Sherbet Needles is a relatively new company based in East Sussex, England. They make dresses - really cute ones, and pouches - all designed with diabetic ladies in mind. We spoke to Emma Holter, the founder, and learned why she started the company and where she hopes to be in the future.
Would you like to introduce yourself and what you do?
Hello I'm Emma and I recently started Sherbet Needles - I sew diabetic friendly dresses that have pockets with secret holes for injecting discretely!
How did you come up with the idea behind Sherbet Needles?
It was a sunny day on the beach eating ice-cream, when I came to inject I was wearing a dress I'd made (minus leggings) and didn't want to lift the skirt up and flash everyone on the beach! I found a tiny hole in my pocket to inject through. Ever since then, every dress I have ever made myself has had pockets with holes in!
How did you discover your diagnosis?
About four years ago I started to lose a lot of weight (about 2 stone) and was thirsty all of the time. I went to the doctors, they asked if I had an eating disorder - I really didn't. They sent me on my way telling me to eat a high carb diet which didn't really help considering! I eventually asked for a blood test and was told I have type 1 (hba1c of 72 and BG of 22)
What did it feel like being diagnosed with Type 1 and how has it impacted your life?
It was confusing as I didn't know much about the condition. I was petrified of needles too! I joined a course called SADIE which helped greatly as it taught me to carb count, and this helps me work out the right dosage of insulin to give myself when eating/drinking.
It's impacted my life in a big way as I really love food. I still don't deny myself anything, although I sometimes wish I could eat what I want and not need to carb count and constantly check my blood sugars!
What sort of things do you need to be aware of and how do you manage it day to day?
I'm always thinking about what dosage of insulin to give myself when eating or drinking, as too little can cause a hyper (when blood sugar gets too high) and too much can cause a hypo (when blood sugar drops too low).
Both make me feel unwell, especially a hypo. I can't drive when feeling low so this can impact my day sometimes. I carry my testing kit and pens with me at all times and snacks too! My bag is like Mary Poppins’!
My go to snack is currently Skittles.
What products do you make?
I make soft jersey dresses with pockets (who doesn't love a pocket!)
The pockets have a hole about an inch big in them for injecting discretely - it's big enough to see what you're doing but you won't lose your phone or keys if you want to keep things in the pockets.
How do your dresses work?
When wearing one of my dresses you don't have to fumble around lifting up your skirt trying to inject in public, you don't need to find a toilet to do it, you can just look for the little label in the pocket - which directs you to the hole - and inject!
Have you got any tips or information that you think people should know about diabetes?
I think it can be hard to inform people about a condition that isn't visible. I often get asked if I can eat certain things and the answer is always yes!
Where do you want Sherbet Needles to be in five years time?
I'd love to have a large range of dresses to aid diabetics living with the condition.
I also have an idea for children and adults using pumps that I am working on and hope to add to my little but slowly expanding shop!
Check out the Sherbet Needles Etsy shop here.
Photos by Emilia Buggins