When Michele Welsh and her husband were driving their three young children to a kiddie amusement park in 2008, they missed the exit and wound up close to the famous Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, so they decided to go there instead.
After they paid the “hefty admission fees,” and entered the park, Michele became nervous by the overwhelming size of the crowd, and suggested they leave. “Keeping track of three children at a large amusement park can be intimidating, even for the most diligent parents,” she said. They decided to stay, however, and that’s when Michele had an “aha” moment.
“I took a ballpoint pen out of my purse and wrote my cell phone number on one of each child’s arms. ‘If you get separated from mommy and daddy, show your arm to another mommy and daddy and they’ll call me,’ she told her kids. That made me and them feel better,” Michele said.
Throughout the day, other moms stopped Michele and told her they planned to write their phone numbers on their kids’ arms, too.
“On the way home, I told my husband ‘I think we have something here,’ Michele remembers. “My kids were crazy for temporary tattoos at the time, so I thought, what if we could customize temporary tattoos and include phone numbers.”
Thankfully, the Welsh kids didn’t get lost that day, but mom Michele was on her way to founding a new business.
Seven years later, SafetyTat child ID tattoos is a thriving enterprise, so FabOverFifty wanted to learn more about Michele and her youngest “baby.”
Please tell us a little about yourself
I’m 47 and grew up in Paynesville, a small suburb outside of Cleveland. I studied industrial and visual communications design at Ohio State, where I met my husband, who also is an industrial designer. Following graduation, we lived in Wilmington, DE for three years, where I did freelance designing. Then we moved to Baltimore, where I worked for Polk Audio.
I started my own graphic design consultancy in 1998 and consider myself a pioneer in website design.
How many different kinds of tattoos do you sell?
The original style tattoo comes with your phone number imprinted on it, is applied with water, and will last for one to three days. This is a novelty tattoo.
A second style is called the Quick Stick Write-On Tat, which allows the parent to writes a phone number or a medical alert directly on it. This peel and stick tattoo will last on the skin for up to two weeks. The child can take a bath or shower with it, or even go to the beach. The adhesive actually is activated by body temperature and is very difficult for kids to remove. It comes off more easily if you have fingernails.
We introduced TatBuilder three years ago, which lets you to choose custom colors, icons and messages. This tattoo is applied with water, like the original tattoo. We offer 100 design options, and parents enjoy creating them with their children.
My daughter had a lot of anxiety when we left her at preschool, so we created Tat Kisses for her to wear, which helped to ease her anxiety. I got the idea from a book she loved, called The Kissing Hand.
We also have tats for people affected by medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
Where are SafetyTats made, how much do they cost, and where are they available?
SafetyTats are made on the East Coast and are available on amazon.com, in AAA travel stores, as well as in select school supply stores and toy shops. A pack of 24 Tat Builders is $20.00. We have a high-quality product that’s safe and durable, and I won’t compromise on those by making a less expensive product.
We were featured on Good Morning America, and they said it’s the best low-tech solution they’ve ever seen, Michele said.
What advice do you have for a woman who thinks she has a good idea, but has never started her own business?
I’ll always remember the smart advice I learned from a business coach to consult your five people:
1. A lawyer, who can tell you if you can i trademark the concept.
2. An accountant, who can tell you if you can afford to start a business.
3. A pessimist, who will find all of the pitfalls and dangers and why it won’t work.
4. An optimist, the cheerleader who will find every good thing about your idea.
5. Someone with whom you have history, who can say something like, ‘Hey, I remember we talked about this five years ago. How does your new idea jive with what you’re thinking today?
We all know someone who could benefit from SafetyTats. Support Michele’s brilliant business and order them today!