She is the creator of Seez It labels, which are velcro tags so far designed for purses and diaper bags that make it easier to find lipstick, baby bottles, cell phones and other items in a hurry.
“You can take two seconds to file your glasses or your keys into the right pocket with a label, saving 15 minutes of confusion,” Strauss said in a recent interview.
“A diaper bag goes from mother, father, grandma, babysitter,” which leads to disorganization, Strauss said, adding that “it kind of acts like a double-check to make sure that nothing's forgotten for the baby.”
While designing and marketing labels has been successful – Strauss won first place in the Queens Economic Development's StartUp! Business Challenge – the idea for the product came from a less positive experience.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Strauss began visiting New York when her boss decided he didn't like coming to the city on business trips.
She eventually moved to Queens in 1991 to pursue a love interest and worked temporarily on Wall Street. Several years later, Strauss was diagnosed with breast cancer, and needed chemotherapy treatments.
“There's a thing called 'chemo-brain',” she said, “you can't remember things.”
She was shopping for Easter dinner groceries when a clerk demanded that she pay using a store card, which she couldn't find in her purse.
Strauss offered a check, cash and a credit card, but the clerk wouldn't budge, despite the fact that she displayed multiple signs of a chemotherapy patient, she said.
Strauss became stressed and eventually dumped all of the contents in her purse onto the conveyor belt, found the card, and then went home feeling embarrassed and hurt.
“So then I came up with this idea of using the velcro labels,” she said, “I could move them around if I wanted and move them from purse to purse.”
Strauss, who calls herself a “boom-a-preneur” for being a baby-boomer and an entrepreneur, decided to take her idea to the next level.
“Then I thought other people could use them too, because they're going through chemo or Alzheimer's or senior moments,” she said.
So Strauss linked up with a fellow entrepreneur who makes erase-able labels, who now serves as her mentor, and found a company in Arkansas to manufacture her machine-washable labels.
Next, with her company Addicks Enterprises LLC, Strauss is developing new products to come out in the fall, including a kit of velcro labels for travel bags, which would include two blank labels, and another set of all blank labels to use to organize craft bins, bookshelves or anything else around the house.
While she is currently revamping her Web site, Seez It labels are available on Amazon.com. Addicks Enterprises will also have a booth at the ENK International Children’s Club Show at Pier 94 in Manhattan from August 5-7.