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Women in Business

Annie & Isabel: Creating Designer Hospital Gowns

By Apr 14, 2011January 30th, 201522 Comments

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Today’s Women on the Move are Sister’s, Nurses and Entrepreneurs.  They’ve found a way to create a product {designer hospital gowns} that help people have a better experience in the hospital, and best of all, they have been able to do it as a team!

 

I spent 10 LONG weeks in the hospital when I was pregnant with my twins.  During the day I wore comfortable clothing like yoga pants and T-shirts, but at night the hospital administration and nurses preferred that I wear a hospital gown, “just in case”.  I hated it.  The gowns were a bother to put on and wear (the shoulder snaps always threw me for a loop), and they were usually stiff and smelled strongly of the bleach filled detergent they were cleaned with.  I *wish* that I had known of an alternative gown like the ones offered at Annie & Isabel to help make my stay more comfortable.

So many of the SITS readers have had hospital stays that would have been more pleasant with stylish and functional NEW gowns, so we thought Anna and Selena, the masterminds behind Annie & Isabel were the perfect choice for our Women on the Move Spotlight.

How did you and your sister first conceive of the idea to make hospital gowns that would make the user experience better?
As nurses, we feel honored and proud to be in our profession. We are privileged to go to work every day in the hospital and help people who are often so vunerable. After many years of hearing our patients complain about hospital gowns, we decided it would be fun to offer them a direct to consumer alternative. This really hit home when we, ourselves, were hospitalized, for happy reasons, while giving birth to our beautiful boys. What really bothered us while wearing standard hospital issued gowns, was that we actually knew where they had been before they came to us! We knew that these were the SAME gowns that many other patients had worn in many “messy” situatons. We just couldn’t get those thoughts out of our heads. It was during the labor of Selena’s son Henry, 3 years ago, that we decided we had to do something about it! We knew, because of our expertise in the hospital, we could create a hospital gown that “covered” all the things that the average hospital gown left exposed!

I love that each of your gowns are named after women who have inspired you.  Tell us a little bit about these women and what they did to inspire you.
The women that our hospital gowns are named after include our great-grandmother, grandmothers, mother, and godmothers.  Each was strong in her own way and we were lucky to have relationships with and to have been loved by each of them growing up.   Those relationships, in turn, helped to mold us into who we are today.  To really understand how they influenced our lives, we encourage you to read the section on our website called, “Naming of the Gowns” and you, too, will see why these women were and are so inspiring!!!

Prior to having children we both hoped to name one of our girls after two of these women.  Selena was going to name her first girl after Grandma Isabel and Anna was going to name her first girl after their Great-Grandmother Annie but, 6 boys later we haven’t been able to do that!  Our company name “Annie & Isabel” has given us the opportunity to honor them in a different way.  We feel blessed to have this company because it has kept all of these women’s legacies alive.  Each time we send out a hospital gown, it comes with a card describing the woman the gown was named after and a little saying to help give strength to the woman who will wear that gown.  We love that we can share our family with the world! In turn, we believe that the woman who will wear one of our Annie & Isabel hospital gowns creates her own story behind her gown. We love that our gowns have become the go-to gift for people who want to give strength and beauty during a not-so-glamourous time in a hospital setting!

 

What is different about your gowns than hospital issue gowns?
The most important difference with an Annie & Isabel hospital gown is that NO ONE has ever worn it before. Of prime importance is also the fact that  Annie & Isabel hospital gowns are the only hospital gowns that fully cover a person’s backside.  We have found that our patients’ #1 complaint in the hospital gown is that your backside is always hanging out for all to see.  We added extra fabric to the back of our hospital gown so that it can wrap around and tie on the side, giving patients their dignity back.  You can walk around the hospital with confidence.

Our gowns provide a most custom fit. We offer 6 sizes ~ available in XS,S,M,L,XL,XXL, and Pregnancy sizes too!  Our gowns meet hospital standards, which include snaps on both shoulders and opening in the back. They are manufactured in San Francisco, California with care.   Annie & Isabel hospital gowns have an extra inside pocket on the left side of the gown that is perfect for cell phones, tissue, lip gloss etc.

