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Interview Series: Anna Sjӧberg of AnnaPS Scandinavia

One of our favorite brands of diabetes friendly clothing, is AnnaPS. They design clothing from t-shirts, tank tops, and sports bras, to underwear for men, women, and children that have integrated pockets to carry diabetes devices, thus making life a little bit easier for those living with diabetes! Founder and CEO, Anna Sjӧberg, is a T1D and is a part of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle. I got a chance to chat with her about how she started AnnaPS Scandinavia. Read our interview below!

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Anna! Tell us a little about yourself.

Anna Sjӧberg: Hi Bruna. I am from Sweden, Scandinavia and I have been living with T1D since 1998. I started my insulin pump therapy in 2009 and immediately realized that my insulin pump really disturbed me. I got hooked in the tubing, I dropped it, I needed to use one hand to hold it during a lot of situations, so on. To solve this problem I began designing underwear with integrated pockets for my diabetes devices. Then I began to design tank tops and swimwear for women.

I have two wonderful kids who do a lot of skiing, scouting and soccer, so my husband Per and I are very involved in lot of activities as parents. We live at the coastline in a small town and I really love the nature. I also love to do a lot of sports, and for me it is important to not feel held back by my diabetes.

BP: What drove you to start AnnaPS?

AS: When I designed this underwear with integrated pockets, it really helped me with my pump. The pump became a part of me, and I never had to think about it or get disturbed by it. It was freedom. The pump and the tubing were secured into the pockets and it was easy to put the pump out or back in the pocket when I need it. It was so nice to make it easy to carry, and I started making all kind of clothes, and even bikinis, that were good looking and had pockets in a discrete way. I love to not have to carry any extra diabetes cases or clips.

I think my driving force has always been to make a difference and find solutions. It is me as Engineer.

This feeling became even stronger when I realized I can help others, and make their lives easier. I think those living with diabetes have so many things to think about every day, so it feels great to help others with diabetes. If I can do anything to support life with diabetes and make it a little bit easier, I will do it. When someone says to me, “this was the first night in years I slept all the night thanks to your clothing,” then everything I am working on is worth it. Messages like that make my heart warm.

BP: That’s wonderful Anna! Where did you get the inspiration for your designs?

AS: Of course we are inspired by our nature here in Scandinavia! I love sustainability and to make clothes with a great design and color that always makes the customer feel comfortable. Long-lasting products also means high quality. I also think clothes should give you energy, and this means the fit is adapted to how our bodies are constructed.  To combine this with functionality is our mission.

The pockets are placed to minimize disturbance by the pump. It also has openings from inside and outside of the garments, and makes you feel safe (the pump has to stay in the pocket even when you take the garment off.) Today we have mainly our basic assortment or product offering, but I hope to have opportunities to design more loose fit clothing in the future.

BP: Why should diabetics buy AnnaPS products?

AS: Because the products really solve a big problem for diabetics: how to carry all of the diabetes supplies you always have to bring! And it really minimizes the risk to leave things behind.

When I started to use my own designs with integrated pockets, I really felt how much it helped me to bring all of my diabetes stuff I needed everywhere I went. I put my phone, my blood sugar meter, and my sugar in the pockets (along with the pump). It was really freedom to always have my things close to me.

My mission is to let all diabetics know how much easier their life with diabetes can be when they have the clothing with integrated pockets for their diabetes devices.

We as diabetics need to bring so many things with us wherever we go, that we sometimes risk forgetting something, or have to bring along an extra diabetes bag.

 

BP: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with AnnaPS?

AS: The biggest challenge is reaching all of the diabetics around the world, and growing the business so that we can exist as a brand and develop more products. We are still a small company run by my husband and I. It has also been a challenge to develop clothing with so much inbuilt functionalities that is environmental friendly and high quality.

BP: What has been your most proud moment or achievement with Anna PS?

AS: I am sure it was when I was nominated to the LyfeBulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award! I didn’t win the first prize, but to be a part of this team for three days at the Summit in Copenhagen, and to participate in such inspiring workshops within the field of diabetes made us all feel like winners. It was fantastic! I am really impressed with Lyfebulb for setting up this Innovation Summit and Award together with Novo Nordisk.


You can shop AnnaPS Scandinavia products in the Lyfebulb Market Place!

Follow Anna on Instagram: @annaps_scandinavia

Karin’s Holiday Gift Guide: For Him!

Yesterday I shared with you my favorite gifts for all of the women in your life, but let us not forget the men! I have teamed up with french restaurateur, Jean – who also had three fashion stores called DeNoyer, introducing European pret-a-porter in the United States –  to bring you our top picks for the guys. From menswear to accessories, we’ve got you covered. Check it out below, and hurry, as we’ve only got a week left to get all of this holiday shopping in!

