Celebrating 17 Years of Business: An Interview with Co Founder Clare

Celebrating 17 Years of Business: An Interview with Co Founder Clare

This month marks 17 years since Cool Crutches was officially started and to celebrate we thought we would get some insight directly from Clare (Co Founder & Amelia's mum) about the last 17 years.  How the business started, how it's going and what drives the duo to keep going.

What inspired you to go from spotting a need and deciding to do something about it yourselves? 

Amelia broke her back in a quad bike accident and was in hospital for a long time.  We were told that she would always need aid to walk.  As time went on, it was clear that she would need crutches permanently.  We were also very aware that this would hamper her lifestyle – finding travel/work etc difficult. I think we all needed to have something positive to focus on, rather than the obvious negatives.  I set about looking for some nice, comfortable, fun crutches because Amelia was only 19 at the time.  I couldn’t find anything so that was an obvious gap in the market.

 Clare & Amelia Co Founders Cool Crutches Mother & Daughter Business

What were the main initial challenges?

The initial challenge was finding the right crutches.  I went to medical exhibitions in Europe and the USA, but eventually found a pair in a beach restaurant in Portugal.  We adapted them to make them more comfortable and also looked into ways of colouring them so they weren’t boring grey.  That took ages!

What do you think you add from the perspective of a parent?

I think I am less ambitious!!  Really, the number one priority is your children and you will do anything to make things happen for them.  I am also much calmer and put things in perspective.  Amelia will most probably disagree!

Co Founder Clare with daughter Amelia on Crutches and Husband Michael using a Walking Stick

What factors did you need to take into account in terms of the design of both the crutches and the sticks? How important do you think to have someone who uses the products and a family member who supports them leading the design?

Design-wise, they need to be comfortable, not give blisters on your hands, and be silent.  NHS crutches click so your privacy is compromised.  That’s quite a big deal.  I think it’s really important to have a family member who uses them permanently – my husband also walks with a stick.  You can’t know really what it’s like otherwise.

How important to you is it to do something that has such a positive impact?

Very very important.  I think that is the very best thing about our business – that we are trying to help those having a tough time.  We get amazing feedback, saying our products have helped not just physically, but mentally too.

Clare Braddell Co Founder Cool Crutches

It's safe to say the business is booming, how do you feel now looking back over the last 17 years?

Absolutely delighted the business is thriving beyond our expectations. We are constantly motivated by the positive feedback and have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of heartwarming messages we have received, expressing gratitude for making them feel better and look better.

It is fantastic to be able to help our customers gain more self-confidence, which is essential for achieving success in all aspects of life and we will continue to work as hard as we can to make a positive impact with everything we do!

To read more about how Cool Crutches was founded, please check out Our Story.