PHOENIX - Kimberly Cox is the first to admit the idea sounds pretty simple: "It really was ‘How come nobody else though of this?'"
After Cox's mother underwent knee replacement surgery, therapists had her up and walking within hours. The problem, though, was that Cox's mother was wearing a hospital gown that left her feeling exposed. Cox immediately cut some hospital scrub pants to provide modesty and comfort and added Velcro so medical providers could easily access her mother's knee.
"Her doctor and some nurses and therapists wanted to know where she got them and who made them," Cox said.
She figured her mother wasn't the only one who felt better avoiding the hospital gowns. Cox and her partners talked to an attorney, got a patent and connected with BioInspire, a business incubator in Peoria that provides support for medical device start-ups like Cox's company. BioInspire reviewed their business plan, secured $100,000 in seed money and continues to provide expert advice.
"If we don't have a contact they reach out and find us a contact," said Cox. "They'll mentor us through the different processes we need to through."
Cox's company, Hilldeez, is named after her mother. The company's seven employees cut, sew, package and ship the garments from their Peoria headquarters. They just started selling knee and hip garments this month and are working on a prototype for shoulders. Cox and her partners, Cheri Fox and Brenda Farrell, are also talking with a distributor about potentially expanding nationwide.