Being a new parent can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. Parents bring home a little bundle of joy who is completely reliant upon them to provide love, shelter, nourishment and protection. And while prepared to meet the challenge, parents must do so while learning their little one’s cues since he or she cannot yet communicate using language. It is a substantial responsibility that can be intensified by adding the development of food allergies to the mix.
Theresa, owner of Allergy Apparel, is all too aware of this situation. Her oldest son had his first reaction to a food allergen before his first birthday. He was subsequently diagnosed with an allergy to tree nuts and peanuts. And by the time he began preschool, Theresa was looking for ways to safeguard him at school without also creating a situation that would ostracize him from his peers. Her answer to this dilemma was the creation of an apparel line that announced his food allergy but kept the “cool factor.” A skull and cross bones became the signature for the clothing line both because it both appealed to youngsters’ sense of “cool” and also because it is the symbol for poison, which food allergens are to the food allergic. Her ingenuity was a hit and Allergy Apparel was born.
Theresa talked with MKFA about Allergy Apparel’s mission and some of their amazing products.
Providing Allergy Awareness Education the Cool Way
Theresa was inspired by her son’s nut allergies to create Allergy Apparel in 2008. It started out as a simple but trendy t-shirt line but has since grown to offer “the largest selection of allergy product needs.” While some might imagine the skull and cross bones theme might be a bit macabre and frightening to young children, Allergy Apparel has done a wonderful job softening up the image while retaining the message. The symbol is crafted with softer round edges and comes in various pastel colors. The eye sockets are filled in with pastel blue, pink, yellow, red, green or purple, and the pink, purple and green versions are also accompanied by a matching bow positioned just above the skull. The words “No Eggs!” (or another applicable allergen) appear just above the illustration. The result is an image that is equally informative, non-threatening and appealing to youngsters. However, the skull and cross bones illustration is not the only image available in the clothing line.
In addition to clothing and apparel, Allergy Apparel offers parents access to food allergy resources like links to support and advice about food allergies and food allergy issues, an event calendar, a blog, other products that may enrich their lives and much, much more.
Hip Products and Customer Feedback
Allergy Apparel carries more than t-shirts and hoodies that alert to food allergens. It now offers additional “hip apparel” that also helps protect kids with food allergies when away from home in the form of epinephrine carriers, medical ID jewelry and other products. Allergy Apparel also provides books and other materials to raise awareness to food allergies and help educate children, families and their communities.
Epinephrine carriers are the best selling products at Allergy Apparel right now. Currently, the Carry Alls and Pocket Belts are leading the way with customers. What is interesting about some of Allergy Apparel’s clothing is its ingenuity. For instance, the hoodie sweatshirts are manufactured with a built-in pocket designed to hold an epi-pen, fashioned in the same manner you often see jackets and hoodies manufactured to hold a smart phone or MP3 player; it offers greater function without sacrificing form. Theresa said, “I love offering products that help encourage people to keep their epinephrine injectors with them at all times. It’s always a pleasure to receive emails from customers letting me know that they love their purchases and that the feel safer with them.”
Theresa admits she has “a lot of favorite” products; however she is especially fond of products that are created by other food allergy parents. She told MKFA, “A LOT of our products are created by other food allergy parents.”
Hip, Chic and Involved in Allergy Awareness
Theresa and Allergy Apparel remain active in the food allergy community. She said, “Allergy Apparel gives me new avenues to reach people and raise awareness,” which is one of the company’s seminal missions. Theresa also continues to contribute to organizations that not only offer “priceless support,” but that are also involved in research to find cures for food allergies. Theresa recommends FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team), Enjoy Life Foods and the Food Allergy Mama, one of her favorites, as other excellent organizations that advocate for and support the food allergy community.
In the meantime, Theresa enjoys her time working on Allergy Apparel because it gives her “the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of families and communities, educate them and illuminate the public about food allergies while contributing my time and offering a force for change.”
“Allergy Apparel is a true passion for me,” she told MKFA. “It’s important to me to help safeguard others with food allergies. And I appreciate people supporting a mom-owned small business.”
Currently, you can find Allergy Apparel Products at www.allergyapparel.com.
MKFA would like to thank Allergy Apparel for offering FREE shipping to MKFA readers. Simply use the promo code mykidsfoodallergies.com at checkout to receive FREE shipping within the USA.