Tech In Accessibility

Tech In Accessibility

Today’s episode of Startup Hustle gets a little tech touch! Lauren Conaway talks to Dr. Brandy Archie, founding director of AccessAble Living. They discuss how technology can help make the world a better place for those living with mobility issues.

Tune in and prepare to be amazed by the power of tech, resourcefulness, and vision. 

Covered In This Episode

As they say, not all superheroes wear capes or masks. At times, they wear white coats—or ordinary clothes, but they all offer their skills to those who need them. That’s what this episode is all about. 

Get Started with Full Scale

Dr. Brandy Archie has won grants and continues to earn rightful recognition as she grows her company in the accessibility tech space. Her vision is to help people with mobility issues from all around the world. If you’re interested in checking out this episode, here are some discussion points for your reference.

  • The story of Dr. Brandy Archie and AccessAble Living
  • How to be a visionary and a success story in the accessibility tech market
  • What to look forward to from AccessAble Living in the future
Listen to Best Entrepreneurship Podcast in the US!

Highlights

  • What Dr. Archie does and how her journey panned out (02:11)
  • The story of how AccessAble Living started (10:50)
  • The Imposter Syndrome and how founders can work around it (13:05)
  • Ask Samie (new app) and AccessAble Living newly enhanced services to serve people everywhere (17:04)
  • Awards, grants, and recognition earned by Dr. Archie (26:14)
  • Dr. Archie’s growing vision for the company (28:49)
  • What does the future look like for Dr. Archie as a professional? (35:17)
  • Advice for tech startups who wants to enter the accessibility tech market (36:27)

Key Quotes

I don’t think that accessibility is a privilege. I think that is a right.

– Dr. Brandy Archie

Honestly, I think a little bit of self-doubt—sometimes, it’s okay. That self-doubt sometimes propels you to deeper greatness.

– Lauren Conaway

I don’t have an answer all the time. But I’m gonna find the solution.

– Dr. Brandy Archie

Discover the interesting space of accessibility tech with Lauren and Dr. Archie. Listen to this Startup Hustle episode today!

Business Innovation

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Lauren Conaway

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about our amazing episode sponsor. Today’s episode is sponsored by FullScale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. They do a great job. I have heard from countless clients who have availed themselves of Full Scale services and ended up with a beautiful tech product without all of the stress. So I highly recommend that you check them out. I’m very excited about this next guest because I have been watching her career for years now. She participated in a pitch competition a while back, and she did such an incredible job. I loved her product and what her company represented so much that I’ve always kind of kept my eye out for her. So we have with us today Dr. Brandy Archie. And Dr. Archie is the founding director of AccessAble Living. Dr. Archie, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

01:13.32

Dr. Brandy Archie

Thanks for having me, and glad to be here.

01:16.60

Lauren Conaway

I’m so excited. So let’s go ahead and get cracking right off the bat. I’m going to ask you the kick-us-off question, and I’m just going to say, you know, tell us about your journey.

01:27.20

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yeah, so I am an occupational therapist by trade. And that means that it’s our job to help make sure people can be safe and independent in taking care of themselves. I like to say that we learn how to be advocates from school because nobody knows it, and it looks different in every setting. For kids, that looks like helping them with handwriting, so they can be independent in classrooms. For older adults, it’s helping them be independent with everyday tasks, like getting into the bathroom. I love that it’s different for whoever you’re working with, and I have been doing it for about 14 years now. Over the course of that time, I’ve just always had my hands-on gadgets and other things to kind of help people be more independent. Because sometimes, unfortunately, we’re not able to help fix people’s bodies. Then you gotta find a way to deal with what’s going on, so the best way to do that, I think, is to add equipment or make changes to your environment. So I’ve always kind of stayed up-to-date on those kinds of things. And that really turned into AccessAble Living; the healthcare system doesn’t really make sure that you have what you need at home in order to be independent. So that’s what we do at AccessAble living; I started that a few years ago, and here I am today.

02:55.56

Lauren Conaway

That is so cool. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have a memory of AccessAble Living in that pitch competition where I watched. You had some slides, and I’m assuming it was your pitch deck, and I distinctly remember you were talking about a patient that you had. She was having difficulty getting in and out of her recliner, right? So her family, I think, had decided, well, she needs to go into a home. But this client of yours, she didn’t want to, and very few people do like it. If you can maintain some semblance of independence, you keep that in individuals’ lives for as long as possible. It’s my understanding that once you start removing those small bits of independence, you start to see declines in health. And you start to see mental health issues in elderly populations and vulnerable populations. So you told us the story about this client, and I’m wondering if you can share it with us here. Because I just loved hearing this story, like how you were so effectively able to help her.

