- What were the main reasons you created your business, Abilitease?
I created Abilitease in 2013 to develop adaptive product solutions for individuals with mobility challenges. At the time I had been injured for over 17 yrs and I saw that there was a lack of accessible tools for individuals like myself that had hand dexterity challenges. I wanted to be as independent as possible with my disability and knew there were products that could be designed to accommodate this. I also didn't feel visible and/or represented in society. Therefore, I wanted to design affordable & aesthetically pleasing products that empowered people with disabilities to venture out into the world with dignity. I also wanted to put adaptive tools on existing products and challenge large name brands to make their products more inclusive and universal in design.
- What have you found to be the biggest challenge as a business owner?
For me it's been trying to wrap my brain around all of the different aspects of running a successful business and executing those tasks (e.g. marketing, manufacturing, budgeting, projections, accounting, packaging, fulfillment, intellectual property, business plan, etc). I get excited about the creative design aspects of what I do, but not necessarily the operations.
- Do you have a motto or words to live by that encourage you on your mission?
I believe the journey and not the finish line is the best part of what Abilitease is all about. Yes I want to grow my business and be financially successful, but it's the people I meet along the way and the lives we change in the process. I also feel that if you lead with your "Why" and truly believe in what you're doing then you'll be successful if you continue on the path.
- How has being someone who uses a wheelchair yourself informed your business decisions?
Being in a wheelchair has in itself been an ongoing research and development journey. Throughout this journey I have learned that there is an incredibly large underserved population that needs access to better affordable & aesthetically pleasing adaptive tools & services. People with disabilities want to be seen and represented in society...they want to normalize disability and have access to more inclusive products. This is difficult because of the lack of accessibility, transportation, financial means, etc. My goal is to create and distribute as many of my products around the world to the people that need them so that they can live full and independent lives.
What's the one best piece of advice you'd offer to other folks who may be thinking of starting their own venture?
Don't be afraid to make mistakes as you try to figure out the magic sauce to running a successful business venture. Putting yourself out there and getting started is the hardest part. As you make mistakes you will learn and the process improves.
- Please share your favorite business success moment to inspire others to reach for their dreams
My biggest success moment to date was the Abilities Expo in Scottsdale, Arizona this past September. It was our first time exhibiting as Abilitease and we came to the expo with very little experience. We didn't know how people were going to feel about our product offerings. For three days our booth was crowded with people that had nothing but positive things to say about our products and the mission. It truly validated what we were doing and that there was a large underserved community that needed these adaptive tools.
Thank you to Mark for sharing his story with us today.
And THAT, I believe, is the definition of making that lemonade :))
Now go on over & take a peek at Mark's excellent product line at
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