Dee O' Leary

Dee O' Leary - iDME

Dee O' Leary

It’s your worst nightmare; not only that your child might wander off and find themselves lost, but if they suffer from a disability, allergy or medical condition – that they have no way of telling anyone what’s wrong with them. Cork-based mom of three, Dee O’Leary, saw that there was a gap in the market – and she jumped in! We chat to Dee about how she’s getting on with her invention iDME.

iDME is a sport ID and medical emergency wristband business. We sell medical wristbands that contain important information. They’re tailored for children from the age of three, but they’re perfect for all ages and needs, children with allergies, people with special needs; perhaps someone in the Autism Spectrum who is non-verbal, Alzheimer patients, etc. They’re basically for anyone who might wander, find themselves lost; someone who may be vulnerable.

The motivation for iDME was initially a purely selfish one, based on my own experience of being a mom of a young child who, unfortunately, liked to wander. In November 2011 I lost my eldest, then two-and-a-half, at a busy shopping centre. I was paying at the checkout with my ten-month old in the trolley when I looked around and Liam had vanished. We spent at least ten minutes searching for him in the supermarket – when eventually he was found in a nearby café.

This was not the first time he had run off, but it was by far the scariest, so I was determined to buy something to aid being reunited if it ever was to happen again. I went online to buy such a product but I couldn’t find anything I felt was suitable and asked myself why?

At time I had been made redundant and was unemployed for the first time in twenty years. The company I worked for went into liquidation due to the downturn in the economy. I was a stay-at-home mum with two young children (I now have three) and even though I had been applying for work I was having no joy and had been getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities available to me, so I thought, why not? Why not me? Why not now? So, with no entrepreneurial experience – apart from the fire in my belly and my belief that I had something that every parent would ‘get’, I created iDME.

A definite high was making my first sale on our Facebook page before we even had a website! We’ve sold over 20,000 units to date worldwide across six continents. Since then we have gone on to win numerous emerging business and entrepreneurial awards. But it’s the wonderful testimonials, reviews and emails of thanks from our customers; sharing how our iDME wristbands give them peace of mind, that make my day.

*Dee featured in the Local Enterprise Office/The Opinion 'Women in Business' series.