The story of Izzy Wheels is a personal one that has seen a college project become a global brand. Izzy, who has spina bifida, regards her wheelchair as a symbol of freedom but felt it never expressed her bubbly personality. So when Ailbhe, who was studying design in NCAD, chose to design removable wheel covers in the exuberant style her sister loved, Izzy was thrilled.
Overnight, what started as a ‘kitchen’ company went viral on Instagram and business exploded. Today Izzy Wheels sells to over 35 countries and collaborates with designers across the globe. It’s also featured in some of the world’s biggest publications including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, TechCrunch and Oprah Magazine.
The sisters’ success shows what can happen when your business is driven not just by innovation but an unshakeable sense of purpose that brings a level of brand integrity that is compelling – and enviable.
In their keynotes, the sisters speak about many things. Successfully combining art with business, as a design company they’re selective about collaborators; the art is respected because the customer is too. In terms of e-commerce innovation, Izzy Wheels shows that you can market successfully with almost no money not only because your product is unique but because what you post is likable, shareable and, above all, real.
These are also young women – entrepreneurs – who are helping to break down the stigma of disability by bringing attention to the personality in the wheelchair instead of the wheelchair itself. And they do so seamlessly, partly because they love what they do, but also because it makes business sense to tap into a market whose potential many others overlook.
As a duo, Ailbhe and Izzy are warm, confident and inspiring. Audiences who hear them speak leave feeling motivated and energized. Recently, they became the first Irish people asked to take over Instagram's official story which had a reach of over 250 million people.