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Some Colorful String and an Idea

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Local moms take home $20,000 prize in national small business contest

By Brian Croc


Colleen Demas, left, and Heidi Cohen, took first prize in the “Bethenny in Your Business’ $20K Giveaway!” after launching their company in 2011.


It started as a simple idea in the summer of 2011 for two friends to make some extra money on the weekends. Now, it has two local moms hammering out paperwork with attorneys to franchise their company across the country.

Heidi Cohen, of Oceanside, and Colleen Demas, of Valley Stream, launched Lanyard Ladies with an initial investment of $500 to purchase string and lanyards, and to mail some fliers out. In November, Lanyard Ladies took first prize and $20,000 in the “Bethenny in Your Business’ $20K Giveaway!” contest on FOX’s daytime talk show “Bethenny.”

Cohen and Demas submitted a Skype video in September to enter the contest and were named as one of three finalists in mid-November. The following week, on Nov. 21, the duo was named as winners. After host Bethenny Frankel announced their win, Cohen and Demas raised their arms in victory and hugged as balloons began to fall.

“It was crazy,” Cohen, a mother of three boys, said of the experience, adding she never thought they would win. Demas, who has two twin boys, said she believed their idea was unique enough that they had a shot to win, but “didn’t think it would happen.”

The two women didn’t know each other prior to working together at a local summer camp in 2011. Cohen, a former courtroom reporter, and Demas, a teacher’s aide in Hewlett, were in charge of the camp’s lanyard and friendship bracelet making station, which was very popular with boys and girls at the camp. They thought it would be smart to offer this summer activity year-round at birthday parties, graduations and religious celebrations.

According to Cohen, the business first started taking off after three months, but within six months it “went crazy” with people looking to book them. They have launched a popular website and put out an instructional DVD and craft kit.

Demas has some experience in managing a retail store, but for the most part, they taught themselves how to operate a small business. They have two other full-time employees and book about six parties per weekend, Cohen said, adding that the month of June is normally the busiest with graduation parties. The Lanyard Ladies typically stay at a party for one hour and do three projects with kids.

The Lanyard Ladies are a Finalist!

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Meet the Finalist in the "Bethenny in your Business $20K Giveaway!


Meet the finalist in the 'Bethenny in Your Business' $20K Giveaway!

After sorting through thousands of Skype video messages, "Bethenny" narrowed it down to three finalists. These businesses have a chance of winning $20,000 to advance their unique business idea. First, they'll come to New York and discuss their businesses live on the show!

The lanyard Ladies Win $20,000!

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The Lanyard Ladies win $20,000 on the Bethenny show for the best small business idea!

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Leap at Hewlett Elementary Ends on  High Note!

The Lunchtime Enrichment Activities Program (aka LEAP) finished a successful season last week with the making of Friendship Bracelets. The Lanyard Ladies, Heidi Cohen and Colleen Demas, volunteered their time over the course of the week and students in all grades had a wonderful learning experience during recess, discovering the many ways to create lanyard and friendship bracelets. It was certainly one of the most popular lunchtime clubs of the year, and we owe a great big thank you to Christine Belluccia, who planned, organized and supervised the 2012-13 LEAP activities for our students. She and her team of volunteers did an amazing job!

New York Metro Parents Article

The Lanyard Ladies, a duo that provides birthday party entertainment, recently opened a Nassau County party location in Mineola. The duo also offers a crafty camp.

The Lanyard Ladies, a traveling lanyard-making birthday party entertainment company has been bringing friendship bracelet and lanyard making to birthday parties in the New York area for years. The duo recently opened a new location in Garden City Park.

After working at a summer camp teaching kids to make friendship and lanyard bracelets, owners Colleen Demas and Heidi Cohen decided to bring the summer to kids all year long at birthday parties. Before they knew it they were booking parties, coming out with craft kits and instructional DVD’s, and were even featured on local news.

“We took an old craft and made it unique, and it’s become very popular,” Cohen says. “We do birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, Sweet 16’s, corporate events, charity events, everything!”

Parties include three full projects and can last an hour when ladies travel, or 90 minutes at the Mineola location. Projects include rainbow key chains, friendship bracelets, and lanyards. The Lanyard Ladies offer four different packages, with add-ons including popcorn, balloons, goodie bags, sign-in boards, and different time intervals.

The new centrally located space allows parties to last longer, and removes the stress of hosting parties at home.

The Lanyard Ladies to be Featured in the Gift Bags for All Award Attendees

The Lanyard Ladies to be Featured in the Gift Bags for All Award Attendees

New York, NY, May 7th, 2013 -  The Lanyard Ladies are a new and upcoming business, founded by Heidi Cohen and Colleen Demas. These two mom’s have hit the entrepreneurial world by storm – they do friendship bracelet and lanyard birthday parties and events. They have become a big success in a short period of time. They have managed to take a very old and loved craft of lanyard and have reinvented it into an amazing business. From across the country, only 30 companies have been chosen by Off the Wall Gifts to be represented in this years 34th Annual Sports Emmy Awards, and will be presented to approximately 900 attendees.

