Versatile and fun bags to carry all your diabetes stuff around in are all the rage, and thankfully, because the options were pretty crummy for a long time. Gone are the days of boring black meter cases and diabetes supply bags, replaced by bright, colorful designs that are perfect for the person with diabetes on the go.
Today, we’re talking with Carolyn Jåger, founder of SugarMedical, a diabetes bag company rooted in Atlanta but available for PWD in every corner of the world (or at least as far as shipping allows).
Hi Carolyn! Could you share a little bit about your diabetes diagnosis with our readers?
I was diagnosed at age 13 on my mom’s birthday. Not a fun way to celebrate her birthday with the diagnosis of a second child with type 1 diabetes. My younger sister was diagnosed 5 years prior to me at age 6. We became a family of two T1Ds that day. Since my sister was type 1, we caught mine very early and checked into Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. My blood sugar was 220 mg/dL and they kept me in the hospital for five nights. I transitioned pretty seamlessly since I had watched my sister for so many years prior to my diagnosis. I’ve now had diabetes for 29 years– hard to believe how many times I have tested my blood and how many jelly beans I have eaten for lows over the years!
What was the impetus for creating Sugar Medical?
I launched Sugar Medical in 2010 after a close family friend went through a pancreas transplant. The event really impacted me and scared me on how quickly complications can appear. After watching her struggles, I decided I wanted to help prevent others from ever going through what she had. After speaking with doctors and educators about the most common struggles of people with diabetes, they all said that people do not test enough and a lot of people do not carry their supplies with them each day. It then became my mission to change the way people with diabetes carry their daily supplies in hopes of encouraging better glucose control. I created a line of accessories with style and personality, but most importantly the cases would be functional holding ALL your daily diabetes supplies in one great bag. No more carrying a glucose meter bag and an extra supply bag for insulin pens and pump supplies. Everything would fit in one stylish bag that doesn’t look medical either.
In turn, my hope is that Sugar Medical is encouraging better glucose control by offering cases and accessories that people find stylish and functional. People always tell us how much they love having a case that is their favorite color or they can see across a room. It’s the little things that make a difference. Diabetes is hard, so why not have a cute bag in camo or in pink?! Make yourself happy and take care of yourself!
How can chic medical bags help people with diabetes live better, in your opinion?
By designing bags that carry your diabetes supplies discretely in a fun, fashionable way, we hope that this encourages people to test more frequently and take better care of themselves each day. I strive to create bags that people will WANT to carry and not feel embarrassed by. No more ugly black “medical” cases! We want to make it easy for people with diabetes to carry their supplies, feel comfortable bringing their case to dinner, to work, or to school without the fear of being automatically labeled when they pull out a medical-looking case.
What makes your diabetes bags different and unique?
Our awesome “Trash Can” and our fun prints and color pops set us apart! We invented the coolest way to dispose of the pesky used test strips with our “Trash Can.” It works like a mail slot. Just slip your test strip through the slot and it goes into a compartment that holds 200+ strips! It is our most popular feature! We also take a lot of time listening to what our customers need. A lot of our bags feature a clear front window on the bag made for your Dexcom receiver or your cell phone. Features that make life easier.
Do you have a favorite product that you’ve created?
My favorite is the Hampton case, which is preppy looking. I love the compact design for my small glucose meter, and the back fits my phone and credit cards. It’s the perfect size for running around each day, and I can choose if I use the wrist strap or crossbody strap.
What’s next in your company’s creative pipeline?
Our newest design will launch this summer. This new case will hold multiple insulin pens and a glucagon kit, along with your glucose meter. We are also launching a new case this summer for Omnipod users.