Meet Julianna Manzi, Founder + CEO of Names for Good, a personalized name bracelet company that donates 100% of proceeds to charities supporting children. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Julianna lived in NYC for a few years until she decided to make her way back home to Boston with her husband, two daughters, and pup Buoy. In 2020 Julianna created Names For Good with a vision of trying to spread a little love and positivity during such a dark time in society.
Our team was fortunate enough to chat with Julianna, walk through her journey being a female entrepreneur, working mom and more.
Where did the inspiration come from to start Names For Good?
Names For Good was born from a deep and genuine desire to spread love and joy in the world, and to be a force for good by improving the lives of children in need.
My first daughter was born premature and spent the first month of her life in a hospital. It was during this time that I found myself seeking a hobby to pass the time as we waited to bring our baby home. I began making beaded name bracelets for friends and family and would mail these out as a way to spread a little happiness during the global pandemic.
After we welcomed our daughter home I had time to reflect on the incredible care and love we received in the hospital and was passionate and inspired to find a meaningful way to give back. As friends started asking to purchase my custom name bracelets and as the demand was seemingly endless, I set up a system whereby all profits I made would be donated to charity.
You started the brand in 2020, it's taken off and only continues to reach new heights. What do you attribute to the success of Names For Good?
I honestly cannot believe the success we’ve had to date and when I stop and ask myself, “HOW?” or “WHY?” we seemingly have been so lucky with our growth, it all goes back to one of my core beliefs: that there is good in everyone. I genuinely believe that our mission and business model has taken off because people feel good when they know they are doing good. In other words, it feels good to buy a product from a business with a mission to be a force for good in the world.
It feels good to know that by purchasing a bracelet you are helping to improve the lives of countless children in need. And because of this, we’ve had tremendous generosity from brands, businesses and individuals who want to help spread our story and be a part of furthering our mission. And finally, I may be biased but I think our bracelets are pretty cute ;) and people love personalized products.
Can you walk us through a day in the life of being a mom and business owner? What are some time management tips you have found to be most helpful?
I currently have a 7 month old, a 2 year old and a very needy (loving!) dog and together these three girls make for a very lively household, along with my husband :). From when I wake up until around 9:30/10am I am with the girls. I don’t typically start work until after 10am most days and then take a pause every afternoon for a long walk with our dog and usually one of our daughters. I make a point of taking this break everyday, going outside and trying to stay off my phone during this time. Then I am back with my girls for dinner, baths, bedtime and again, I try to be very present and not focus on work during this time - though I admittedly would like to be better. I typically do a bit more work before bed and weirdly sometimes am the most productive right before bed (I wake up very early so I try to be asleep by 10pm).
If I had to give one tip… what works well for me in managing the days is that don’t try to do too much all at once. If I try to walk our dog, respond to emails, call a friend, interact with my daughters and eat lunch all at the same time, I may think I am doing it all, but in reality I am shortchanging every one of those things. I try to pick one thing at a time and give all of my attention and energy to whatever that may be.
What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far since starting Names For Good?
This is hard to say. One of the most surreal moments in the last year was being featured on The Today Show and seeing the hosts (Hoda) wear our bracelets everyday. There is no single accomplishment that I would say sticks out but rather it’s the incredibly fulfilling feeling I have every single time we make a donation to a charity that directly results in changing the lives of children in need.
In what ways do you see Names For Good expanding in the future?
There are so so so many ways I see us expanding and continuing to grow this force for good in the world. I think sometimes my mind gets going and I can’t slow down but it’s all very exciting things to come. As I always like to say, we are just getting started…
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business? Is there a piece of advice that has stuck with you along your entrepreneurial journey?
Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
If you could meet one female founder who would it be and why?
Hmmm. This is tough. There are so many. Today it would probably be Aurora James.