Today I'm able to post a really interesting story about two Australian entrepreneurs Ben Cutler and Zane Conroy, and their new business Benedict Cutler Clothing Solutions. It's great to see people observe a problem, in this case a lack of appropriate business and formal clothing for people who use wheelchairs, and find a creative solution that will benefit many people.
Zane Conroy and Ben Cutler
When Zane Conroy acquired a spinal cord injury in January 2010 leaving him with quadriplegia he set himself a goal, to return to work by September that year and get on with life. Just before he left the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde he met Ben Cutler who was to be one of his support workers helping him with this goal and day to day activities.
In September when it came time for Zane to return to his office job in Sydney’s CBD he was disappointed to find that the suit he once wore with pride to his job and on formal occasions did not fit in all the wrong places and he was left feeling distressed. “I honestly felt very uncomfortable and even claustrophobic, no matter how I directed my carer to move or adjust the suit, it was choking and too loose at the same time. Not something I could see myself going to work in every day” said Zane.
“I had met Zane only recently but quickly realized he was about as strong willed as they come and so the look of disappointment on his face when his clothes were all frumpy and ill fitting moved me to make some enquires” explained Ben.
Having looked extensively online at available options Ben quickly got in contact with his Uncle John of J.H Cutler bespoke Tailors to see what they could do to help. “Uncle John had fitted some clients who used wheelchairs before and was happy to help alter Zane’s suit so that it looked and fitted as one should”. The alterations were a great success and even incorporated hidden zippers for easy access to personal care equipment, but most importantly they fit well whilst not restricting movement and avoiding pressure areas. After some more enquires into other clothing options, or lack of, Ben has decided, with Zane and in consultation with J. H. Cutler bespoke, to put together a clothing line consisting of not only formal wear but also casual trousers, jeans and jackets.
Launching in April, Benedict Cutler Clothing Solutions will be offering both a personalised and online service to restore clothing and fashion options to those who happen to use wheelchairs and feel that this should not inhibit ones ability to look and feel good in what they wear both to work and in social situations. You can find out more by visiting www.benedictcutler.com.au .