Kyrra Richards, who has type 1 diabetes, has transformed her desire for a stylish diabetes carrying case into a thriving business. Her sense of style has struck a chord with a large audience, including a company that is working with her to customize her line to its pump. It’s been several years since Diabetes Health interviewed Kyrra at an AADE conference (http://www.diabeteshealth.com/tv/play/182.html). I spoke to her recently to catch up and see how things were going.
Nadia: Carrying cases often look like first aid kits, but yours do not. Has your educational background influenced your eye for design?
Kyrra: I studied art in college, but I couldn’t have guessed that my UCLA arts background would be applied to medical accessories. But that’s part of the fun: applying creativity to otherwise dreary situations. Because I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the abnormally old age of 24, I was able to view my new lifestyle from a unique perspective. I used my love of color, design, and imagery to give diabetes management a fresh new look.
Nadia: What motivated you to design a line of carrying cases for people with diabetes?
Kyrra: I became depressed after my diagnosis. I felt as though I had lost my identity as an active, spirited young woman. I had been thrown into a clinical and regimented world and feared that I would be defined by a negative stigma. I would often “forget” to carry my diabetes supplies or hide my testing tools under the table to avoid attracting attention.
I needed a change. My attitude was mentally and physically harmful. I had to find a way to accept my diagnosis and embrace diabetes as just a part of my life. I wanted my daily diabetes care to reflect my own individuality. I began designing fun, fashionable, and functional supply cases for my blood glucose meter, test strips, lancets, and other tools so that I could add my own style to my health management. I wanted to give diabetes a well-needed makeover, so I started Myabetic to offer the diabetes community unique accessory options.
Nadia: You have three different lines of carrying cases. Which case is your most popular item?
Kyrra: We create Myabetic accessories for men, women, and children. Although both our Champ Sports Locker and our Love Bug heart/butterfly cases are loved by children and parents (and those who are big kids themselves), our Banting and Xpress wallets are our most popular items. Most people with diabetes carry tattered, thin nylon cases supplied by their glucose meter companies. Our Myabetic wallets in various colors and fabrics are premium versions with space for cash and credit cards. They have multiple pockets that fit most meters, lancing devices, lancets, and test strips. They also contain removable waste pouches so that those pesky used test strips don’t float around your pocket or bag.
Nadia: Do you have a carrying case for people who use an insulin pump? And what about carrying insulin?
Kyrra: Many of our cases are designed to fit pump supplies. The Moya purse, Cole, and children’s products are larger and hold more items, but most of our products are designed to hold daily needs for customers either on or off a pump. Our signature velcro flap pockets fit the PDM, and we offer cooling products on the Myabetic website that fit into most cases.
Nadia: You now have a strategic alliance with Tandem to design special carrying cases for its new pump. Tell me about that.
Kyrra: We are excited to offer accessories for Tandem Diabetes Care. Myabetic has designed exclusive items for the t:slim insulin pump that will allow consumers to fashionably wear and integrate the insulin pump into a modern lifestyle. It’s coming soon—be on the lookout!
Nadia: For our readers who would like to buy one of your carrying cases, can you offer a Diabetes Health promotional price?
Kyrra: Absolutely! We are offering a 15 percent discount to readers who use the code DHEALTH during checkout on www.myabetic.com.
Nadia: Thank you, Kyra. I am sure that our readers will appreciate the incentive.
Kyrra: Our pleasure. We want to offer diabetes style to our wonderful community and continue the diabetes makeover