Friday, October 22, 2010

{Annie & Isabel}

Hi everyone! I am SO excited because today's post is a brand new addition to {my favorite things} which I am happy to announce is the fabulous... wait for it... {ANNIE & ISABEL}!!!
I came across this amazing company via Twitter a few months ago and was immediately smitten! Founded by two very savvy MOMprenuers, sisters Anna & Selena, who through their careers as registered nurses, realized there was a desire from patients to have a more dignified (and possibly more stylish!) hospital gown to wear during their stay. As a mom, and someone who has been through a hospital stay, I can concur that the standard issue hospital gown isn't something that will be gracing the cover of Vogue magazine anytime soon.

The Annie & Isabel designs are super chic & way sassy!! I adore "The Susan" which is a funky zebra print accented with hot pink!

AND, how lovely is "The Anita"??

Isn't it fabulous?? I love all of the thought & details put into the designs of these fashion forward hospital gowns!

I am so lucky to have stolen some time from these very busy mama's to interview them all about Annie & Isabel and life as MOMpreneurs! After reading their story I think you'll be just as smitten with them too!

5 Questions with Anna and Selena from {Annie & Isabel}

Uptown Girl: What was the inspiration for starting Annie & Isabel?
Annna & Selena: We are both nurses and we absolutely love what we do! Anna works in the Emergency Department and Selena works in the adult Intensive Care Unit. We have been at the bedside for over 12 years and we have always felt embarrassed as we hand our patients the thin and non-dignified hospital gown to put on. We've always said, once your in the hospital it doesn't matter if you own a fortune 500 company or live on the street... everyone wears the same hospital gown. Have you ever thought about the history of a hospital gown? It is worn by all, stained by many, and washed in harsh chemicals to keep it "clean". This didn't really sink in until we ourselves had to wear these gown for the births of our sons. That was our "ah-HA" moment. Being on the other side of things made it clear to us that we had to give our patients "the stylish alternative to a hospital gown!" Besides being stylish (priorities ladies!!!), we made them out of the highest quality 100% soft cotton, added a pocket, and a full back panel that ties on the side to fully cover your backside... no snaps or ties to peek open when you bend over!! Believe us... we have seen way too many backsides in all of our years!

UG: What were some of the challenges that you faced?
A&S: Our biggest challenge was that we had no experience in the retail and textile world. We could always guide a friend through a medical emergency.. but, had no clue when it came to finding fabric, a pattern maker, and a
manufacturer. With the help of Google and an our amazing manufacture we were able to get up and running!

UG: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super MOMpreneurs?
A&S: "real life"... we forgot what that was... Sometimes we do feel jealous when our girlfriends are meeting for coffee or at the park when we have so much to get done...but, now we feel so complete with such a rewarding product. We find balance by dividing up tasks and helping each other take breaks while the other one is in charge of emails and orders. We have an amazing family who has been so supportive of us and believes in our product just as much as we do!

UG: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?
A&S: Go for it! If you had asked us if we could have started a company years ago, we would have never believed it. We feel honored to be there for people as they undergo chemotherapy, a mastectomy, during a long recovery in the hospital, or on the joyous occasion of welcoming a new life into the world. Every time we receive an email about what a difference our hospital gown made in someones life, it makes every late night of work worth every second.

UG: What is up & coming for Annie & Isabel?
A&S: Being that we just "launched" last April, we have a LOT in store for Annie & Isabel. We will be unveiling our men and children's line in 2011 and have some other surprises up our sleeve as well!

10 Fun & Fab Facts About the Women Behind Annie & Isabel

1. Anna quit her job behind a desk and went back to nursing school with 3 boys and 1 on the way!

2. Selena commutes 3 hours a day (2 days a week) to work at UC San Francisco... ranked #7 in the US News and World Reports best hospitals!

3. Both Selena and Anna went to an all girls high school.

4. They have seen too many naked men and women to count work that is :-)

5. Anna was the jump rope champion of her entire grammar school as a kindergartner!!

6. Most people never guess that Anna & Selena are sisters because they look so different.... or so people say :-)

7. Anna & Selena LOVE their boys. Between the two of them they have their husbands, six boys from the ages of two to twelve, two male dogs, two male rats, a male hamster and a fish that they are sure must be male too :-)

8. Anna & Selena are six years apart in age and weren't too fond of each other growing up as evidenced by the rope Selena placed in the middle of their shared room to separate her area from Anna's but they are THE BEST of friends now.

9. All the gowns are named after influential people in Anna & Selena's lives.

10. While we have named all of our hospital gowns after women in our family who were influential to us....we have also named all of our six boys after influential men in our family that we have looked up to and have been inspired by.