Jody Barrett, an aspiring entrepreneur has created a line of quirky hospital wear in hopes that patients and loved ones can have a chuckle during their hospital stays. She has a really interesting story having been inspired to create these quirky gowns by one of her friends who is in and out of the hospital. It has been said that "laughter is the best medicine" and entrepreneur Jody Barrett has taken that concept and turned it into quirky hospital wear that is sure to bring a smile to the faces of your loved ones. Her line, Seriously Funny Gowns offers patients a little humor and brightness to a sometimes-sad situation through its range of decorated hospital gowns.The idea behind Seriously Funny Gowns was developed when Jody visited her close friend Anna in the hospital and they joked about her hospital gown being so depressing. It was there that Jody identified a unique void in the hospital market, and immediately got to work to help make people's hospital experiences better. She continues to be inspired by Anna and has even used her as one of her models.Jody has over 10 years of experience with luxury brands as an Executive Director and has volunteered at numerous New York hospitals and senior facilities including North Shore University Hospital. Focusing on cheery and humorous designs, Seriously Funny Gowns includes traditional hospital gowns, breast cancer treatment tops and mammography tops. Starting at $35, the customized gowns are available in two cotton thread counts, to account for patients varying body temperatures when they are sick or in treatment. You can check out the Seriously Funny Gowns website here: www.seriouslyfunnygowns.com. Examiner.com had the opportunity to chat with Barrett to learn more about her concept. Read the full interview below:
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): How are you?
Jody Barrett: “ I’m doing great. Thanks for asking!"
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): You’re a successful entrepreneur, how did you come up with the idea of “Seriously Funny Gowns?”
Jody Barrett: “It was during a hospital visit to my best friend, Anna. She has battled illness and gone through numerous hospital stays and I wanted to find, or create a distraction to lift her spirits. Her fear of the unknown and loneliness left me struggling with ways to take her mind off her illness. I then noticed her standard green hospital gown and thought a fun, vibrant design may help ease her into a more relaxed state of mind. The mere discussion of the types of designs was enough to distract her, and it was then I knew I had to pursue the vision."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): Did you have any anxiety when you presented this proposal to the manufacturer, Ronnye Sherman?
Jody Barrett: “I had been scouring the U.S. for what seemed like forever. I searched for manufacturers who had the ability to use the types of fabrics I needed to make my vision a reality and I received numerous responses where people didn’t want to be involved, thought it was impossible or that I would have to manufacture overseas. That was until I pitched Ronnye Shamam. There was no anxiety by the time I reached her as I had been rejected so many times already so the call was short and sweet, and I quickly explained that there was nothing in the market like my idea. I talked through my vision of an e commerce site and my manufacturing needs, and heard an unmistakable "aha” followed by an anxious silence. But when she finally spoke, it was to say that she liked it and she wanted to help and she thought it was a great project. The entire call was just 10 minutes, but it was exhilarating because I knew then that my dream would become a reality."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): What about your idea do you think made Sherman jump on board?
Jody Barrett: “Ronnye Shamam had dealt with other special projects where companies tried to reinvent the design of the hospital gown that hadn’t worked out. My business plan attacked hospital gowns from a fresh perspective; the gowns are used as a canvas to create fun designs that then create a distraction. Ronnye saw my vision and was excited at the opportunity to make them a reality. In addition, we have a great synergy that has truly been amazing."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): Using three adjectives how would you describe your gowns?
Jody Barrett: “Funny, cheerful, thoughtful."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): The idea of going to the hospital can be daunting, what has been some of the feedback that you have heard from patients and hospitals?
Jody Barrett: “Patients, friends and families send me photos and emails thanking me for coming up with such a simple yet effective fun gift to help distract patients and change the conversation. They share stories about the extra attention they have received from other patients, visitors, nurses and doctors. We receive inquiries daily from all types of medical facilities as well as individuals wanting to learn more about distribution."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): What is your goal in the next 5 years for Seriously Funny Gowns?
Jody Barrett: “Within the next five years, my brand, Showoff By Design LLC will expand via e-commerce, as we simultaneously branch into other markets including ready-to-wear items for women that will also be re-imagined versions of the ordinary. The goal is to build my brand into a company that will empower through re-imagining."
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): You also cater to breast cancer patients, how empowering is that for woman?
Jody Barrett: “I know too many women who have battled or are batting breast cancer and this is my way of honoring their courage and bravery. Women love the 'Honor a Woman’ Mammography Treatment top with its award design, and the feedback has been amazing. These gowns were definitely designed with love!"
Examiner.com (Anthony Bowles): Lastly, what is next for you and Seriously Funny Gowns?
Jody Barrett: “We are currently working on a line of hospital gowns for younger children. Beyond that, we plan to introduce nurses uniforms. I will continue to build a strong presence on social media in order to not only make valuable connections, but to spread the word that there is a first-ever, fun new gift idea for all patients!"