04:04.10

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yeah, I definitely will tell that story. I’m gonna call her Mrs. Smith. That’s not her real name, but I’m gonna call her Mrs. Smith, so yeah, the main thing that we do is to try to help people be independent and stay wherever they want to live as she wanted to stay living by herself in the house that she had been in for. Over 30 years, however, it had stairs to get in the house, stairs to get to our bedroom. Her ability had declined significantly, people were concerned about her, and she was missing doctor’s appointments because she couldn’t get out of the house, and that was piling on like you were saying it causes health problems. Mental health also causes physical health issues, so we had to start exactly where it’s the most important. We’re always trying to get to the root cause of the issue. She had really swollen legs, and she was sleeping sitting up on a walker. I walk her to a seat. So. We need to find a way for her to be able to get up and down, and so we were able to help her, um, put a custom box underneath the chair she already had, which is a lot more cost-effective than trying to get a recliner and a lot quicker. And that extra height allowed her to get out of that chair. So now she could get up more often, which means that she can try to get herself to the toilet on her own and not be incontinent and also have used less energy to get up so that she can um. Be able to do the things she needs to do every day. So even though that sounds like just a simple thing. It had a rippling effect on her life, and so we did other things too, including getting her a bit side commode so that she could go to the toilet right near where she was at since her walking wasn’t very good and connecting her with some transportation options. Let you get to our doctor’s appointments and then make some more long-term plans. How are we gonna get you a ramp so that you can get out of the house more easily and consistently and so while what we do might seem like small peas? It actually ends up having a huge impact on people’s lives. And affects a bigger problem which is um affordability and housing because now everybody can afford to spend $6000 and go to assisted living facilities, and not everybody has a family to go move in with, and sometimes you just want to stay where you’re at, and so we really believe that there’s usually an option.

06:19.95

Lauren Conaway

Right.

06:30.72

Dr. Brandy Archie

Or multiple ways to keep yourself at home. So we try to just sum that all up in a nice little package. We use our Ot brains to figure out what is needed in the home in order to keep you living there as independently as possible, so we then bring that equipment and make that happen.

06:47.44

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, I just think that that is so incredible, and it really speaks to your storytelling ability, and the assistance that you provide as that solution stuck with me. I mean that that pitch competition was at least three years ago. It was pre-pandemic.

07:05.44

Dr. Brandy Archie

Okay.

07:07.36

Lauren Conaway

And I remember you telling that story and thinking to myself, how creative because so many people would automatically well, I mean the family kind of from what I remember the family had already kind of going to the well there’s nothing to do here. She’s going to have to go into a home and. And then, like so many people would have been like, well if that’s not going to work. We’re going to need to get this super fancy tricked out recliner that you know goes up and down electrically, and you know, and that’s financially out of reach, particularly for elderly populations, and so the fact that you were able and I remember this slide like so vividly the fact that you were able. Able to create such a cost-effective, easy solution and create such lasting change in that client’s life in Mrs. Smith’s life like that was just really powerful. To me, and I mean I, you know not all of us. We’re not. We’re not all eighty years old, but everybody listening here has at some point, you know, probably had a grandparent or a parent who had issues. You know someone that they love, someone that they trusted who experienced issues like this, and I just invite our listeners at home to really. Think about that. Think about the people that you love in your life who may be confronted with some mobility issues and how somebody like Dr. Archie and accessible living might be able to help and what that could mean in their lives. Um, you know you didn’t just impact Mrs. Smith, although I’m sure you did. Profoundly, but you also impacted everyone around her. The people that love her and care about her, and so I just want to start? Do you know where we’re kind of at the beginning of this little recording? I want to start by just commending you for the work that you do, like finding those creative workarounds and finding solutions that work for the people that you serve um on an individual individualized basis. Just super impressive. I love it.

09:01.21

Dr. Brandy Archie

I appreciate that. I think that our motto is we’re creating accessibility everywhere. I don’t think that accessibility is a privilege. I think that it’s a right. and so while if you have more dollars, you have more soldiers in order to make your home accessible or move to a place that is. But I don’t think that if you don’t have those dollars. You should be subject to sleeping in a row later, and so there’s always more than one way to get things done, and we’re just trying to make that literally accessible to everybody.

09:32.19

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, you’re well named for sure, and I do want to point out, and just for folks who might be listening and they’re not looking at the episode title, accessible is AccessAble, so a little bit different from how we normally spell accessible but excess able which I loved that too. I remember thinking that that was such a perfect name like it speaks to what you do, and I just thought that that was so fun. Well, so tell us about starting the company. What is it? What did that look like? What did that feel like for you?

