Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Products That Empower People With Disabilities”
Guest: Diana Perkins – IncluDesign
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript
Jeffrey (1s):
Well, although everyone welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs, and my name is Jeffrey Davis. We continue to stream daily stories of entrepreneurship leadership and how people are dealing with this economy in real time. And our next guest is Diana Perkins, founder of IncluDesign. Welcome. Thanks for having me now. You’re welcome. Tell us about IncluDesign.

Diana (27s):
Yeah. IncluDesign is a product design firm that focuses on creating products that empower individuals with disabilities. We have a big percentage of the American population. About 26% actually of the global population has one form of disability or another, but they’re largely overlooked by non-disabled designers. So I decided to start a design company that would help address that. Yeah.

Jeffrey (52s):
And give us a little more detail about what your, you know, what’s your service and what you’re doing.

Diana (58s):
Our first product is called the lap snap and it’s a collapsible carry all originally designed for grocery shopping to help wheelchair users. And we just launched on Kickstarter a few weeks ago and we hit our funding goal in just one week. So we will be actually able to produce those very soon. We’re looking forward to, are you associated with any,

Jeffrey (1m 19s):
I don’t like the CA accelerator. I don’t like to call them incubator accelerators or school.

Diana (1m 23s):
Yeah, so I graduated from brown university in 2020. I got degrees in mechanical engineering and industrial design and I participated in Browns B lab accelerator. And then I did mass challenge and the social enterprise greenhouses impact accelerator this summer. Oh, interesting.

Jeffrey (1m 40s):
All good programs and, and helpful. So where do you see the business in the next two years?

Diana (1m 47s):
In the next two years, I’d like to come out with lots of different products for different disabilities, where our first product is focused on wheelchair users, but we’re not exclusively building for that market. We have a couple of different other products in the works for different groups, and I’d like to start being able to partner with other companies who maybe are more established, but don’t know how to go about making their products accessible. Interesting. And let’s

Jeffrey (2m 14s):
Get, get a little bit rewind and let’s go back to your own background. You know, how you got into this, you know, who are you

Diana (2m 23s):
Sure. So I originally got interested in product design for disabled populations by working with the American printing house for the blind in Louisville, Kentucky. They’re the largest producer of braille books and educational aids for blind and visually impaired children. And I worked there as an engineering intern after my freshman year of college. And it was the best internship I ever did. And so when I decided that I wanted to do my capstone project, I went back and I said, they make thousands of products. Surely they’ve got something that needs redesigning. And so I worked with them and then I ended up taking a, at brown on the history of disability justice, which really just cemented for me that this was something that I wanted to dedicate my life to doing.

Jeffrey (3m 7s):
That’s pretty exciting. And what’s that going to say? Is there anyone else in the business with you today?

Diana (3m 15s):
Yeah, so I had a couple of original co-founders who have since moved to the board and they had, you know, other jobs that they had to do, but I have a bunch of great volunteers and interns that have been helping me out lies, Goldstone each on and go to the year and McKayla tennis are some of the biggest helpers in my business that helped me with everything from customer interviews, to manufacturing, to social media, you know, I’m sure with most startups it’s, everybody does a little bit of everything. So we definitely have that going on at inclu. Well,

Jeffrey (3m 46s):
You mentioned Kickstarter and I’m just wondering in terms of funding, I assume you’re not a self-sufficient at this particular point of time. How are you also funding the business right now?

Diana (3m 56s):
It’s been bootstrapped until this point. So we’ve won pitch competitions and grants, stuff like that. Mostly, you know, just a little bit at a time. And this is the first time that we’ve really gotten a big chunk of change or what, to me feels like a big chunk of change, I guess, to a lot of people that you have on your show, probably $10,000. Isn’t a lot, but it’s enough for us to produce the first run of our product. So I’m really, really happy with how well it’s been received. And who are you going to try to sell it to mostly direct to consumer. We are also going to have, we have a soft order for this organization called bridges, which has a store in New York, which has products buy in for people with disabilities. And we’re hoping to also partner with some other organizations to get them out to people like physical therapists, nursing homes, et cetera.

Jeffrey (4m 45s):
And how are you going to do that? You say selling directly or using sales reps, are you doing is via internet? How are you, how are you doing that? Exactly. Yeah.

Diana (4m 53s):
They’re going to be available directly on our website, which is the lap And after the Kickstarter there’ll be available there. So if you want to get one, you can check it out.

Jeffrey (5m 3s):
That’s very interesting. We’ve been speaking with Diana Perkins, a founder of include design. And I’m just wondering again, it’ll give us an idea of some of the other products that you could be developing in the future. Yeah,

Diana (5m 16s):
So the, the next steps are pretty simple. We’re going to make a smaller version of the lap snap for children. And one that is similar with slightly different dimensions and features for those who use a Walker instead of a wheelchair, that’s a much larger market. And then later than that, things that aren’t quite in the works yet, we have some interesting products to do with migraine light sensitivity. And we also have an idea for, do you know, are you familiar with a grabber or a Reacher? You know, I have it as a clamp or you have squeezed handles on one end yet, and you clamp on the other end. So those are really difficult for people who have limited hand mobility or are quadriplegic to use.

Diana (5m 57s):
And so we’re working on how can we make one either electronically or hydraulically or et cetera, so that people who don’t have the ability to do that, squeezing motion can use a rapper to reach things on the floor or higher shelves.

Jeffrey (6m 13s):
Diana, it’s great that you’ve connected with Radio Entrepreneurs. We hope you stay in our network. If someone’s looking for you wants to help you in any way that you’re looking for, how would they find you?

Diana (6m 24s):
Yeah, they can email or check out our website, the lap We’re also on Instagram or Facebook, right? I want

Jeffrey (6m 35s):
To thank you for being on Radio Entrepreneurs today. And I look forward to hearing about your progress as we, as we go through the year. Thanks so much. It’s been great to be here. Thank you. Remind everybody. This is Radio Entrepreneurs. My name is Jeffrey Davis and we can also be found on our website, www. plus all the social links like LinkedIn, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, iTunes, Google podcasts, and Stitcher. We are going to take a break and we’ll be right back after this short break.

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