Fashion Comes To Medical Alerts

By Dirk Perrefort The News-Times, Danbury, Conn.

SOUTHBURY

Local entrepreneur Colette Baptiste-Mombo recently decided to leave an award-winning career in broadcasting to start her own company that produces fashionable medical alert bracelets.

The idea came a few years ago, when Baptiste-Mombo was working the overnight shift at ABC. She was working as a technical manager for Good Morning America when a colleague passed out and fell to the floor. Luckily, a coworker remembered that the man was diabetic.

"It turned out to be a very profound and defining moment in my life," Baptiste-Mombo said.

Shortly after, she left her job, took out some of her retirement savings and established WOW (Warning on Wrist) Enterprises out of her Southbury home.

"This is what women want," she said. "It's something fashionable they can wear on their wrist and it also might save their life. They don't want the bracelets that look more like dog tags."

She officially launched the company in July with a product line that includes medical alert bracelets for men, women and children, including fashion and sports models. The bracelets range in price from $40 for some of the children's bracelets to $175 for the more intricate pieces.

Baptiste-Mombo said she designed each of the bracelets and the products are all handmade.

She also created an alert system that anyone can use without having to sign up with a call center. The system includes a bracelet that, when pressed, will notify up to three preprogrammed phone numbers that the wearer needs assistance. The products are available on her website, www.warningonwrist.com, and soon will be available through Amazon.

Area residents can get their own look at the bracelets at Helen Ainson in Darien from April 30 through May 2 and again on May 8 and 9.

Erica Jensen, whose mother started the first Helen Ainson shop in New York City in the 1940s, said the bracelets were a perfect addition to the unique offerings the store will have on tap for Mother's Day shoppers.

"The bracelets look great and they could be a wonderful gift, particularly for someone who has an older mother who is living alone," Jensen said. "Besides looking nice on your wrist, it can also save your life."

Jensen said they also are offering a unique create-your-own belt buckle bar through the work of a Norwalk artisan who creates buckles out of all sorts of materials.

"If you have something that's sentimental, you can bring it with you so she can incorporate it into the design," Jensen said.

Baptiste-Mombo said she plans on selling the bracelets at a discount during the Darien event. She also hopes to sell the bracelets at other trunk shows held in the area.

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