[In photos: NameBubbles labels on kids' items (photo by Alyssa Watroba); Michelle Brandriss and her son Cooper; and Dr. Richard Kim in his Care Lane practice (photo by Larry Goodwin)].
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Michelle Brandriss devised a simple way to help active kids everywhere prevent the loss of personal items: by sticking her company’s durable name labels on backpacks, clothes, drink containers, or whatever their little hearts desire.
Dr. Richard Kim, a California native, reports that he was so impressed by the Adirondack Park that he decided to transplant his family here as a means to help upstate New Yorkers stay healthy through vigorous activity.
On May 2 in Albany, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) will recognize both Brandriss and Dr. Kim for the commercial success of their ideas. Her popular Ballston Spa company is NameBubbles, while Kim runs Kinetic Sports Medicine on Care Lane in Saratoga Springs.
Local representatives of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Adirondack Trust Company, respectively, nominated the two businesses for that honor.
A total of 14 other Capital Region businesses will be awarded along with NameBubbles and Kinetic Sports Medicine, during the SBA’s Small Business Week luncheon at the Albany Marriott. The event will be emceed by anchor Jim Kambrich of the television news station WNYT.
Brandriss explained how she began printing her NameBubbles labels for kids in 2009 and selling them primarily online. The company “started off very modestly,” she said, “in my basement.”
A career in advertising, which required frequent travel, was seriously cutting into the quality time Brandriss had with her toddler son Cooper and husband David. So she chose to focus instead on building NameBubbles.
At the time, she remembers, it appealed to her how all sorts of “mommy blogs” were being created through which mothers nationwide shared experiences. “The Internet has been a really freeing place,” Brandriss said, where “you can really make things happen.”
By late 2015, her label-printing operation needed to expand into a spacious building on Science Street in Ballston Spa. Brandriss said she plans to utilize the village property—situated on a steep hill behind Saratoga County administrative offices—until she retires.
“We’ve continued to grow. I’ve always had an amazing team of people,” Brandriss said of her 19 employees. “I feel very lucky.”
“New York state is only 10 percent of our business,” Brandriss added. “It’s been fun getting to know parents from all over.”
Kim said Kinetic Sports Medicine, which first opened in 2014, is based on a “long-term vision and goal” that grew out of his medical education in Albany. Today he employs an office manager and a part-time assistant in the effort.
Kim holds several other titles such as team physician of the U.S. Rugby Eagles and Saratoga Rugby Club, and clinical assistant professor in sports medicine at Albany Medical College.
“The job search after sports medicine training left me believing that patients could have a different experience with not just sports medicine, but with regards to maintaining or returning to active lifestyles,” Kim explained in an email.
“The practicing model is very much about prevention being the cure,” Kim said, when asked to describe his business philosophy in general. “Today our society is battling heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc. A key element in preventing or treating these conditions is through activity.”
Kim added that “being innovative, creative, traditional, non-traditional to overcome limitations from activity is essentially where we come in.”
“The Capital Region is now home to me, especially Saratoga,” Kim said. “Not only is the backdrop of the Adirondacks stunning, but my life is well invested and rooted into this region. There are eventual plans to have a presence in other regions but Saratoga will always be home.”