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  1. Napapijri Jacket. Baby it’s cold outside! As the temperatures continue to drop, treat him to a nice jacket. While it is lightweight, it has Thermore EVOdown® insulation which will keep him super warm! ($163)
  2. Hermes Sac a Depeches. Work in style! This classic black calfskin briefcase will become a staple in his everyday life.  ($8,450)
  3. Bleu de Chanel. Hands down my favorite cologne, and Jeans go-to. Every man will love this fresh and woody scent. ($150)
  4. Incotex Navy Blue Pant. We are loving these Incotex pants. They are easy to pair with many outfits and provide the best fit and comfort. A true favorite, plus it’s on sale for 64% off! ($189)
  5. Lionel Messi Barcelona Home Jersey. My father loves Messi, and my sister has lived in Barcelona for nearly 15 years, so we’ve kind of become big Barcelona fans. A jersey is the perfect gift for that sports fan in your life. If you don’t care for Messi, the site has many other players as well! ? ($100)
  6. The Three Crowns Cufflinks. These cufflinks are inspired by the ancient national emblem of the Kingdom of Sweden. The perfect gift to introduce any man to the Swedish culture. We love it because of my family background! ($74)
  7. Happy Socks. Happy socks have always been a Lyfebulb favorite. We even featured it on our diabetic friendly gift guide here. This is a great gift to add a pop of fun to a man’s wardrobe! Plus, we hear in Silicon Valley, the socks make the tech entrepreneur.  ($12)
  8. Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Watch. There is no watch more classic than a Rolex. He will love this luxurious gift, and it will quickly become his go-to statement piece. ($11,850)
  9. Orrefors Sweden Tumbler. For the man who loves his drink. This timeless and simple glass designed by Ingegerd Raman will bring that drink to life. ($43)
  10. Charvet Knit Silk Tie. Every man needs a good knit silk tie, and this is our favorite! The dark red makes it perfect for the holiday and winter season. ($195)
  11. ECCO Hybrid Golf Shoes. Our shoe pick for the golfer in your life! The light moon rock color makes it very versatile, the leather is water resistant, and the shoe is designed for comfort. What more could he ask for! ($160)

Karin’s Holiday Gift Guide: For Her!

The holiday season is here and I love indulging my friends and family with incredible gifts! I’ve curated some of my favorite products, including something for all of the lovely ladies in your life. Enjoy!

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  1. For the prep: Isabel Marant Cable-Knit Sweater.  Cute, cozy, and warm! Sure to be the new staple piece of any woman’s closet. Plus Net-a Porter currently has this sweater 60% off! GO! ($314)
  2. For the bold: Ippolita Mini Lollipop earrings. I love adding a pop of color to my outfits. Especially in the winter, when I resort to black and darker colors. The bold and fun woman in your life will love these earrings! ($650)
  3. For EVERYONE! Valentino Little Black Dress. You can truly never go wrong with a little black dress. Every woman needs one. Right now I’m crushing on this Valentino number, with just the right amount of embellishment around the neck. Wear it with or without a pair of tights! ($1,794)
  4. For the perfume lover: Bond Nuits de Noho Perfume. This perfume is the perfect blend of fruity and musky. The Nuits de Noho girl is bold, fearless, and sexy.  If you are looking for a great perfume, you’ve found it. ($300)
  5. For the fashionista: Hermes Kelly Bag. This is a classic, timeless bag, made famous in 1956 by the Princes of Monaco, Grace Kelly. It is rare and precious. Any fashionista will marvel over this gift. ($8,750)
  6. For the best host: Georg Jensen Champagne Sabre. Every host needs one of these, and this gift is perfect just in time for the New Year! Your friend will just love popping her champagne bottle with this sabre! ($200)
  7. For the jewelry collector: Cartier Juste Un Clou Bracelet. This is anything but ‘just a nail.’ This fine statement piece is a must have in every jewelry lover’s collection. ($6,800)
  8. For the rockstar: Zadig & Voltaire leggings. These leggings are 100% stretch lambskin, and add a bit of edge to every outfit. ($845)
  9. For the beauty buff: NARS Copacabana. It’s all about the highlight! The versatility of this product allows for a little extra shimmer for your eyes, lips, and of course, those cheekbones! Your friend won’t leave the house without it again! ($39)
  10. For the thinker: Smythson ‘Make It Happen’ Notebook. At Lyfebulb, we take notes in our Smythson notebooks all day. We couldn’t live without it! This notebook is the perfect gift for the writer, thinker, scholar, or entrepreneur in your life! ($75)
  11. For the homebody: Three J NYC Pajama Set. This is the softest cotton-flannel pajama set on the market. So cozy she won’t want to get out of these on those lazy Sunday mornings. ($120)
  12. For the shoe-obsessed: Gianvito Rossi Suede Pumps. I’m loving these red suede pumps! They are the perfect shoe to accent any outfit, and the thick heels makes them comfortable for long-wear! They would also go great with the Valentino LDB above! ($675)
  13. For the decor lover: Diptyque Set of Three Candles. Diptyque has long been a Lyfebulb Favorite. This set of three candles has nailed all of the holiday scents: vary from pine to spices, to sweet baking. Any festive home-lovers will appreciate these! ($100)

When You Want To Get Something Done, Give It To A Woman

I have always liked the phrase, when you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. While I still believe that to be true, my life has taught me that it is even better if that person is a woman!

