PreppyEpi: Rumson Mom's Allergy Aid
Graphic artist Meredith Kole comes up with a solution for panicked parents with allergic children
You could say that Rumson mom Meredith Kole had an allergic reaction to an epi pen problem.
Surrounded by children with allergies, play dates at the mother of four’s home had become a game of hide-n-seek with myriad plastic bagged epi (epinephrine) pens and scattered notes about allergies specific to each frolicking child.
With so many children severely allergic to so many different things these days, when several would show up for play, “I found myself trying to keep track of who came in with an epi pen, what they were allergic to and where the pens were,” Kole said. “The parents were diligent about it, but I found I was having spurts of panic about remembering it all at a moment’s notice, should that emergency occur … Who was it that was allergic to red dye? Where was their pen? Or was that the one who had the peanut allergy? Did the child with the peanut allergy have an allergy to bee stings, too? Did that snack have any nuts in it? Yellow dye? … I’m usually very organized; and it still became a little frightening.”
Kole remembers one child showing up for play with the most beautiful little bag. In it was her epi pen and instructions. However, at that scary second in which an allergy attack can strike, Kole recalled, she probably wouldn't be able to easily find the pen or see the notes concerning the allergies.
“All of these beautiful bags, plastic bags, conscientious parents and allergic children and I just felt like I must not be the only mom organizing play dates who gets overwhelmed with the panic of not being able to easily access the pens and clear allergy notes — all in one easily accessible spot,” she said. “So, one day, when all the play date children left, I sat right down and came up with a solution — the PreppyEpi.”
What’s PreppyEpi? It’s a convenient case in a durable material that fits an epi pen, alcohol wipes and a card that shows through its clear plastic back with a check-off list for allergies and reaction explanations.”
And Kole, a graphic artist with a pharmaceutical background, came up with it all — the name, the logo, design and trademark — in three hours.
“I did it all right before my husband got home from work,” she said. “He got home, routinely asked me what I did today and I proceeded to tell him that I created a product and business.”
And she did. It wasn’t long before Kole’s PreppyEpi cases were being shipped from China and then on the counters at drug, novelty and clothing stores in and out of the area and available for order via the internet.
Why the name? For obvious reasons: the area and the sake of a good rhyme. Besides, Kole said, by all advertising standards, with which she is well-versed, the name is just plain catchy. It’s no secret that Rumson is the historic hub of preppy land. And, well, the shortened name of the epinephrine pen just rhymes perfectly. While preppy is also spelled “preppie,” with the ie at the end, running the two together, for design’s sake and the sake of creating a name, the consonant running into a vowel was the better idea, she thought.
The case has a black background and an alligator, as in the preppy chemise lacoste (or as we called them at R-FH, plain ol’ alligator shirts). The boys’ colors are blue and green and girls’ are pink and green, both standard preppy colors.
The pre-made allergy checklist (that is visible through the clear plastic-coated case backing) has a space for the child’s name, emergency contact and expiration dates on one side. The other, entitled “MY AllyG’s” has an allergy checklist with a few spot for others that may not be listed. And there’s a clip to attach it to your belt buckle or bag handle.
For more information, or to purchase them online, go to the Web site at www.preppyepi.com by clicking here.
In the meantime, Kole said she feels much better about this nagging notion: It’s play date time. Do you know where your epi pens are?