Our gowns are made of 100% high quality cotton fabric so they feel good.  We had one customer tell us her gown felt like satin and many women wear them at home!
We added a nice inverted pleat in the front which makes the gown more fashionable and pretty to wear.  It makes a patient feel like they are wearing a nice piece of clothing instead of a hospital gown.  Annie & Isabel hospital gowns are longer in length than standard hospital gowns.  They go to about the mid calf which again provide patients with more coverage, warmth, and comfort. Lastly, our gowns come in 6 different prints that offer the patient something that can compliment their own personal style and taste.

When we started our business and found the SITS community, we were amazed at all the inspirational women around the globe. We just want to thank SITS for giving us this platform to share our story and our business. We never imagined the personal emotional satisfaction we would receive by starting Annie & Isabel. When we receive emails from our customers that tell us that our hospital gown was the only comforting thing about their hospital stay, how the gowns added to the joy of the birth of a new baby or brightened the day of a friend battling an illness, it really warms our hearts and makes every second of work worth it! A simple thing like bringing your OWN hospital gown or gifting one to a loved one is such an empowering gift! We hope you enjoy looking at our new website and blog!

About Alina Thomas

Alina is a Northern Virginia wedding photographer based out of Leesburg, VA. She has a passion for arts and design, and strives to express it through her work. She is creative at heart and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge in photography with other Virginia wedding photographers on her blog each week. Alina loves being a new mom to her first-born and spending time with her husband who helps her run her businesses. Please feel free to follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+.

22 Comments

  • zain says:

    we are manufacturer of all kind of hospital and hotel textiles linen kindly mail and call us.

    0092-333-2169930

  • You girls are Genius, truly Genius. I have spent much time in hospitals, recently I was taking care of a friend with breast cancer, oh how I would of loved to put her in one of your gowns, if only to make her smile. You made me smile, and I am healthy today. Thank you. I will now put you down on my list of dresses I need to have…..when I’m sick, throwing away the old sweats now!!!!! Thank you, Laura Levites

  • Lady Jennie says:

    Wow! How smart – I can’t believe no one thought of this before.

  • Love your idea! Hope they get into every hospital! Wouldn’t the patients love it, feel better and heal quicker!

  • Grams says:

    What a great idea! My husband has spent more than his fair share of time in hospitals. At 6’5″ you can imagine how little a standard-issue hospital gown covers. An extra long gown would be great.

  • Nonna says:

    In Finland, the patients are dressed in drab, worn out pajamas in the standard “hospital green” and “hospital pink” with huge buttons in the front that keep coming loose. I would LOVE to be able to wear a gown like that if I ever get put in a hospital again, because the standard pajamas are not only an eyesore, but also uncomfortable! The gowns @ A & I are SO ADORABLE! <3

  • Anne Galivan says:

    What an awesome idea! But I wish you hadn’t made me think about the fact that others have worn gowns before me…I never thought of that til now! Yuk!

    I am impressed with the ingenuity in these two women. Congratulations on your success!

  • misssrobin says:

    These are beautiful. I love stories about women taking care of other women.

  • Jenny Bunny says:

    I hope I never need to spend a LOT of time in the hospital (until I have kids, of course), but if I did, these would be so much better than the many/overly worn gowns! Lovely idea!

  • Congrats! Now that is definitely a market to tap into. I’ve spent way more time in ugly hospital gowns with poor coverage than I’d like and it’s nice to see someone address it! :>

  • Love the entrepreneurial spirit – and they are sooo much better than the typical gowns!

  • Jayna Rae says:

    I really wanted a lovely hospital gown this last pregnancy. My friends mama was going to make it, but I she was diagnosed with cancer right when I got her the fabric, then I went into labor early. So sad.

  • Leah says:

    Now this is a great idea! Staying in the hospital is tough enough. Having a little bit of comfort can make a trying experience a little more pleasant. Can’t wait to check out your blog!

  • I wish I knew about your company when I was pregnant! Those gowns are beautiful and comfortable looking!

  • This is quite a cute idea – I wonder if you can just wear them in any hospital or if you need to ask permission etc. perhaps only in a private hospital? Either way any method to make a hospital stay more fun is good for me.
    Jade

  • Kelly says:

    Those are really cute! What a great idea!

  • jen says:

    I would have totally LOVED this when I was pregnant and in the hopital.

  • This is cool, I never though about extended stays and having to wear those awful gowns every day.
    Bernice

  • Rorie says:

    I work in a hospital too so this is just awesome to see. The names of the gowns are just amazing!! Very inspiring!

  • Tina says:

    These are so cute!!