Whilst writing a blog entry on the theme of how being in my wheelchair makes me feel invisible, I realised that I was far from alone in feeling sidelined and "different" when I became disabled. I thought, "I want something like a t-shirt saying how I feel" and immediately scoured the web looking for something that would feel empowering for disabled people, something that could reflect the reality of who I was, not what I was.
I found surprisingly little artwork, but came across the brilliant Queen Bee in her wheelchair from an image company and purchased a licence to use the image. I asked, without much hope, if the artist could do the same image as a King Bee, and was delighted when he provided one the next day.
We are using the Bees as the start of what we hope will be a positive and empowering collection of clothing, accessories and artwork that disabled kids and adults will love. My talented husband is also working on some designs himself in response to the amazingly positive and thought provoking feedback I had when I showcased the images online.
We are starting with a basic range of clothing and accessories, as well as badges and stickers for wheelchair users. While the designs were developing, we realised that what we wanted to do could in fact extend to anyone who felt 'different' from other people, whether they had physical or mental illnesses, were bullied or excluded or just because they didn't fit in.
From this, we added more designs on this wider theme and the Different range was born!
In addition, we will be donating half of all profits from this collection to chronic illness charities which Sparkly Pretty Things supports, plus one which will be voted for by customers. The remaining half will cover our operating costs.
We really hope you like what you see; please do let us know your thoughts and ideas for new products. We would also be very interested in hearing from artists with ideas for additional images, who would be prepared to licence their use for our collection at a reasonable cost.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.