From Accident to Innovation: Our Interview With Cool Crutches

We're excited to bring to you this exclusive interview with the founder of Cool Crutches, a revolutionary brand that has transformed the world of mobility aids. In this interview, we dive into the story behind Cool Crutches, its mission to empower individuals, and the innovative approach it takes towards safety, comfort, and style. Read on to learn more about the journey of this remarkable business and gain insights into its impact on the lives of its customers!

ten crutches lined up in a row outside

Tell us the story behind Cool Crutches. How did you get started?

So in 2005, aged 19, I had a serious accident on a quad bike. I suffered a spinal injury and became partially paralysed from my waist down and permanently reliant on crutches. During my rehab I was given standard hospital crutches but very quickly sadly realised they weren’t suitable. They caused serious blisters that later became infected and physically debilitating. It was then my mum sought to find an alternative and we realised there weren’t any so we decided to design, source and launch Cool Crutches.

Fast forward 17 years and we have a very busy business that sells comfortable, silent, safe walking sticks and crutches in a wide range of colours and prints as well as offering the option to print any design onto them too!

So many people in our LiberBABE community love your products and have nothing but 5-star reviews for how well made and safe they are, but also how cute and fun they are! Can you share your story of how Cool Crutches has helped someone feel more confident or empowered?

After my accident I realised whilst I clearly needed physical support, the mental impact on my health was enormous. Sadly my hospital crutches which had been prescribed as the great white hope for me long term were not only physically causing some debilitating problems but mentally made me feel rubbish.

They clicked so everyone could hear me coming, they hurt my hands so much I dreaded using them (and avoided it as much as possible) and they were a miserable shade of grey - they became a siren for sympathy and intrusive questions about my injury. ‘What have you done to yourself’ and ‘well those are pretty awful, when can you ditch them?’ became questions I encountered nearly every time I went out in public.

By creating something that is not only comfy and silent (so people won’t hear you coming unless you want them to) I was able to use them confidently. But then by adding colours, prints and bespoke designs onto them, they suddenly became a reflection of my personality & style before my injury or disability.

This was HUGE for my confidence. Gone were the intrusive questions and awkward conversations and suddenly I had people saying how cool they were (where the name came from) and asking where I bought them! Now when people ask what to expect from our sticks and crutches it’s easy: compliments and confidence!

We firmly believe sticks and mobility aids of any kind should be like glasses. In the same way you wouldn’t approach a stranger wearing glasses and ask them what’s wrong with their eyes, we are confident our business will help make mobility aids about style, before injury or disability!

Amelia the founder of cool crutches

Tell us a bit more about your products and how you tackle safety, comfort, and style.

So our products are designed with 5 main features in mind:
  1. Moulded handles with a squidgy neoprene grip to ensure no blisters
  2. A clip height adjustment function (not poppers) to ensure silence when walking
  3. A removable full cuff or wrist strap (on sticks) to ensure they won’t crash to the floor when you open a door
  4. Cushioned ferrules (rubber tips) with added grip to ensure no jarring of upper body joints or slipping as you walk
  5. CE / FDA certification to ensure they are extensively tested and approved for long term, medical use meaning you are SAFE
  6. Gorgeous colours and prints to ensure you can choose to reflect your personality and style, before injury or disability

How do you approach designing new products for Cool Crutches, and where do you draw inspiration from?

We ask our customers! So whenever we are thinking about a new design, we often will create two slightly different versions and ask our customers to vote on their favourite so we know we are working with them at all times to create things they love.

Inspiration wise, we engage with our customers a lot and also can usually get an idea of what’s popular via our Bespoke range - this time last year we were receiving hundreds of requests for marble designs and this was when we pitched a couple of designs to our followers on social and customers on email and they voted for what is now one of our bestselling designs ‘Emerald Sky’!

Both Liberare and Cool Crutches are female-founded brands and being a female founder can be really hard! There aren’t as many resources for us. Do you have any advice for new business owners and founders wanting to pursue their dream?

First of all, GO FOR IT! My only regret is not taking the full time plunge sooner and whilst it’s not an easy ride it is an exhilarating one, one that gives you flexibility and one that you will love more than any other job you’ve had.

Support wise, talk to other founders. Look at resources and programmes available for entrepreneurs both through bigger businesses such as banks (I’m currently doing a small business accelerator programme with Natwest in the UK) but also smaller online businesses who create online resources and mentorship (Digital Boost and Enterprise Nation for example are fantastic). With social media and online resources becoming so much more advanced, there is plenty of support available if you’re keen to find it!

Lastly, appreciate mistakes. They are integral to growing your businesses and seeing them as an opportunity to make something better is a learning curve you want to have sooner rather than later. Business really is about problem solving, both in your idea but also running and growing a business, if you can embrace the problems and grow as a result of them you’ll smash it!

How do you see the future of mobility aids evolving in terms of design and functionality?

In the best way! There are already so many new businesses working towards better mobility aids. The world is changing and although we still have a long way to go it’s SO different to when I had my accident. I know we are driving towards incredibly exciting times.

Mobility aids of all kinds will be cool. They will be about style across the board and they will evolve to allow anyone who needs them to do anything they want to with them. As more businesses involve people with disabilities, and more people with disabilities set up businesses, we will see an explosion of design and functionality focused on maximising productivity and happiness of the 15% of the population living with disabilities. We haven’t even scratched the surface!

What's the biggest challenge you've faced in running Cool Crutches, and how did you overcome it?

International expansion has been our biggest hurdle, we launched a warehouse in the US in 2012 but unfortunately it didn’t work without us being there to run. We sadly had to pull everything back into the UK as a result but of course, still ship internationally which is great, and even better now we can manage it ourselves!

What’s next for Cool Crutches?

We are currently developing some new products which is very exciting, I can’t say too much but worth signing up to our newsletter as the first is due to launch in September!!
To shop Cool Crutches, click this link
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