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