This is not going to be about men bashing at all. In fact, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by many smart, powerful and compassionate men in my life. What I believe it comes down to is consciously choosing to surround yourself with inspiring, competent folks.

In October of 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. As far as cancers goes, it’s not a great one. I mean, none are great, but ovarian does not have a real cure yet. Roughly 21,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year and about 14,000 of these cases result in death. What has changed is the shift from seeing it as a terminal illness to a chronic disease. Doctors do not yet know how to cure it but they are learning how to keep us alive longer.

I went through a CT scan and an ultrasound on a Monday and by Tuesday, my diagnosis was confirmed. Within 24 hours, my girlfriends went to work (along with many men too!). They researched top docs in Chicago, pulled strings and made phone calls. They found friends and family near and far that have lived with ovarian cancer. They tracked the best nutritional regimen for cancer, clothes for chemotherapy comfort, wig shops and dealers. One friend sent me headcovers and made me hats with hair by knitting caps herself. Another friend, kept my house looking beautiful with weekly fresh flowers. They found a woman who lived in my community that could talk me through my initial panic and guide me throughout this terrifying process. They located alternative therapies, massage therapists and support groups. That was all within the first week post diagnosis.

It gets better… Once I received my chemo schedule, a friend of mine put a chemo companion driving schedule together. On and off for 1 year, my friends endured the nearly 3 hour trip to and from the hospital, watched me cry as my port was accessed and managed to make me laugh hard through the worst possible days.

It was very important to me to eat a rather specific diet throughout my treatment. The talented and uber knowledgeable, Susan Taves, of Sweet Casava (www.sweetcassava.com) was hired to cook a few meals a week for me. One of my friends put out an email and in lieu of gifts, the entire community (seriously) donated money to pay for my delicious food.

There is more. Another friend created an email sign up to prepare meals 3 times a week for my sons. Several times a week another busy, talented woman would ring the doorbell around 6 with a seriously delicious meal. I mean like there were no casseroles or frozen dinners for 1 year! My house was filled with a constant flow of amazing, pretty healthy, high quality food. I still feel badly if not all serving dishes and Tupperware have been returned to their rightful owners. If this is you, please feel free to look through my supply.

As a Psychotherapist, professionally, I support and empower women as they navigate very challenging life cycle issues. In some small way, I am honored to give back in any way I can to women experiencing any challenges. To all of you out there in my personal front row, in 1 week you performed with the efficiency and strength of the Israeli army and for that, there will never be enough thank you’s.

It is because of this massive collective of girl power that my dear friend and I were inspired to create our company, Bwell 11 and the Coverage YOU Can Control Philosophy. To all the women out there, we say, who doesn’t want to cover a little something in a bathing suit? We’ve got a great solution, so be sure to check out our products like the Bandtastik™ or Bandiva™ and let us know what you think. They were created by women, who were supported by women, who want to pay it forward and support other women.

Diabetic SPIbelt

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Let’s face it; being diabetic is not a stroll down easy street. One of the most inconvenient things for me dealing with this disease is carrying around so much stuff. Every time I leave my house, I need to bring my medical alert, blood glucose meter, pump, snacks in case my blood sugar drops, back up needles, cannulas, tubing and insulin in case my pump kinks (stops working) along with whatever “regular” items I need for the day. With all of this to carry around; pockets became one of my favorite details in clothing –  but as a guy who likes to dress fashion forward, cargo pants, baggy jeans or bags do not always cut it.  Sometimes, I just want to go out in fitted jeans and a t-shirt for the day without having my pockets bulging with stuff or lugging around a bag.

The designers from SPI (Small Personal Item) Belt must have felt my pain, heard me complaining or seen me walking down the street with pockets stuffed to the brim because this was a life changer! First thing to clear up, this is NOT A FANNY PACK.  It is much smaller and sleeker so you can wear this under your shirt and people will not notice it. Fanny packs are bigger, bulge clothing and close to impossible to wear and look stylish.  The Diabetic SPIbelt expands to a 6”x3”x2” meaning it is small enough to hide, but big enough to fit all of my daily diabetic supplies. The belt also has a pass-through hole for my pump tubing, enabling me to secure everything inside the bag when it is zipped shut.

This belt has become part of my daily wardrobe all day and night long. It has allowed me to play basketball without having to worry about my pump falling out of my pocket or being pulled out by another player. I wear it to sleep so when I wake up in the middle of the night, I no longer have to find my pump to get out of bed. Getting dressed in general has become a million times easier thanks to this belt, as I don’t have to disconnect or set my pump aside when changing pants.

I really cannot express how much more convenient my daily life is since I discovered the SPIbelt. Thank you.

http://www.spibelt.com/products/specialty-spibelt/diabetic-spibelt

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