Sunday, November 1

Unusual market niche: clothing for children with disabilities

RAnd 250,000 children in Germany need individual clothing, according to the company, which was founded in Hamburg in 2018, because they have physical characteristics such as ports, probes or stomata.

Laura, the daughter of the founders Sandra and Christian Brunner, has Williams-Beuren syndrome, a non-inherited, incurable genetic defect that often makes her throw up. It is also a bit smaller and has special proportions. Sandra Brunner sewed tops for her.

“Friends and even strangers asked us again and again about Laura’s clothes and whether we would do something like this for other children,” recalls Christian Brunner. This is how the idea for a fashion label came about.

Fabric cleans itself

“Sandra is a trained energy specialist, but did her training in the textile sector,” says her husband, who worked in marketing for years and wrote a doctorate on brand architecture and advertising. Sandra now works full time in the company. So far, the Brunners have no competition.

At the beginning difficulties arose: Because Laura does not have a probe, the measurements had to be adapted to other children. A problem arose with the choice of fabrics, as many children with diseases have very sensitive skin. The decision was made for “wool / silk”.

The fabric from the company Danisch Pur is soft and easy to care for, liquids roll off, and thanks to natural laminin it almost cleans itself.

Hoses are hidden

A physiotherapist is at their side, who makes sure that the clothing offers enough space for the children to move and develop. The clothing ensures safety because hoses are hidden in them and so other children cannot pull on them. Creating the pattern takes a lot of time.

Sewing then only takes half an hour to three quarters of an hour. The Brunners throw little away; the remnants that are left over from a T-shirt are used in smaller items of clothing, for example in scarves and probe pads.

Were you afraid of starting a business and the financial problems that it might bring? “To be honest, we didn’t have any time to think about it. We just did it because we had to, ”says Sandra Brunner. According to their own statements, they sold around 300 products in 2019, from bodysuits to T-shirts, sweaters and dresses to scarves for tracheostomy. Tracheostoma is an access to the windpipe.

Sewing sponsorships

Prices range from 15 to 75 euros. The best-selling products are probe bodies for 60 to 70 euros. Not all parents can afford the clothes. That is why there are sewing sponsorships with which you can give a stranger a body or a T-shirt. According to the company, every fifth product is financed in this way.

The Brunners remember one girl in particular. She had epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic skin disease. The skin is much more sensitive than that of a butterfly; this creates new wounds, blisters and scars almost every day.

The wool-silk fabric and the hidden, non-abrasive seams made everyday life for this child and his parents easier. The aim of the founders is “that our clothing is listed in the medical aids catalog of the statutory health insurance companies”.

The article comes from the School project “Youth and Economy”, which the FAZ organizes together with the Association of German Banks.

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