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The Lanyard Ladies at the Emmy's


The Lanyard Ladies Just Opened a Party Room

This Sponsor Can Bring the Party to You or You Can Go to Them

Heidi Cohen and Colleen Demas, otherwise known as The Lanyard Ladies, have just opened a new party room located at 464 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY.  They are a new and unique craft idea for parties and events.  They provide string and lanyard to make hundreds of different designs of bracelets.  They work one-on-one with your guests and give them step-by-step instruction.

The Lanyard Ladies teach various friendship bracelet and lanyard patterns that are fun and easy to make and age appropriate.  You can make a wide variety of crafts including lanyard bookmarks, beaded bracelets, necklaces, rings and anklets.  You can also make zipper pulls that are very popular.  Kids love to hang them on their sweatshirts and backpacks.

The Lanyard Ladies have dozens of bright colors to choose from.  Making friendship and lanyard bracelets brings out the creativity in everyone.  You'll be amazed at what your children can make!

Friendship bracelet and lanyard birthday parties are so much fun!  The Lanyard Ladies have all the materials needed to make hundreds of different bracelets.  They can bring the party to you as they supply a table, benches and dozens of colors of string and lanyard or you can come to their new party room.  Your guests can make as many bracelets as they want.  They also supply fun and exciting goodie bags for all of your guests. This is a unique party idea, there's nothing else like it.  Parents love it because they’re always looking for something different for their kids.  They don’t want to keep doing the same old parties.

Do you want to learn to make friendship bracelets and lanyards but don’t want to wait for a party?  The Lanyard Ladies created a Friendship Bracelet and Lanyard Making Craft Kit and an Instructional DVD for those of you wanting to create the fun experience at home.  You can purchase them online by clicking HERE.

For more information, to purchase the Friendship Bracelet and Lanyard Making Craft Kit and Instructional DVD or to book your party, please call 516-578-2248 or go to the website

The Lanyard Ladies

 crafty approach to the birthday party business

By: Dan O'Regan April 22, 2014 Comments Offon A crafty approach to the birthday party business

COMPANY: The Lanyard Ladies

LOCATION: Garden City Park

LAUNCHED: September 2010

FOUNDERS: Heidi Cohen, Colleen Demas

EMPLOYEES: 4 full-time, 3 part-time

PRODUCT: Craft-centered birthday parties

LAUNCH INVESTMENT: $500, covering supplies


MAJOR CHALLENGES: Marketing and business management


Heidi Cohen and Colleen Demas met in 2010 while running the craft table at a local summer camp. The campers’ favorite activity by far was lanyard-making, and the crafty women quickly recognized a business opportunity.

The idea was to turn lanyard-making into the focal point for children’s birthday parties, and it soon blossomed into The Lanyard Ladies, a craft-party service wherein kids make braided lanyards, friendship bracelets and a host of other takeaways at parties inside homes or third-party facilities, or at the new Lanyard Ladies location in Garden City Park.

Cohen, a former court reporter, said the parties are very popular with both kids and parents and the business, which officially launched after that first summer together, averages about seven parties per week, with party averaging about 20 to 25 children. There are no limits on how big a party can be, she noted, citing a recent YMCA camp reunion where the Lanyard Ladies helped entertain over 200 attendees.

“The parents are in awe of what they’re witnessing, by the fact that you can have kids at a party all sitting completely still and working,” Cohen said. “And these kids love it.”

Cohen and Demas are quick to note the parties are not exclusively for girls. In fact, “we have boys at the parties all the time,” Cohen noted.

“They love to pick out boy colors and team colors,” she said. “We have not had a boy yet who said ‘no.’”

Just as there’s no size restrictions as far as number or party guests, there’s no limit as to where the Lanyard Ladies will travel. Cohen said the crafty co-owners have gone as far as South Jersey and Eastern Connecticut for parties, and will gladly get on a plane – strings and beads and all – if a customer is willing to fly them out.

Their advertising to date, however, has been decidedly local, mostly flyers and word-of-mouth referrals. Cohen said the business usually “gets a party from a party,” since parents of children attending a Lanyard Ladies event often leave impressed.

Demas, who still works as a teaching assistant in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District in addition to running Lanyard Ladies with Cohen, said learning to manage a business has been the No. 1 challenge so far.

But it’s not an impossible task, Demas added, “if you’re organized and you can manage your time well, make your lists and do things each day of the week. That’s how I manage to do both.”

The Lanyard Ladies’ charm has not only caught the attention of kids and parents, but of talk show host Bethenny Frankel. In November, Cohen and Demas were selected out of hundreds of applicants to receive a $20,000 prize from the TV personality’s “Bethenny in Your Business $20K Giveaway.”

They used the money to open their Garden City Park location, and whatever’s left will go into franchising their business, the co-owners noted.

“From the Bethenny show, we’ve gotten about 25 to 30 phone calls from people interested in opening up a Lanyard Ladies store,” Demas said.

The pair recently met with a franchise lawyer and are researching the best methods to franchise their business, which they hope to do by early 2015. They’re also looking to open a Suffolk County location sometime this year, with their eyes set on Huntington, and may not stop there.

“I think to start with, a starting number might be 10 or 20 locations,” Demas said. “We’d like to be all across the United States.”

The Lanyard Ladies make the Newspaper
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