Tuam woman tames the Dragons in the Den

A company founded by a Tuam woman has secured funding through Dragons Den to allow them to bring safe manageable solutions for parent with children who suffer from allergies, and anaphylaxis and asthma.

Mayo-based Allergy Lifestyle – an online ecommerce business has been supplying allergy, anaphylaxis and asthma products throughout Ireland and the UK since 2013. The company has grown from an idea of necessity, to embracing the business of online to being one of the companies invested in as part of this year’s Dragons Den intake on RTE Television.

From Tuam, founder of Allergy Lifestyle, Anne Walsh was inspired to set up the business based on her experience of managing her daughter allergies.

“Ten years ago our third child suffered a near fatal allergic reaction to peanuts coming up to her second birthday. She was diagnosed with an anaphylactic peanut allergy, egg, sesame seed,and dust-mite allergies. She also has hay fever and oral allergy syndrome,” explained Anne.

“As a family we were suddenly thrown into the allergy lifestyle. Known as anaphylaxis it affects it 1 – 2 per cent of adults and 2 – 3 per cent of kids and can be fatal in less than 20 minutes but there seemed to be very little available at the time to help families. So Anne has brought together a range of quality, reliable products and information resources to help keep our little ones safe.”

“Our vision is to help those managing allergies, anaphylaxis or asthma to lead a normal active life and to stay safe while doing it. We started off by sourcing the best allergy and asthma products from around the world and with the help of the Leader programme developed an e commerce platform in 2013 bringing together a large selection of adrenaline pen cases, inhaler cases, allergy wristbands, medical jewellery and more.

“We worked hard sourcing product that kids, teens and adults actually like to wear and use, helping to keep them safe. I felt if someone could have shared all the knowledge I have picked up over the years, the journey would have been a lot easier to that’s why we also built an allergy community on line to share information & resources.”

This year with the backing of Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund grant they have developed the first allergy lifestyle branded product called the Anaphylaxis Emergency response kit (AER KIT ). It is an accessory case for anyone carrying adrenaline to manage severe, potentially life threatening allergies.

With studies showing that up to 83 per cent of people can get it wrong in an emergency Allergy Lifestyle wanted to ensure that whoever has responsibility has all the medicines and the information in one handy kit to deal with an allergic reaction. It is ideal for schools, crèches and organisation holding adrenaline and asthma medicines as the case provide protective, portable storage for the meds and also includes guides the to assist the carer deal with a reaction until medical attention can be reached.

“We now feel much safer letting our daughter participate in clubs and activities, knowing if an allergic reaction should occur, whoever is in charge can be guided through managing the reaction.

“The investment from Dragons Den is such a positive move for us. It is allowing us to step up to the next platform as we now are aiming to break into the mainstream retail/pharmacy sector. Our products are helping people to stay safe, and is so helpful to parents of young children who simply just want to head to a party or a sleepover but before there was always a worry they might eat something that could really make them sick.

Now this kit means this simple fun thing can be just that for parents and for children. It is great to feel covered for both adults and children with allergies,” said Anne.

Based in the GMIT Enterprise HUB in Castlebar, Allergy Lifestyle was initially reselling other products but are now selling their own and are currently looking to break into the retail/pharmacy sector throughout Ireland and the UK. To find to more about Allergy Lifestyle Visit:www.AllergyLifestyle.com www.facebook.com/AllergyLifestyle Twitter page www.twitter.com/AllergyLifestyl

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