As a disabled woman the world so often tells me that I don’t fit, that I don’t have the right to take up space. Taking pride in my body and my home is important to me, especially now my tenuous health has kept me inside longer than most during the pandemic. But I also value my independence, and it bothers me when one frequently comes at the expense of the other.
Australian Brent Dankesreither noted similar frustrations felt by his son, which inspired him to create Averee, a website of clothing and lifestyle products for people of all abilities. He describes it as a “retail revolution”. He has used his experience working with some of the largest corporations in the world and in the social-services sector, as well as his ongoing experiences as a parent of a disabled son, to stock and set up the online store.
Launched in June 2021, Averee curates a range of products from across the world that enable us to build the life we want and live life to the fullest. What sets Averee’s selection of products apart is the winning combination of style, function and quality.
And it really does seem to have almost anything. Looking for adaptive fashion? There are wheelchair-friendly skirts (who knew?), side-access pants and padded shoes. In the market for some tech? There are computers, headsets, wheelchairs, scooters and all sorts of environmental controls. Accessible homewares? They’ve found easy-grip, non-slip, lightweight and hands-free options, to name a few. In fact, its one-touch automatic can opener is currently a bestseller. You’ll also find personal care, grooming and dressing aids, toys, games, sports equipment, and musical instruments.
The website itself has different accessibility features, which will be a welcome addition for many in the disability community who sometimes find it hard to get information. You can adjust colour, spacing, size, font, focus and more, depending on your access needs.
What strikes me most about Averee is its deep understanding of and commitment to a vision. It’s truly inclusive, without being too self-aware. Speaking with Dankesreither, the CEO and managing director got very excited about the Obi Robot, a robot designed to give people more independence and enjoyment at mealtimes. He proudly refers to his son as an “official product tester” and assures me that many of his team and board members have “lived and/or professional experience”.
It’s a shame, then, that there’s not much on Averee’s editorial (or “blog”) section right now – it’s mostly information about products, getting the most out of your funding, and general how-tos. I can see this being a great opportunity to engage with customers and the wider community by getting a number of diverse and disabled writers to contribute, for example.
My hope is that Averee continues to find ways of meaningfully engaging with disabled people and older people, because it definitely fills some important gaps in the sector. I’m excited to see where it goes.