that speak to modern kids, hip youths and savvy grown-ups.

What inspired you to start your company?

I was looking for modern colorful designs in sticky labels for my nieces and nephews who range in age from 4 to 24 at the time. After a futile search and conversations with mentors, I decided to launch my own line and business. It would allow me to fulfill my creative side and work with kids products again after working for years at Robeez Footwear.

What is your company all about?

There’s so much good design out there for children’s things and as a result, really cool products. Our labels are an extension of what parents are already doing – buying the things they love because of the design or style with the function it provides. A lot of time goes into producing the designs, sketching out and reworking them until they are just right. No clipart here!

There was no way my older nieces would consider a teddy bear for their labels. When kids are older, it HAS to be fun or have the cool factor or it just doesn’t cut it. Hence, they inspired a lot of the Hip & Whimsy collection. I also really wanted to bring full colour icons to labels for the younger set.

Labels should be fun and colourful and complement the items you are labeling. As well, the products need to perform under the everyday testing of kids, dishwashers and laundry. Emily Press’ labels have function as well as style.

What’s your vision for your company?

When I first did the business plan as part of a self employment program last year, part of the mission statement was creating quality products that added fun, style and function to everyday living. Whenever I think of new designs or products, I try to remember those things so I can continue to build the company on good design and products that support parents and make their jobs a little easier.

What excites you about what you’re doing?

I love being creative so to see designs that you’ve had locked away in your head and then see them be brought to life is pretty cool. But then to have people buy what you conjured up, THAT’S exciting. Design is such a personal thing so when people say how much they like the design or product, I’m so thrilled. It really means a lot.

What are some early examples of success?

I’ve been very blessed that people like the designs. You never truly know what the response will be especially with fickle kids. After all, if the labels don’t appeal to the kids, they really won’t want to label all their stuff with them.

I’ve had great feedback from customers. It takes a lot of effort and time for customers to follow up with an email telling you how much they liked your product once they’ve received it. They don’t have to do that so I always feel honored when they do.

And the company was recently endorsed by Ellie & Melissa, The Baby Planners’ Seal of Approval for our labels. It was exciting to receive the recognition and also begin to experience other great parenting sites learning about us and liking our labels.

What about challenges?

The biggest challenge, and it’s nothing new to entrepreneurs out there, is having the time and resources to do all the things you want to do or know you should do. When you are part of a large company, you have teams of people to cover all areas of the business. Now you have to wear a lot of hats and you HAVE to do everything including those things that you dislike doing.

The other challenge is probably getting the word out there about Emily Press Labels. Coming from the early beginnings of Robeez Footwear, I know it’s about having a good product that people feel great about discovering and wanting to share with friends. Sandra, the founder of Robeez, reminds me it didn’t happen overnight. As an entrepreneur, we always want things to happen yesterday!

What’s next for you?

I have lots to do in the next few months. New designs will be launched as well as new products. Moms and kids continue to be the inspiration and are providing great feedback. The only thing that’s frustrating is having to pick and choose what is happening next. I wish I could implement the ideas all at once. I’m learning patience through this whole journey.

Maureen McCartney of Emily Press Labels

www.emilypress.com | Twitter: @EmilyPress

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