At Cool Crutches, little makes us more excited than a female founded business looking to help women with disabilities feel like themselves, comfortable & confident. So when we connected with Liberare founder Emma Butler we were so excited.
What better way to celebrate Disability Pride than for us to collaborate to give you the chance to WIN a pair of crutches or walking sticks as well as Liberare underwear (if you haven't entered, go for it here). As well as offering you the chance to win, we wanted to share the story behind Liberare and Emma's continued mission to create a more accessible world.
Can you tell us a bit about Liberare?
Liberare creates adaptive bras and underwear that are easy to get on. Life is complicated and our bras should be easy. I started my business when I was 20 after my mum began to live with chronic pain. It began to be difficult to clasp pesky hook-and-eyes on the back of bras or bend over to put on underwear. When we looked for options for her that met her new needs, the only options were ugly and medical. My mum wasn't alone in this struggle. I met other friends with the same chronic illness as my mom and other disabilities. 1 in 5 people live with a disability or chronic illness and we all deserve clothing that is easy to get on and fun!
Where did you learn about underwear design? How did you launch the business?
I moved to Paris from the states to live for a few years to learn from the experts in lingerie in France. I spent many months learning from them exactly how to create the best and most perfect-fitting underwear. I also learned from our head of product Maddie who spent 10 years in NYC designing for prestigious underwear brands. I learned how to launch my business out of a need. I spent many nights in my room reading books on businesses, surrounding myself with the best mentors, and building an incredible team of disabled and non-disabled women.
Comfort, safety and style are 3 things we feel passionately about. How have you incorporated these into your business? How important do you think having all three is when it comes to living with a disability?
We agree comfort, safety, and style are so important and have built these into the foundations of all our products:
- Comfort: Our products are all made with no underwire and extra soft fabric. Having an easy-to-put-on bra is essential, but making sure that it's comfortable all day with no scratching, digging, or poking is absolutely critical, especially for women with D cups and up.
- Safety: Feeling secure in your bra is a must, especially for women with larger breasts. other front-opening bras can pop open or the hooks on the front come undone after a lot of wear and tear. Liberare's bras are made with a 3-way-locking safety catch to make sure no matter how many jumping jacks or somersaults you do, your bra isn't going anywhere.
- Style: There is no feeling like putting on a great bra and underwear that are stylish. You immediately feel powerful. Even if no one sees your underwear but you, there is something so empowering about feeling good for yourself in a great undergarment set. We believe everyone deserves to feel their absolute best. Just because something is functional doesn't mean it can't be beautiful!
How can adaptive underwear help anyone living with a disability and reduced mobility? What is your bestselling design?
Our best-selling design is actually our new Everyday Easy-On Bra! It's only available for pre-order and only launched last month but it's quadrupled the number of bras sold for any other piece! The Everyday Easy-On Bra goes up to a cup G and it has front opening snaps with a full band adjustment for optimal fit. It has no underwire and is maximum comfy. We worked for over 4 years on this bra to make sure it had the perfect fit and comfort. It's front opening snaps (with a magnetic glide) allow wearers with limited hand dexterity to easily pull the bra shut. It's an elegant and simple scoop neck bra for anyone who is tired of fumbling with their bras.
Do you feel adjusting to a disability is supported by society? How could this be better?
There is still so much stigma and taboo around disability. When someone acquires a disability later in life it can difficult to unlearn internalized ableism or thoughts about the disability community. I think the biggest thing we can do is to continue to make the world more accessible, better designed, and easy to navigate. When we create beautiful, universally designed products that benefit everyone, including the disability community, everyone's life is easier and disability becomes less ostracized. I also think we need to continue to bring awareness and amplify disabled voices. The more normalized living with a disability becomes, the less taboo it will be and the better support newly disabled people will have. One thing we find really important is connecting with other disabled and chronically ill people to talk about this complex journey. That's why we started LiberBABES, our online community for disabled women to talk about life with a disability, from disability hacks, to beauty, love, dating and parenting, work and so much more.
Similarly to our crutches and sticks, your underwear has a positive impact on mental as well as physical health. How important do you think tackling both is?
Making sure the garments are easy to get on is critical but it's also just as critical that our customers feel good in their bras and underwear. I saw this play out with my mom. Her physical health was affected by struggling to put on a bra but her mental health was affected when the only options she saw for functional bras were ugly and medical. When you put on beautiful bras and underwear, you truly feel like a new person.You'll feel empowered to tackle anything life throws your way! You feel confident, beautiful and sexy and that's exactly what everyone deserves to feel, no matter what life has thrown at you.
How do businesses like Cool Crutches & Liberare help the disabled and abled community?
Not only do both businesses create products that make life easier for everyone, but we also show the world that even if you are using a mobility aid or wear adaptive underwear, you too are fashionable, stylish, and cool. Our two brands are breaking down barriers and stereotypes about people who use mobility aids and I can't wait for a future of companies like ours creating accessible and beautiful products.
Where are you based? Where can people buy your underwear?
You can buy our bras and underwear on www.liberare.co. I am an American (born and raised outside of Boston) but moved to Paris a few years ago to study how make bras. Our team is in London, Paris and the US. We ship internationally!
What would be the theme tune to your life?
"Run the World (Girls)" by Beyonce
If you could have a dinner party with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
If I could have a dinner party with anyone in the world, I would choose the late Judy Heumann, the disability rights activist. Heumann was a powerful force in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities for over five decades. Her work has been instrumental in changing policies and creating more inclusive communities for people with disabilities all around the world. As a non-disabled disability rights activist, I have always been inspired by Heumann's dedication to creating a more equitable world. Her tireless efforts to break down barriers and ensure that people with disabilities are included and valued have had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals. I would love to express my gratitude for all that she has done to create a more just and inclusive world.
A big thank you to Emma for chatting to us, if you'd like to know more about Liberare check out some helpful links below (including how to enter our epic giveaway - ends 3rd August 2023 6pm GMT):
Visit Liberare's website -https://liberare.co/
Follow Liberare on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/liberare.co/
Enter our competition on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/liberare.co/