I am a stay-at-home mom of 4. My daughter is 5, my son is 3 and my stepsons are 13 & 15. In addition to Peanuttees, I also own a promotional products company that I started in 2006, as a way to supplement our family’s income.
Your allergies/family allergies:
My 3 year old has a peanut allergy.
What was your introduction into the world of food allergies/allergies?
I was first introduced into the world of food allergies in 2006. Through my daughter’s playgroup, I met my friend, Brooke. Her son has a severe peanut allergy. It was through Brooke that I learned how dangerous a peanut allergy and food allergies, in general can be. When my son had his first (and thankfully only reaction to date) on New Year’s Eve 2007, I immediately called Brooke, who happens to be an RN, for advice.
When did you start your business and what was the final push that made you do so?
Peanuttees was started in June of this year.
My friend Brooke had been searching the Internet for tee shirts for her son to wear to Vacation Bible School and when he started kindergarten this year. Most of the shirts that she found online were $16-$20 apiece. Knowing about my promotional products company, she asked me if I could have something printed for her that was less expensive. My printer offered her services at a special rate and after many late nights, coming up with the designs after my children went to bed, we had our first 6 designs printed, enough shirts for Brooke’s son to make it through a whole week of VBS and the first week of school without wearing the same shirt twice.
What person, organization, or website has been the most influential to date?
Through one of my clients in my promotional products company, I met Sherry Mers with Angel Service Dogs. I passed on Sherry’s contact info to Brooke with the hope of Brooke getting a dog for her son. What we learned was that, first, the dogs are extremely expensive and secondly, compared to the number of families in need, there aren’t many dogs available yet. That is when I decided to put Peanuttees online to sell my shirts and donate a portion of my proceeds to Angel Service Dogs.
Final thoughts, hopes, wishes for the future?
Next year, I will be sending my son off to preschool. I won’t be there to make sure what he eats is safe. I will be facing the same fear that Brooke and many other moms (and dads) faced this year. My goal is that Peanuttees will not only raise awareness in the classroom and in the summer camps so that teachers and counselors with think twice before offering a snack, but also I hope we can raise money so that service dogs will become more readily available and affordable for families in need. To date, Peanuttees has not had the opportunity to donate to Angel Service Dogs. For this to happen, it’s critical to get the word out about Peanuttees. Although we are not a non-profit organization, we do not exist to make a profit. We exist to raise awareness and help others.