To mark the beginning of Fall (or just for fun) we thought we'd bring a little diabetes BLING into your lives with a two-part products giveaway, today and next Monday respectively.
That is, while at the recent AADE Conference in Philadelphia, I visited with two companies creating some great new fashionable yet practical products for us PWDs (people with diabetes) -- awesome new carry bags from Myabetic, and a whole new flavor of medical ID jewelry from ChicAlertMedID, both developed by type 1s with backgrounds in the Style Business.
Today, we focus on Myabetic, with an awesome giveaway -- and we'll be visiting with ChicAlert next week.
Myabetic's Bag Bling
I was blown away by the new line of "stylish and functional diabetes supply cases" this company's offering, including custom-made cases for the Tandem t:slim pump and Dexcom G4 CGM. I was super-enthused about the G4 case, because it really is so attractive, with a "flip-top" that is held in place by a magnet when closed and -- something missing in previous cases -- has cut-outs on the side to accommodate charging without removing the cover. I love that! And I like the hard-shell, leather feel, because it seems like it will hold up better than soft fabric covers, which took a beating in this gal's purse, I'll tell you. Myabetic's G4 flip sleeve case currently only comes in black and hot pink, so I chose pink because, well... I couldn't stand another plain black accessory in my life.
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The t:slim covers really rock, too. The "ladies' versions" are offered in pink and patent-leather-black, finished off inside respectively with cheetah print and shiny gold lining -- giving them the "wow" look of a glamorous wallet. There's also a "gents' version" called the t:holster, that holds the pump vertically, comes in black or brown leather, and looks like a man-clip, if I ever saw one.
Speaking of glamorous wallets, I went a little crazy over the new Marie Wallet they're offering. It's one of those "why hasn't anyone done this before?" ideas. It actually combines a ladies' wallet with a really nice diabetes supply case, all-in-one, with several separate compartments including -- get this! -- a detachable velcro pouch specifically intended for used test strips. Hooray! I was amazed that when mine arrived in the mail, I found it came with a detachable shoulder strap. And here I thought I'd never be able to carry just a small, compact party purse again! Yep, I got the shiny gold version. Who could say no to that?
And they've outdone themselves designing cases for kids as well! It was actually the Champ Sports Locker and Love Bug designs that caught my eye and lured me over to their AADE booth in the first place. Champ is supposed to supposed to look like a locker, and has two separate compartments: one with the velcro and mesh pockets for D-supplies, and the other specially designed to hold "additional care items - FRIO cooling case, emergency snacks, log books, a compact sharps container, or other testing items." It also includes an optional detachable strap. Love Bug, for the girls, is a heart-shaped case with two similar compartments. It was so popular for back to school that it's currently sold out, but the company says more will be in stock soon.
Prices range from $24.95 for the Dex G4 flip sleeve to $59.95 for their all-leather Moya Handbag.
The Diabetes Backstory
Los Angeles-based Myabetic was founded by Kyrra Richards, a professional dancer and teacher diagnosed with type 1 in 2007 following a trip to Afghanistan and Qatar to perform at American military bases.
"I grew up dancing in Fremont, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I moved to southern California to attend UCLA's School of Arts and stayed in Los Angeles to pursue a career as a professional dancer. I'm proud that Myabetic is based in this global fashion hub," Kyrra tells us.
We asked her a few more questions to get familiar with how and why she started her business.
DM) What was your original inspiration to make these bags?
KR) After I returned home from a tour in Afghanistan dancing for the troops, I made an emergency doctor's appointment due to an inexplicable thirst. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 24 years old.
I was discouraged by the widely-accepted cold, clinical approach to the medical world. The flimsy, drab glucose meter case that I was now forced to carry did not reflect my energetic lifestyle. So I decided to give diabetes a makeover. I began to design supply cases that a PWD would be proud to use -- colorful, fashion-forward accessories with high-quality fabrics. Today, my company, Myabetic, continues to create diabetes accessories that celebrate diversity and promote health mangaement.
What was the inspiration for your latest designs and fabrics?
Myabetic is known for fashion-forward medical supply cases specifically designed for a diabetes lifestyle — organized compartments, removable waste pockets to allow for easy disposal of used test strips, and features that allow customers to combine personal items (everyday wallet/ diabetes supply kit hybrid).
Over the past year, we've been thrilled to partner with Tandem Diabetes Care and Dexcom to offer custom cases for the t:slim insulin pump and the G4 Platinum CGM. We've designed an exclusive line of cases and accessories for these devices that allow users to easily incorporate these vital tools into daily activities. Choose from athletic armbands, sleeves, holsters, wallets, and colorful plastic cases to personalize and wear your pump or CGM in style!
How many people in your company, and how many have diabetes?
We have six team members in the LA office. Although I'm the token PWD, the Myabetic family is filled with "type 3s" — a caring support system. It's also important that our products are designed from a PWD perspective, so members of the diabetes community play a major role in our product development. We value the passion and spirit of the DOC and continually involve them in the design process through social media interaction, product testing, requests, and feedback. Our accessories are created for and by the diabetes community.
How does Myabetic aim to help PWDs in ways that other bag companies might not?
We recently partnered with Insulin for Life USA to provide much needed supplies to people with diabetes around the world. 80% of people with diabetes in the world don't have access to the medical care and supplies they need, so we're assisting IFL with their mission to help. Each accessory sold includes a request for our Myabetic customers/family to send their extra diabetes supplies to our office for donation. Some products even include a special "Do-Goody" bag to help package your contribution. Many of us have a drawer or shelf (maybe even a whole closet!) full of diabetes supplies, some of which we no longer use (spare meters, unused test strips, etc.). Let's pass on this gift of health. Helping the community at large was an important part of my decision to start this business. Our partnership with IFL is helping us achieve that goal.
'Mine Readers Discount
Kyrra has generously offered a reader promo code for 15% off: enter DMINE at checkout.
Also, you can enter our giveaway below to win a free Myabetic bag! Please read the instructions carefully on this one...
A DMProducts Giveaway
Enticed by the products we just shared? Want one of your own? We're giving away a free bag of your choice to one lucky winner!
Here's how to enter:
This time around, your chance to win involves leaving a comment with an answer to the question:
If you could design yourself a new diabetes supply case, what color (excluding black) would you choose? What special features might it have?
Be sure to include the codeword "DMProducts" somewhere in your comment so we know you're in it to win it ;)
You have until Friday, Sept. 13, at 5 p.m. PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
This contest is open to anyone... So good luck, Bling Fans!
This contest is now closed. Congrats to Julie Schulman from Virginia, who won this week's giveaway!