Company creates personalized CDs for children

Candace Alper’s daughter, Hannah, was the inspiration for her company Name Your Tune.


“I’ve been been fortunate in that I’ve been able to bring everything that I’ve learned and everything that I do together in one thing.”

Candace Alper was fresh out of teacher’s college when she discovered that, like many college graduates, pickings in her field were slim if she wanted to stay in Toronto.

“I did what I think many new teachers do when they can’t find a job,” she says. “You do what you know. So I was working in retail.”

While working in at the Gap, Alper put her skills to use by developing a new training curriculum, and later worked at a smaller store where she was doing public relations as well as sales. It came in handy when, four years ago, Alper launched Name Your Tune, a recording company which creates personalized CDs for kids.

Customers send Alper their child’s name, along with pronunciation, and “we go into the recording studio and sing sing sing, so that every song is about them,” she says.

The idea came from her daughter, Hannah. “I’d be at the park and she’d be on a swing and I’d be singing her a song and I would just start throwing her name in there to keep her attention and it always made her smile.”

The CDs include standards such as Wheels On The Bus and Old McDonald Had A Farm, plus an instrumental lullaby. They’re surprisingly affordable – $20 each.

The company has won the iParenting Media Award for Outstanding Product in 2006, and Alper has been nominated for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007.

Name Your Tune also sells a number of other personalized items, including My Woodness Me, a line of personalized wood products including stools, tables and coat racks designed by her husband’s cousin, personalized blankets, personalized jewelry and even personalized books designed by friends and colleagues.

But Alper, now 34, continues to produce the CDs, in addition to handling sales for all products.

“I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to bring everything that I’ve learned and everything that I do together in one thing,” she says.

She’s had some fairly high-profile testimonials, including Eric McCormack and Debra Messing from TV’s Will & Grace and CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien, who ended up ordering CDs for every kid on her Christmas shopping list.

“She actually gave Name Your Tune CDs to Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as gifts when they had kids,” Alper says. “She’s a big champion of mine.”

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