We had the good fortune of connecting with Tricia Waechter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tricia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In the last decade, I have lost 90 percent of my sight to a rare genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. This vision loss meant that I could no longer work in fashion, the career I have been in for over three decades. I still have all the skills from my global career in fashion and I wanted to put them to use. Starting my own business was the only way to be able to stay in the fashion industry and work within my sight limitations.

Starting Blind Girl Designs was what came of my decision to not let my vision loss stop me. My success, though we are still fairly new, has come from including blindness as an element in my brand. Our holiday tee’s are snowflakes, Christmas trees, and a holiday saying made out of blind canes. I want to be visible as a blind person both through my blind cane and my clothing. I want to create products that start conversations about blindness. My goal is to destigmatize vision loss and blindness, and allow everyone to comfortably discuss it.

For instance, I am extremely open about discussing my own condition, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which is prominent in my family. It affects more females than males and it shows in my family; of five sisters and my mother, four of us have the condition, and so does one niece (of four). With retinitis pigmentosa, the cells in your eyes that turn light into signals that the brain eventually turns into images slowly die off. First, people with RP will lose the ability to see in low light, then, overtime, people lose peripheral vision. There are still very few treatments for the condition, especially for people with such an advanced case like me.

Bind Girl Designs has allowed me to pursue my passion and career in fashion in ways that work for me. I am proud to represent what one can do when faced with adversity and hope Blind Girl Designs allows those who find our garments and accessories to feel comfortable, confident, and fashionable when they dress.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I started my business it was really to save my soul. My world was getting very small based on my vision loss. My doctor told me to see a therapist to help me, so I did, and she encouraged me to find a way to continue my work. So, my business started off in an unusual way. I didn’t have a vision of what it would become, I only knew that it would happen and I would put my heart in it. I went to New York that January and invested in fabrics to start creating with. I started designing dresses, cardigans, and beanies, and since then we have moved onto t-shirts. The business is evolving beautifully because both the blind and sighted community are helping me understand what they want and like through the products they buy. I am continuing to learn every day, but have started to establish a really good idea of what type of product to create that will really make everyone happy. The truth in the garment industry is that the designer doesn’t direct the customer, the customer directs us. We are only good at our jobs if we listen to what our customers tell us. I am so excited to continue to listen and evolve so I can produce high quality, unique products for our customers.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Alief, a neighborhood in Houston, so we never have to leave the area to eat amazing food from local restaurants that offer cuisines from around the world. The same goes for grocery shopping – there are markets from around the world at my doorstep. We have way more than a week’s worth of dining choices, but I’d say BBQ is a must, at least once during the week, especially for my friends visiting from New York. But, going back to having cuisine from around the world at my doorstep, I’d plan meals at local Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants.

In between eating, I’d bring my visitor(s) to experience reflexology, Chinese massage, and Thai massage spaced throughout the week. Of course, mani’s and pedi’s are also a must.

When it comes to hitting up sights and destinations close by, a day visiting the boardwalk in Galveston Is fun, especially if we stop at NASA on the way down. It’s always so impressive to see the big ships dock right up to the sidewalk in Galveston.

In the winter, my northern friends love swimming in an outdoor heated pool. Remember, we have palm trees and sunny days here in Houston and most don’t!

Also, local wildlife like buzzards, armadillos and possums really fascinate my friends that are not from the area. A must-do that I would schedule in is a daily walk along Brae’s Bayou. We’re certain to see lots of turtles in the water and egrets cruising around. It’s really special to walk along that area and watch the sun set.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely a shout out to Molly Casey and Robert Waechter. Molly, our communications director, powerfully launched all of our websites and social media, she even designed our logo. She is definitely multitalented, as she was our first model as well. She is amazing!

Robert helped evolve the original business idea and we still discuss strategy every day. He is also our ad hoc photographer and creative director.

Launching a start-up requires a lot of people to help, as you don’t normally have full teams in place, so you use every single talent you can spot in anyone who will help! Much love, gratitude and thanks, especially to Molly and Rob!

Website: https://blindgirldesigns.com/

Instagram: @blindgirldesigns

Linkedin: Blind Girl Designs

Facebook: Blind Girl Designs

Youtube: Blind Girl Designs

Other: Tik Tok: Blind Girl Designs

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