Member Spotlight: Dr. Brandy Archie
Founder of AccessAble Living
AccessAble Living uses adaptive equipment to create accessibility everywhere! From custom wheelchair evaluation to bed rails, and bathroom safety equipment to low vision tools our qualified occupational therapy practitioners who specialize in home safety and low vision are sure to assist in your client or loved one in being safe at home.
AskSamie is combining tech and clinical knowledge as occupational therapists to create accessibility equipment and service recommendations tailored to each person’s disability and environment because we believe accessibility should be a right, not a privilege. Give us a few details and we’ll give you a personalized set of products made to meet your clients or loved ones’ needs. Just AskSamie!
Dr. Brandy Archie is a 2021 Kitty Fund Grant Recipients
Can you please introduce yourself and your business and the date it was founded?
My name is Dr. Brandy Archie, and I am an occupational therapist. I run a business called AccessAble Living, which specializes in providing adaptive equipment to help people age in place comfortably. Our focus is on ensuring that our clients have the right tools and equipment in their homes to support their daily activities. I launched the business in 2017, and it has been thriving for the past five years.
What inspired you to start your own business?
As an occupational therapist, my career has been dedicated to helping people achieve maximum independence. This is the primary goal of occupational therapy, and it manifests differently depending on the population being served and the particular setting in which one practices. In my case, I work primarily with adults, many of whom have conditions or diagnoses that are not curable and will worsen over time. As a therapist, I am tasked with helping these individuals maintain their independence despite their limitations.
To accomplish this, I use a variety of techniques, such as modifying the environment and utilizing specialized equipment. By making the home or workplace more accessible, we can improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, insurance coverage for these services is often lacking, which can make it difficult for people to get the help they need.
In the past, I found myself spending a significant amount of time outside of my normal work day connecting patients with equipment and contractors. This wasn’t an effective use of my time, nor was it sustainable. So, I realized that the problem needed to be addressed on a broader scale. That’s when I decided to create an accessible resource for others in my field. Now, with AccessAble Living, we can focus on being experts in the available products and modifications that work best for specific situations. By doing so, we can take the burden off clinicians and ensure that people with disabilities receive the assistance they need to live full and independent lives.
How has your identity as a Mother business owner impacted your journey so far?
In 2017, I started my business while six months pregnant. I gave birth to my first child in June of that year, which made becoming a mother and starting a business a challenging experience. However, it also shaped the way I think about business. Although starting a business can be difficult, it allowed me to have a flexible schedule and balance my responsibilities as a mother. I didn’t immediately jump into starting my own business, but it has worked well for me now that I have three children and work full-time in my business. Being a mother has made me more empathetic towards my employees and their challenges, as I understand how difficult it can be to manage both family and work responsibilities. Overall, motherhood and entrepreneurship are intertwined for me, as they both began around the same time.
Can you share any challenges you have faced as a business owner and how you have overcome them?
I believe a huge challenge for small business owners is being seen as legitimate and strong. Initially, I felt self-conscious about our operating hours and the fact that my children may be in the background when I answered the phone. However, I now see these as benefits and part of what sets us apart. While we may have limited phone hours, we prioritize prompt communication and solving problems for our clients. As a mother with young children, starting a business was a challenge that we turned into an asset.
As a grant recipient, how did you use the grant funds to take your business to the next level?
As a grant recipient for the Kitty Fund last year, we used the funds to start our newest venture called AskSamie.
AskSamie is an algorithm-based online tool that allows people to do their own assessment for accessible living. By answering questions about their living situation and any problems they may have, AskSamie provides recommendations that we would normally provide in person. The grant helped us build and launch AskSamie, enabling us to reach people in rural communities and cities that we couldn’t reach before. We are now live and grateful for the opportunity the Kitty Fund gave us.
Can you offer any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business journey?
My advice is that if you have an idea, start working on it now because the world needs your ideas. If you’re already pursuing your idea, it’s important to know that it’s a difficult journey, and not everyone can succeed. However, if you’re motivated and passionate about your idea, you’re the right person for the job, and you can overcome any obstacles or roadblocks that come your way. The most important thing is that your idea comes to fruition and you can serve the people you’re targeting with your business. With hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your goals and make your business successful.
Interested in learning more about the Kitty Fund Grant? Check it out!