When D.C. resident Jennifer Jenkins was suffering through a stomach bug a year and a half ago, she managed to stop throwing up just long enough to call her mom in New Hampshire. Jenkins, 46, was looking for some sympathy. Instead, she got a shopping list.
Start with ginger ale, suggested her mom, Mary Lou, who’s always ready with a fully stocked medicine cabinet and other feel-good supplies. MommaLu — as her daughter calls her — also recommended antacid tablets, eye drops and a powdered vitamin supplement.
But the prescription didn’t do Jenkins much good. She didn’t want to go out in public, and she didn’t want to impose on neighbors or friends by asking them to shop for her.
At some point between heaves, Jenkins was hit by a business idea: “It’d be nice if I could get this all delivered in a convenient pack.”
As soon as she recovered, Jenkins threw herself into researching the delivery market. And last month, she launched MommaLu Remedies (mommalurx.com), which hawks two kinds of care packages: the Sick Sack and the Puke Pack. Each $30 kit consists of a clear carrying case that holds an assortment of over-the-counter products — all recognizable brand names, including Vicks VapoRub, Advil and Kleenex — plus a surprise treat and a game. (“People can be entertained if they’re not feeling well,” Jenkins says.)
For $15, there’s same-day delivery to any address in the District.
“You can’t wait five days for this,” Jenkins says. “Urban professionals don’t have time to be sick.”
Customers elsewhere can buy the packs and have them shipped, and Jenkins would like to broaden her delivery area eventually. But for now, she is focusing on D.C., and in particular, a few populations here that will likely need the service.
Jenkins has been in talks with D.C. hotels about providing or selling the packages to guests. College students also have potential — especially if their parents are like MommaLu, says Jenkins, who notes that the Puke Pack is suitable for hangovers as well as stomach bugs.
“I’m not hoping anyone gets sick, but if they do, I hope I can help them,” she says. Sounds like she’s learned something from MommaLu.