Julianna Manzi
Founder & CEO, Names For Good

What was the genesis for Names for Good? 

Names For Good was born from a deep and genuine desire to spread love, joy, and to be a force for good in the world. My daughter, Belle, was born premature and spent the first month of her life in a hospital. It was during this time that I found myself seeking a hobby to pass the time as we waited to bring our baby home. I started making beaded name bracelets for friends and family as a way to spread a little bit of happiness during a global pandemic.

After we welcomed Belle home, I had time to reflect on the incredible care and love we received in the hospital. I became passionate and inspired to find a meaningful way to give back. More and more friends started asking to purchase the custom name bracelets I had been making, and as the demand was seemingly endless, I set up a system such that 100% of profit from bracelet sales would be donated to charity.

To this day, we still donate 100% of our profit to charity and everything we do is rooted in our mission to be a force for good in the world.

What has surprised you the most about creating this business?

The willingness and desire of people to help us in our mission to give back to those in need. When I stop and ask myself, “how?” or “why?” our business has been so fortunate with our journey and growth thus far, it all goes back to one of my core beliefs: there is good in everyone. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised and moved by the tremendous generosity from countless individuals, brands, businesses and organizations who have been hugely instrumental in helping spread our story and playing a role in furthering our mission.

What were you doing before this business got started? How did that prepare you - or perhaps not prepare you - for what this business requires of you?

Prior to becoming a mom and starting Names For Good, I was an attorney at a big corporate law firm in New York. I can’t say it really prepared me for the role I’m in now at Names For Good, but it definitely helped me to be hyper detail-oriented, organized and quick to respond to situations that need my attention.

What are the most fun and most challenging parts of motherhood, in your experience?

Ahhh! Such a difficult question. I could go on and on about this topic but I won’t :). I think the most fun part is witnessing the evolution and development of my girls’ emotions, personalities, wants, desires, and dreams. They are at an age where every day they learn a new skill, say something brilliant, funny, shocking, amazing; they are total sponges of their environments and are just rapidly evolving. Watching their personalities come to life and seeing the world through their eyes is truly remarkable. I think the hardest part for me is trying to stay present. I get so worried that I am going to miss the moments that I am actually missing the moments because I am worried about missing the moment. Does that make sense? Haha. It’s hard to put into words but I feel pressure to be there for everything, when in reality, that’s just not feasible nor is it practical or healthy for any of us.

When it comes to both business and giving back, what are you most eager to teach your children?

My only wish for my children is that they live a life full of self-love, joy and happiness. From that, I believe that kindness and love toward others and a spirit of giving back will flow in a natural way. Ultimately, it’s up to them to take those steps when they are ready. That said, I will always try to teach them ways in which they can make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate, so that when they feel a calling they can take action. But again, it’s up to them to take those steps when they are ready. I had a proud mom moment the other day when Belle told me she wanted to give away some of her toys to “kids who don’t have toys”. I had mentioned to her how lucky she was to have so many games, puzzles, crafts and stuffed animals and that some kids don’t have any toys at all. She sat with this information for a couple of days and later told me her desire to give away a few of her own toys. Needless to say, I was deeply touched to see how even a 26 month old has the capacity in her heart to want to help others and spread love in the world.

What is the next frontier for Names for Good?

There are a lot of fun things in the works! Our Custom Name Bracelets will always be the core of our business but stay tuned for lots more exciting products beyond bracelets – hint: they all will still be custom and include names :).

Given that you’ve had the occasion to be so generous in the context of this new venture, have you learned a lot about how to evaluate where and how to give philanthropically?

Yes! It’s been very informative to work with so many wonderful organizations. There are many databases that have helped guide decisions when we are exploring / vetting charities to work with or donate to. I’ve met many incredible people doing meaningful work to help improve the lives of children around the world. I take it very seriously when learning about the various issues our country and world is facing and if I’m being honest, it can weigh very heavily on my heart at times. There are days when I feel like nothing will ever be enough to heal all the pain and suffering in the world. But then I am reminded that if we all just do our own little part to make a difference, real change is possible.

What charities are closest to your heart? What are some that you’ve discovered / become acquainted with that you’re eager to support in an increasing way?

Boston is my home and also home to the NICU where Belle spent the first month of her life, so the NICU at Brigham Women’s Hospital holds a very special place in my heart. As does Boston Children’s Hospital and The Home for Little Wanderers - a charity I have worked with for several years. A couple of other charities I love and that I’ve discovered as a result of starting Names For Good include VOW For Girls and One Simple Wish.

What would you like to share about your experience that you think could help others who are starting a mission-driven business or organization?

I believe the most important thing is to be true to yourself. From day one I made a conscious decision to have this business be rooted in giving back. I had no idea where things would go from there but as we’ve grown we have stayed true to this core value. I would say to anyone looking to start a mission driven business – be clear in your goals - no matter how big or small. I believe if you have the right intentions that are coming from a pure mind and heart, you can manifest anything!

Shop Julianna's LookTiered Sleeveless Dress