7 Questions With #GirlBoss We Love And Founder Of Mabel's Labels, Julie Cole
July 20, 2016
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I don’t remember who first put me on to Mabel’s Labels, but I wish I could because I owe that person big time. Never heard of the company? Prepare to have your life changed. Yes, it’s that amazing.
Any moms can tell you they spend way more time than they would like labeling just about every single thing that leaves the house with their children. Clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, socks, underwear… the list goes on! But instead of taking a Sharpie to everything, wouldn’t it be so much better to just stick on personalized stickers that actually stick through sweating, washing and all the wear and tear a child can dish out? Enter Mabel’s Labels, the #1 North America provider of labels for stuff kids lose.
When I say this brand is cult among moms, I’m not exaggerating in the least. I swear by these labels for mo 8-year-old daughter, so much so that I start to panic when I don’t have a spare set in the house.
Given my devotion to this company, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity get to know Julie Cole, the founder of Mabel’s Labels, a little better. Below, she reveals how she came up with this genius concept and what’s next for Mabel’s Labels.
SHEfinds: Tell us a little about yourself. Were you always one of those people who had genius ideas?
Julie Cole: I’m a recovered lawyer turned entrepreneur and a busy mama of six kiddos. I love my business, babies and blogging! I had never planned on starting a business. but when we noticed that there was an important product missing from the market (durable labels for kids!), we saw an opportunity. I suppose the real catalyst was when my son was diagnosed with autism. I wanted to leave the traditional work force so I could focus on his therapy. as I knew early intervention was important. So, the desire for more balance in my own life and being armed with a great product idea, my three co-founders (who are all related to me and are each moms, themselves) and I started Mabel’s Labels and never looked back!
SF: Mabel’s Labels is nothing short of genius–what inspired the company and how did you start it?
JC: We started by doing a lot of research. We didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find material to do what we needed it to do. The labels we wanted to create had to be durable–dishwasher and microwave safe. When we finally found a material that we were happy with, we began production out of my sister’s basement. Those were very busy times. I can remember being pregnant with my fourth child and making labels until 2:00am, only to go home and get up at 6:00am to have a day with the kids. I know many entrepreneurs that are parents, too, can relate.
SF: Did you expect Mabel’s Labels to grow into the huge success it is today?
JC: There were some early indicators that made us think that maybe we were onto something! The market responded significantly well immediately. Once moms saw our product out there, understating the benefits of our labels, they wanted to have it. Our customers have always been amazing brand ambassadors by sharing info and telling all their friends about Mabel’s Labels. Word of mouth has been unbelievable. We also had some early press attention that was helpful. It was definitely hard to predict the future of Mabel’s Labels in those early days, but we were passionate and not afraid to work hard!
SF: How do you come up with new ideas for new products?
JC: We really try to listen to our customers. They often reach out with ideas and we keep track and re-visit requests when we are thinking about product development. The best part of Mabel’s Labels is our incredible community of customers – why not listen to them?
SF: What’s the bestselling Mabel’s Labels items?
JC: Right now our Back to School combos are hot, hot, hot! Our focus groups have told us time and time again that our combos address moms’ needs and kids’ wants. Generally, I would say our best-selling products are our tag mates. They are peel and stick clothing labels, which certainly beats sew on or iron on for busy modern moms! They don’t come off in the washer/dryer, and minimize wasteful repurchases of lost items. They are a great value with 70 labels for $21
SF: If you weren’t running Mabel’s Labels, what would you be doing?
JC: It’s pretty hard to imagine life without Mabel’s Labels! It has been a complete lifestyle shift. Perhaps I would be back working in law, but I wonder if the entrepreneurial bug would have gotten at me eventually!
SF: Can we expect anything new and fun from Mabel’s Labels for this back to school season?
JC: You sure can! New for BTS are our special edition personalized name stickers with the zombie and notebook designs. Also new is the “My School Years” keepsake book. New icons on the UBTSC include lacrosse (huge customer request), abc blocks, artist palette and science flask/beaker. Also new on the UBTSC are the emoji icons. Check out our website www.mabelslabels.com to see all the BTS excitement!