Thirteen years ago, Travis Iverson was in a diving accident which left him a fully dependent, high level quadriplegic. This past December, Travis took home the Accessibility Award at the Celebration of People for developing a new line of clothing for the mobility impaired. While it has been a long and difficult road, Travis’ entrepreneurial drive has really kept him going.
Three years ago, Travis was one of the inaugural participants in Causeway’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) which has since provided support to over fifty clients pursuing self-employment. Over the course of those first fourteen weeks, CEO’s Small Business Consultant Lana Hann worked with Travis to develop a viable business plan for an innovative line of stylish accessible clothing. Lana was also by Travis’ side when he pitched his project at Algonquin College’s Applied Research and Innovation event, where he was chosen out of thirty participants to collaborate with students and professors to develop his venture.
During the course of his rehabilitation, Travis found he was frustrated by clothing available from big brands. The fact is, if you are a wheelchair user, regular clothing just doesn’t cut it. Clothing made from the wrong material, with the wrong cut, can cause pressure ulcers which can lead to being bedridden for an extended period of time and, in extreme cases, death. So Travis’ Iver Fashion clothing line is designed with unique adaptive features and special fabrics to prevent discomfort and friction.
Travis lives in the items he creates. This means he knows not only what will help the nurses and family members assisting the wearer, but also what will look good. Looking sharp has always been important to Travis. In high school he was voted best dressed. In Travis’ experience, when you look stylish it changes the dynamic of your interactions with other people – and as a wheelchair user, you’re looked at quite a lot. As Travis says, “As a minority, it’s even more important to look your best – if you look good and feel good, doors open. People become more receptive.”
Three years after beginning his business plan with Causeway’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity, Travis is currently attempting to secure seed money for inventory and seeking business partners. As Travis explains, “A lot of wonderful people have been a great help bringing this much needed business across the finish line successfully.” He wants to open for business sooner rather than later since he knows first-hand the need for his product. For now, you can read Travis’ story and see some of the design specs at www.iverfashion.com.