A chronic Lyme disease diagnosis inspired Emily Levy, founder of Mighty Well, to build a business with patients in mind. Her medical fashion company blends athletic apparel tailored for patients undergoing medical care to create products that cover medical devices while making them easily accessible. Passionate about transforming public perception of illness, Emily gives us an insider look into what it means to revolutionize the patient experience through fashion.
What is your business, and what problem you are solving?
Mighty Well is a consumer fashion company that supports patients and their networks by offering innovative, functional, and stylish apparel and accessories. Our first collection focuses on cancer patients, diabetics, and those needing long-term vascular access with PICC lines, ports, and feeding tubes.
What inspired you to start your company?
Mighty Well was born of necessity. During my sophomore year at Babson College, I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. When I had my first PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line inserted as part of my treatment, I was told by my doctor to protect it by wearing a cut-off sock on my arm. My response was “I’m sorry…what? A sock? On my arm? In public? Like…on dates? A SOCK?!” And I wondered: how was this ever going to fit into my lifestyle?
I saw this setback as an opportunity to change the way that patients look and feel through a consumer brand. Mighty Well has set out to be the leading fashion company for patients facing chronic health conditions.
What is your mission?
The mission of Mighty Well is to help patients and their caregivers turn sickness into strength. We want to transform the patient experience by creating innovative, functional and stylish products that bring dignity and confidence back to the patient. In the process, we hope to lead the global charge that changes the perception of patients from victims to fighters.
As patients and caregivers ourselves, we know how cold a hospital room can feel or how embarrassing it is to pull out a massive pillbox in class. These issues are what motivated us to build Mighty Well. We call it ‘Wellness You Can Wear—with pride and confidence’!
Who is in your core team? How did your team come together?
My two co-founders are my best friend, Maria del Mar Gomez, and my partner, Yousef Al-Humaidhi. The three of us met as students at Babson College. When I was at my sickest, they were the two that were there for me through thick and thin.
Both Maria and Yousef have also been touched by illness in their families. They saw how their loved ones didn’t have products that made them feel dignified and confident during their treatment process.
Leslie Smith, Julianne Gauron, and Elizabeth McGarry were all introductions made by the team at the Breakaway Challenge. All three have been patients as well as immediate caregivers of loved ones. With backgrounds in athletic apparel, they were inspired to apply their industry knowledge to the medical space.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
Some of my happiest moments come from building Mighty Well over the last year and a half.
Outside of Mighty Well, it’s hard to choose a favorite! It comes down to a tie between getting accepted into Babson College, the #1 School in the world for Entrepreneurship, and receiving a scholarship from the Center of Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL). CWEL completely shaped my professional development and I attribute much of my success to the support of their amazing network.
Fundraising is exceedingly difficult for majority female-owned companies... L.
Why equity crowdfunding?
Mighty Well is building a community of “Friends in the Fight.” We want to give our supporters the opportunity to get in early through our friends and family round. Republic is just what we needed to streamline this process for all parties
Additionally, fundraising is difficult for anyone, but it is exceedingly difficult for majority female-owned companies. In fact, less than 5% of all venture capital goes to companies founded by women. While we are fortunate to be part of this 4.9%, we noticed that follow-on funding was a challenge. We are grateful that Republic is dedicated to providing minorities and women with greater access to capital.
What three skills do you believe make a good leader?
- Ability to take constructive feedback and knowing what to do with it
- Communicating vision
- Commitment to the larger goal
What are your interests and passions outside of your company?
- Traveling to new places and understanding new cultures. I'm excited to visit Scotland soon!
- Seeing live music
- Mentoring other young female entrepreneurs
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have always wanted to go to Australia and scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Yousef’s sister is currently living in Australia and I hope we can squeeze in a trip there in the next year or two!
What’s the thing you believe to be true that no one else agrees with?
I think I am an amazing singer...no one else seems to agree!
Mighty Well is going mighty far!
I work in healthcare. This is a great idea and will strike a chord with many patients. Patients want to feel and look "normal"; this will help their confidence and self-esteem.
I could relate to how people look at you as I had to once walk around with an IV pic for months. Thank you Mighty Well for this great idea!