By Miriam Valverde Sun Sentinel.
Inspired by the strength of the premature babies they care for, two Broward Health Medical Center nurses have launched a clothing line that promises to donate one item for every one purchased.
Onesies sold by Luc&Lou feature cheerful and colorful designs made with the footprint of one of the babies the neonatal intensive care unit nurses cared for after her birth at 29 weeks.
Luc&Lou co-founders Amanda Dubin and Kelly Meyer, both 29, said seeing how premies fought for their lives empowered and encouraged them to look for more ways to help, beyond their full-time jobs.
"We were giving back to these little babies, and we wanted to really do it on a larger scale," said Meyer, at the company's Fort Lauderdale headquarters -- her home.
"If they can do what they do, we can do anything," Dubin added.
The $15.95 white onesies, sized newborn to 12 months, feature five designs: a bright yellow sun (tiny footprints are the rays); a football (brown horizontal footprint); a purple butterfly (two footprints side by side), one with the word love (a tiny blue footprint serves as the letter "O"; and a bumblebee (yellow footprint with wings on its sides).
Dubin and Meyer call themselves "entreprenurses," juggling their time as full-time nurses and as entrepreneurs on their time off.
Since launching Luc&Lou in August, they have partnered with national and local organizations, including the Jack & Jill Children's Center in Fort Lauderdale and the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County.
Lisa Egozi, director of development for the Broward coalition, says her group offers "welcome to the world" packages for low-income families with newborns. In addition to diapers and pacifiers, that package now also includes onesies donated by Luc&Lou, Egozi said.
"They're a great group of women," Egozi said of the Luc&Lou founders. "They change lives everyday just by being NICU nurses and here they are now, giving back to the masses."
Jack & Jill, a nonprofit that provides family-oriented child care and other services to low-income, working families in Broward, has received about $400 worth of donations from Luc&Lou, according to the organization.
"A lot of our families are very much in need of new clothing, and things like these onesies help out a lot," said Maddie Camp, marketing coordinator for Jack & Jill Children's Center. "We believe very much in their cause."
So far, Luc&Lou has sold about 400 onesies, and its founders say they hope they're able to sell even more so they can help out more families through their donation program.
"We will always be nurses," Dubin said.
"That's who we are," Meyer added. "But we want to go bigger so we can help more people."