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Why the Launch of New Website Juniper UNLTD is a Very Big Deal

Photograph courtesy of Juniper Unltd.

We caught up with founder Maura Horton to seek out out extra concerning the web site.

“We want to break barriers and stereotypes, we want to open the conversation to many more people,” Maura Horton, the founding father of MagnaReady clothes, tells us over the cellphone about her latest enterprise, Juniper UNLTD, an internet site centered on offering content material, group and commerce to folks with disabilities.

The title Juniper, Horton tells us, is a nod to the Juniper tree which “is the tree of life [which goes] back to the ethos of what we are, an evergreen tree – our messaging, our community are evergreen, this isn’t something that people necessarily grow in and out of so it’s the tree of life and we’re trying to change life.” And UNLTD for the limitless potential of the positioning and its group.

Launched this month, the web site has an e-commerce perform (extra on that in a minute) and in addition acts as a useful resource centre and editorial house. The latter is overseen by Sinéad Burke. “We brought Sinéad in for the content side to make sure we had the right messaging that we wanted to relay to people,” Horton explains. They additionally crowdsource content material from their very own group. “I think where change really happens is from hearing from other people in the community, and so we’re really passionate about uplifting everyone’s voices and having articles and stories written by people in the community who have a great perspective and haven’t necessarily been able to communicate their messages to wide audiences.”

On the model entrance, the web site provides slick objects that wouldn’t look misplaced on some other e-comm platform – they key distinction being that they’re designed with adaptive functions in thoughts. For instance, Horton’s personal line MagnaReady provides a variety of cool clothes for males that options her magnetic closure design for ease. The inspiration for her product got here when her husband, a school soccer coach, who on the age of 48 was identified with early onset Parkinson’s illness, found that after a sport one night time he wasn’t in a position to change out of his garments (now-NFL quarterback Russell Wilson went to assist him that night time). After he advised her the story, Horton got down to discover merchandise that may assist. She got here up brief. “I was disheartened by what I saw visually, what was available was really limited,” she says. So, she made her personal items. “I really wasn’t going to create a company, I was just trying to change his life.” Upon creating the items, she shortly realized the larger demand for the objects nicely past her family and MagnaReady was born. Her husband handed away in 2015 however his legacy lives on within the firm and what its items convey to these for whom adaptive design is so essential.

MagnaReady clothes. Photograph courtesy of Juniper UNLTD.

“Independence is key for all of us,” she says of the significance of adaptive design objects like MagnaReady, earlier than recalling one thing her husband as soon as stated to her. “My husband would say, ‘I don’t want to have to ask you to help me. I know you want to, that’s not the issue, but I want to be able to get up in the morning and not have to struggle with something in the first 15 minutes’ – and that always stuck with me.” She provides that along with the independence that adaptive designs provide, in addition they present “confidence, the ability to complete a task, the ability to wear what you want to wear and not always be relegated to this sub-par product offering because that’s all that’s available to you.”

A key – and incredulous, given we’re in 2020 – instance of the shortage of choices obtainable for these with disabilities is Judith Heumann. Horton tells us she and her group are working with the incapacity rights activist and TIME 100 honouree to develop footwear for her. “She has been wearing the same pair of shoes for 10 years because she cannot find anything else available. As soon as the straps wear out, she has them replaced. That’s just unacceptable. This is the leading disability rights activist in the United States and she can’t find shoes.”

The web site (which has delivery to Canada) at the moment provides items from eight manufacturers, together with sneakers, jewelry and life-style merchandise, and can develop to 20-30 manufacturers by yr’s finish with some thrilling new launches within the works. The classes on web site may also develop from tech, model, house, meals, wellness and care to additionally embrace employment.

juniper unltd
Slick Chicks underwear. Photograph courtesy of Juniper UNLTD.

As for the last word objective of the web site, Horton says that, along with persevering with to construct the group and assets obtainable to them, she hopes to render one facet of the web site now not mandatory. “At the end of the day, we hope that the commerce piece isn’t needed from us because all companies will be doing it on their own, that these products will be available on other websites. Until then, we’re going to keep [delivering these items] and trying to curate it in a fashionable way.”

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