10:08.40

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, it was very gradual. I would say I started the company in December of 2016, and in all of 2017, we served eight clients. Now part of that is because I didn’t know how to start a business. And I also was working a full-time job as an occupational therapist at home. It’s always been a gradual process of less working for others and more working for myself, and I think so do many business owners. Do it that way; I don’t think a lot of people actually talk about it. Um, so i.

10:39.91

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

10:43.76

Dr. Brandy Archie

Felt bad, I guess, to some degree. I don’t know. A little imposter syndrome is like a sham, so if I’m out presenting an accessible living, I also have another job that’s actually paying for my bills. But. That was important for me to do it that way for my own sense of security and because I have a family and my money matters to what happens in our household, and I also think it was really good for building out the way we do things. It really comes from.

11:03.54

Lauren Conaway

Sir.

11:13.32

Dr. Brandy Archie

My experiences working in home health and acute care and all the different settings that I’ve worked in so had I not done that, I don’t know that we would have come up with as many creative solutions as we have, So we started that way and we started real slow and just grew as our networking grew and our reach grew in the city. I’m definitely a full-time business owner. This is the way we go, and we’ve got a team of people, another couple of occupational therapists that come out to people’s homes. And a partnership where we help people make sure it actually gets installed because that’s half the battle, too, because what if you know what you need and you order it from somewhere and then what you know? So we’re trying to make it into a solution. So those ah things that our ideas become a reality.

11:54.80

Lauren Conaway

Right.

12:00.81

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, I love that, and I and I have to ask either. We talk about it, and I think that I do not think that this is an issue that affects only female founders, but I do think that it’s an issue that affects female founders more frequently. But I have to ask. You’re over that imposter syndrome now, right.

12:22.31

Dr. Brandy Archie

I think yes, um, in certain areas, I think certainly accessible living is a growing entity, and I’m confident in what I’m doing there, and I know that this is exactly where we should be, but every time we do something new that means I haven’t done it before and. I got to demonstrate a level of professionalism and confidence in what’s going on, even though I might not be that confident about it. So I’m not going to say it one way all the way. But I definitely know how to work around it.

12:52.79

Lauren Conaway

Well, that’s good, and I mean honestly, like I think a little bit of self-doubt is sometimes okay, you know because when you have that self-doubt like sometimes it propels you to deeper greatness. You know if you are constantly if you think everything’s perfect. You’re not. You’re not growing. You’re not learning. You’re not reiterating which is kind of the entrepreneurial process like I think everybody listening today like you me, you know all of the hosts of Startup Hustle were. We’re all entrepreneurial. And so, we are constantly thinking through how we can make it better. How can we? How can we learn more and grow more? How can we evolve? I don’t necessarily think that too much is a bad thing, and I definitely love the fact that you acknowledge that it’s still there, but you found some workarounds. Now I’m curious. Do you have any specific workarounds that you would like to share with us?

13:47.82

Dr. Brandy Archie

Ooh, that’s a good question. Um, I know that people might feel some kind of way about this statement, but I always think of fake it till you make it, and so while I am maybe not 100% sure what the solution is gonna be I’m 100% sure that.

13:54.59

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

14:05.57

Dr. Brandy Archie

I will find a solution. So if ah, you asked me a question and I say I’m going to get back to you on that I am going to get back to you and I’m Gonna have a solution even though at the moment I don’t and so because I know that I’m gonna try to solve the problem because that’s what we’re here to do and there always is a way to solve the problem.

14:24.10

Dr. Brandy Archie

We might not like it all the time, but there’s always a way to solve the problem. So my main workaround is just to ask for a little bit of grace. Give me a little bit of time, and we’ll come up with it together.

14:24.43

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

14:34.11

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah, well, and that’s really interesting like the process that you just shared because what that takes is vulnerability like there’s a lot of power in saying I don’t know, and I think that often in entrepreneurial circles. There’s this. Conception out there that you have to be unassailable, that you have to be Perfect. You’re always hustling everything’s going. Great. You’ve got all the funding you need, and so the fact that you’re able to be vulnerable and say, I don’t know, but then empowered and confident enough to say, but I’ll figure it out, that is true. Such an entrepreneurial mind. You know, we talk about the entrepreneurial mindset a lot around Startup Hustle, and it’s like entrepreneurs are people who look at challenges, and they see something to overcome rather than something to block or stop you, and clearly, you’re not doing that. So I will say one of the things that I find interesting about what you’re doing, and I want to delve a little bit deeper into this, you know before we start recording. You mentioned you know what you’re doing currently. It’s not necessarily like a super high-tech field like some of the workarounds that you’re you’re really.

