A Millersville University sophomore has the next great business plan for apparel designed for individuals with medical conditions. Faith Irwin, a sophomore Entertainment Technology major from Lancaster, recently came in as a semi-finalist in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Business plan competition for her business pitch, Living Life.
Irwin first learned of the opportunity in her Art of Entrepreneurship course taught by professor Victor Capecce during the fall of 2019 semester. Capecce had the class complete a business pitch as an assignment and suggested the students enter the PASSHE competition. “The Entrepreneurship class helped me build the structure for the executive summary and my 60 second pitch,” says Irwin.
Living Life, is an apparel line focused on those with medical conditions. “The world needs an apparel line focused on patient safety, dignity and comfort. From small planned surgeries to long-term care, children and adults can benefit from adaptable clothing,” Irwin explains, “Living Life is focused on the perfect balance of comfort for the patient and ease of the medical staff, offering easy access to critical areas provided by zippers, snaps, and Velcro. Medical teams will be able to provide medical treatment and monitoring while the patient feels like they are wearing comfort clothing.”
For Irwin, Living Life is more than an apparel line, “Living Life will be a community supporting each other. It is a company started from experience in the world of being a medically complex and medically fragile patient. Living Life works to spread tips and tricks of living your best life even when that means time in the hospital.”
Irwin herself is a patient of the medical system, and this inspired the idea for her business. She hopes that Living Life will be able to help a wide range of patients from those who will only need the adaptive clothing for one-time stays such as planned surgeries to those who need longer term care. “Striving to meet each one of these customer segments means this first garment will not be the only options but the company wishes to continue to offer more products to improve patients quality of life,” Irwin states, “This apparel line will continue to expand with many future options.”
Irwin plans to pursue her business pitch, “Living Life will work to rebuild medical patients’ dignity by providing some much-needed modesty,” she says. “They will feel the comfort of the clothing and the love it was sent with. Medical patients will feel the love of a community of people fighting back against the expected depression of spending time in the hospital.”
These are not her only career plans. Irwin also works as a dance teacher at the Hooley School of Irish dance. She has performed as a competitive Irish dancer, and is working toward gaining a certification in the art from the An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the oldest governing body for competitive Irish dancing on a global scale. For Irwin, her experience at Millersville has impacted her performance as an Irish dancer, “My study in the Entertainment Technology major at Millersville University helped me bring more life to the stage and bring the love of performing on stage to many dancers.”
Irwin’s own passions, personal experiences as a medical patient and her experiences at Millersville all led to the idea for her company, Living Life.
“I have always enjoyed sewing and finding ways to use creativity to solve problems. Through many hospital stays I set out to come up with a solution to my problem of baggie hospital gowns. I had been working on the idea of an adaptable clothing line for a while and even created some prototype designs of adaptable clothing I have used in the hospital,” she continues, “The class and competition helped me take the idea to the next level. I also had many nurses encourage me that they had other patients who could benefit from adaptive clothing and encouraged me to make this an option for other patients.”