Meet PE Finalist Bimla Picot, Founder & CEO of Reboundwear
We sat down with #PEIntensive17 finalist Bimla Picot, Founder & CEO of Reboundwear, a company that creates functional, yet stylish post-surgery clothing. Bimla discusses how watching her family recover from painful injuries motivated her and the most important business skills she learned from parenting.
Tell us about your company.
We sell innovative, fashionable athletic wear with patent-pending design technology. Zippers allow the garments to be unzipped to reveal specific parts of the body without needing to fully undress and make dressing easier, faster and less stressful. We believe in the connection between looking great and feeling better. We have tested our designs with the input of doctors and physical therapists. Stylish and comfortable, we use high-quality fabrics in on-trend colors.
What is the mission of your company and what is it attempting to change in the world?
Our mission is to create innovative fashionable clothing under the Reboundwear® brand for the style and comfort of millions of people who face the daily struggle of getting dressed in conventional clothing.
The clothing is designed to serve several purposes:
- Allow people who are injured or ill to dress in clothing that is comfortable and minimizes wound disruption. Our clothing is great for the elderly and for people who have had hip, knee, or shoulder surgery. The clothing accommodates casts, braces, slings, and other orthopedic devices. Reboundwear is also perfect for breast cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and mastectomies.
- Medical professionals can access all parts of the body without requiring patients to undress, thus saving time and patient discomfort during medical visits and physical therapy (“PT”) sessions.
- Resolve modesty issues for patients in the doctor’s office, PT clinic, and senior care facilities.
- Research demonstrates that there is a correlation between your physical and mental wellbeing. Reboundwear speeds recovery by reducing stress, enhancing a patient’s sense of health, and helping them maintain an optimistic outlook towards recovery. Our clothing provides patients with a positive self-image and allows them to maintain their dignity.
Where does your passion for this business stem from?
Improving the lives of others has been at the core of my personal mission since I was a Girl Scout. I am passionate about Reboundwear because my clothing will make a real difference in the daily routines of millions of people. I have had many opportunities to see friends and family wearing the clothing while recovering from injuries, surgeries, and cancer, and I have witnessed the synergy between looking great and feeling better. The grateful feedback and reorders I receive from customers give me tremendous energy to continue growing Reboundwear.
I have been in the field of design for over 30 years. My experience includes designing and selling a line of baby clothing, working in sales and marketing for couture fashion houses, running the US operations of a premier French antique dealer and founding my own interior design firm. From these experiences, I gained a deep knowledge of manufacturing, marketing, and how to operate a business.
When did you know you had a good idea on your hands?
Dressing my mother every morning after her hip surgery was like dressing a 200-pound baby. She could barely move and cried out in pain as I tried to slide her pants on. At doctor visits, the nurse handed her paper shorts and told her to take off her pants. My mother struggled to change clothes and stood uncomfortably in the shorts. That same year, my son had shoulder surgery. The nurse said to bring an oversized button-down shirt to wear after surgery. I put the shirt over his shoulders, but couldn’t button it over the sling’s bulkiness. My son traveled home with his chest bare, cold and embarrassed. These experiences inspired me to design Reboundwear, a line of clothing to make dressing easier for the millions of people who struggle with this task.
After I had prototypes made, we were able to arrange a focus group at the Hospital for Special Surgery here in New York with 22 doctors, physical and occupational therapists. The feedback we received was encouraging since the doctors and therapists said the clothes would help them and their patients, and the comments we received helped us improve the product. We also noticed that everyone we spoke to about this product could relate to it: Everyone knew someone who at some point in their lives who has had difficulty dressing due to an injury, illness or disability. Everyone we’ve ever worked with was always willing and able to help us and in many cases for free.
What has been the most difficult thing you’ve faced on this journey so far and what’s been the greatest reward?
Our greatest challenge is that we have achieved all of the benchmarks of what constitutes a viable company but because on monetary constraints, we haven’t been able to initiate a major marketing campaign. Launching a marketing campaign will make sure our product gets into the hands of those who need it.
The greatest reward has been the feedback from our customers. Here are a couple of examples of testimonials from our customers.
“These pants are fantastic!! Thank you! I am never taking them off for the next 8 weeks. The zippers on BOTH SIDES go from the waist all the way down to the ankle so that no matter how big & bulky the cast is you can still get the pants on. Then there is a little pocket for keys/money so a pocketbook becomes unnecessary for a local trip. Hanging on to a pocketbook is an additional risk. They fit perfectly! Even if I gain weight from eating Brooklyn Blackout cake, they are elasticized and so comfortable. How can I ever thank you?! Yesterday, I went for my checkup to have the sutures taken out and the supposed graduation to a plastic boot from the cast. Since my bones tested “soft” they insisted on another cast. I came home so disappointed only to discover your unbelievably generous, thoughtful gift. Thank you so very much – you turned my whole day around!”
What has motivated you most throughout your entrepreneurship journey?
We set very realistic goals and when we achieve those daily goals or weekly goals, they serve as small successes that keep us motivated. We’ve watched this business grow not only in revenue but also in awareness. Nothing is better than when we talk to our customers and we receive constructive feedback (both good and bad), when it’s bad we see it as a learning opportunity to improve and when it is good feedback it makes all the effort you put into your business worth it.
What words of wisdom would you share with other new entrepreneurs?
I have raised three children and parenting has helped me to master many of life’s and business’s most critical skills: patience, fortitude, perspective, respectfulness, and negotiations. As with my children, each employee has her own strengths, weaknesses, and personal style. My goal is to integrate their strengths to build a well-run, highly-functioning, and energetic business environment.
As a leader, I stress the importance of collaboration and listening to feedback. I tested my samples often, using focus groups of patients and of medical providers. I work together with my manufacturer and seek his feedback to ensure he can give me the manufacturing results I require with the design I’ve provided. I attend medical product expositions to receive feedback from potential customers and selling partners.