While searching for food allergy awareness materials that are targeted to boys, I ran across the Captain Jack’s Peanut-Free Pirates site. The founder is an enthusiastic, new food allergy mom that has created a peanut allergy book and food allergy awareness gear for her son and now others to wear and use. I had the opportunity to ask Sarah Prye, the founder of Captain Jack’s Pirates site, some questions about her business and food allergy focus.
I see that your son’s peanut allergy prompted the start of your Peanut Free Pirate business. Since your son was just diagnosed in January 2012, how did you get a business up and running so quickly?
Actually, the name Captain Jacks Peanut-Free Pirates did not even come into fruition until August 22, 2012 when I decided to sign up and participate in the Strides for Safe Kids walk by Kids With Food Allergies. We needed a team name and I wanted something that would inspire my son, Jack. Hes four years old and obsessed with pirates, so it seemed perfect.
Jack was so inspired by his new role as Captain Jack, leader of the Peanut-Free Pirates that he asked me to make t-shirts for him. So I did. I designed a Peanut-Free Pirate logo that I knew he would love, something he would think was cool and would have a large peanut and crossbones. He absolutely loved it, knew immediately what it meant, and wanted to wear it everywhere to show off to his friends and teachers. Score for this food-allergic mother!
Because our friends and family were so supportive of our new Peanut-Free Pirate crew, we ended up as the top fundraising team for the Strides for Safe Kids walk and the response to our theme and spirit was amazing. I was so inspired by the comments and reactions to our Peanut-Free Pirates theme that I wrote a childrens book “Food Allergies On the High Seas” for my son the following week. The book includes an introduction to Captain Jack, touches on his food allergies and then gives the ten rules of the Peanut-Free Pirate code. He took the book to school and the teachers held small group sessions with the entire preschool class. Now his friends knew about his food allergies and learned this Peanut-Free Pirate code, which taught them how to keep him safe. Another score for FA mom!
Does your son wear the Pirate Gear on vacations for awareness purposes? Do you have any stories to share regarding this?
He does wear his Peanut-Free Pirate gear and sometimes we even wear it as a group, which is really incredible for food allergy awareness. The bright red shirts with the high contrast black and white graphic really stand out, so it draws attention. And who doesn’t love pirates? Adults will usually lean down to tell Jack they love his shirt and then he proceeds to point out that its the Peanut-Free Pirates, and I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds.
We just returned from a week in Disney World, where we wore our shirts throughout the parks as a group of five. We handed out stickers and cards anytime someone asked us about the shirts. We met many parents of food allergic children, plus many more who knew of someone. Were a positive and friendly group of Peanut-Free Pirates just looking to grow bigger and make sure everyone on the high seas knows about food allergies. The best way to do that is to make ourselves known and talk about it as much as we can!
You have items for the girls too. What percentage of pirate gear versus princess pirate gear do you sell?
Its been about 2/3 Peanut-Free Pirates and 1/3 Pirate Princess. This theme definitely attracts the boys, but we know firsthand that little girls love pirates, too. (Our almost three-year old daughter is obsessed.) Its an exclusive band of Peanut-Free Pirates that includes both boys and girls and gives them something fun to buzz about on their level. Its such a great thing for food allergy awareness with children. And lets face it, most parents get a kick out of speak’in a little pirate with the kiddos!
In the next article, Sarah will address age appropriateness of her gear and book, her most popular item, and the biggest challenges facing food allergy mothers. Click on subscribe to be alerted when this continuation is written.
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