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How it all got started …….
In 1997 Tom & Diane Doyle were living in Evanston, IL. They had a family of 7 children ranging in size from a freshman in college to a first grader. Like most American families the kids were very “active” and their parents were going crazy. The kids played hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, danced, sang, played in orchestras and Tom and Di were at their wits’ end. Too many kids going in too many different directions and all at the same time.
Original Bag Tags Team – Fall 1997
Then they discovered swimming. Finally, there was one sport where all the kids could practice and compete at the same place, at the same time and all come home clean! It was life changing. The entire family dove into the sport of swimming. Tom and Diane had clean kids and they all learned a great life skill.
Meanwhile, Tom decided to help on the local swim club’s board of directors. One day, the club’s Head Swim Coach asked the board if he could have the budget to make up some small tags for the athletes. The tags would display the Time Standards goals for the competitive swimmers. Tom volunteered to assist the coach in getting the tags made for the kids. Tom made the tags, gave them to the coach and the kids attached them to their bags. The swimmers attached the tags to their swim bags with zip-ties and the idea of “Bag Tags, Inc.” was afloat.
The original 4” x 7” laminated time standards tags used by the Wildkit Swim Organization in 1997
Tom & Diane thought that other smart swim coaches might like a similar tag for their swimmers and decided to test the market with a sample mailing to all 2,500 swim clubs under the authority of USA Swimming. With a little help from a lawyer friend Tom scratched out a business plan, recruited the support of his wife Diane and together they formed Bag Tags, Inc. USA Swimming offered a licensing agreement to Bag Tags, Inc for the Time Standards Tags and the journey began.
Tom & Diane quickly realized from immediate feedback from their seven kids that the clunky 4”x 7” orange and blue tags were not the way to go. They set out to create something that their “focus group” might like and would be happy to attach to their bags. They decided to make the tags smaller and more attractive. They ran an “images contest” at a local art college and created what they thought was a pretty cool, attractive, “fine-art,” Time Standards Tag.
Here are a couple of the Time Standards Tags from the mailing in the winter of 1998.
The company was born at the dining room table with everyone in the family stuffing envelopes, attaching labels, stamps and yes even licking and sealing those envelopes. The product was embraced and purchased by swim coaches and swim clubs across North America. It wasn’t a tidal wave, but it was enough to keep nurturing the idea of delivering a practical product for amateur athletic events.
Little by little the family plugged away at creating and delivering a high-quality product with great success coming from USA Swimming and its affiliated swim clubs. The Time Standards Tags evolved into Event Credentials, Luggage Tags and Custom Lanyards.
Many years later, the Doyle family still owns and operates Bag Tags, Inc. The young kids now run all the day-to-day operations along with a wonderful staff of other highly talented and motivated employees. Bag Tags Inc still produces the Time Standards Tags but in addition to that unique product it produces and delivers the highest quality Event Credentials available in the world, fantastic custom Luggage Tags and it supplies great custom Lanyards you may see when one of our customers “shows their tag!”
Bag Tags, Inc is in the Event Communication Business. It is our passion to get your message across to your audience through the use of this very practical product. We passionately believe that every product we produce whether it is a Luggage Tag, an Event Credential or a Customized Lanyard tells your story the way you want it told.