15:44.37

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, ahead.

15:48.35

Lauren Conaway

Dealing with human beings. Um, you know, and some of the solutions that you come up with like they’re not super high tech. I mean, you fixed Mrs. Smith’s situation with a box, you know, and I mean it it was custom, and it was built for the situation. But that being said, it was a box.

15:48.72

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um.

15:58.60

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, and.

16:06.94

Lauren Conaway

Um, and that’s not, you know that’s not like a really technical high growth Sexy fancy topic like it’s just not and but it did the job now. Before we hit record, you mentioned something that you’re building, and I want to hear more about that.

16:22.68

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yeah, um, so I think that’s a good description. What we do is really awesome for the ah for our area where we serve, and we’re in the Kansas City area, but it’s also very labor-intensive. We sent an occupational therapist out. To the client’s home to take a look at their setup, understand what their needs are, and then we come up with a list of prioritized solutions, and then we help them get that in place, and we actually get those pieces of equipment to their house, and they get them installed. And so that works really well for all the places that we can drive to, but it does not work the greatest to reach people who live in rural areas or anybody who lives outside of our driving radius, and again our goal is accessibility everywhere, and I know this to be a problem everywhere because I’ve worked in. Ah, multiple states in multiple cities. Um, the healthcare system is set up to deal with things that have to do with your body, and your health insurance pays for that. So if you lose a limb, they’ll pay for a prosthetic or a wheelchair so you can get around. But what it won’t do is pay for a ramp to help you get in your house or a chair in your shower so that you can sit and take a shower since you are missing a leg and so since we don’t have a system for that. Um, you’re kind of at your own mercy, and you gotta find your own resources and. I don’t think that’s right? So that’s why we create accessible living because it’s really hard to put all those pieces together, especially because most people are only dealing with this for the first time, right? And so we have experience in doing it and so let us help shortcut it for you. So while it’s needed here in our physical locations also needed.

18:00.45

Lauren Conaway

Right.

18:12.00

Dr. Brandy Archie

Everywhere and so what we’re doing now is enhancing our services by building an app, and it’s called ask Sammy that’s spelled s a m I e and what our main Um. Superpower, I think at accessible living, is using our brains to figure out to match you with the right products and equipment for your needs, and while we really value being in that space. We also are just really good at asking the right questions in order to get to the best solution. And so we’re putting that in our app, and soon people will be able to go there to our website or download the app and answer a few questions which could be about yourself or about your loved one or somebody that you’re working with and then be routed to. Um. The right set of equipment for your needs and also be given, so additional suggestions about if you need this most of our clients also need this, and so that’s gonna be building in artificial intelligence too to that so that we can try to. Solve more problems in a shorter amount of time and decrease people’s stress levels because this is what I always say is if anybody is seeing me, It’s not their best day, right? Like I’m coming to try to help make things easier and so if we could take this one-piece off of somebody’s plate whether that’s.

19:31.87

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

19:41.99

Dr. Brandy Archie

The individual themselves who needs help or ah, somebody who’s helping a loved one or another professional who’s really trying to make connections for their clients because they see their need. We know that this is all outside of everybody’s everyday stuff. And we want to make that as easy as possible and as quick as possible. So then, once you get your list of things, then you can click in order from us and get it delivered to you so that we can serve people everywhere.

20:02.10

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

20:12.75

Lauren Conaway

That is absolutely incredible, and congratulations on not just conceiving of this very big thing. It feels very big. You know this app that you’re building but not only thinking of it, but you know, finding the tools and the resources to make it happen.

20:24.77

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, me here.

20:31.83

Lauren Conaway

I imagine that has probably not been easy. Um, one of the things that you mentioned was you know how you can take things off of your clients’ plates, and I do really quickly just want to remind everyone listening that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by FullScale.io. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. With Full Scale, they take things off your plate. They make your job as an entrepreneur easier. They help you build tech products, and they do it in a way that is supportive, and it can just remove so much of the headache. I mean, I got to ask you, you know, Brandy. Has it been hard building a tech product, particularly as a non-technical person I’m interested in being here inside?

21:12.39

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yes, that’s exactly what I was going to say. Yes, I’ve built a service business, and it’s integrated, but it is a service, and I’ve been doing that for a long time. So now this is a different, a whole different kind of business in a way, even though it’s our same mission. It’s different. It’s a tech business.

21:30.71

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

21:32.30

Dr. Brandy Archie

Not a service-based business, and so I’ve had to unlearn new vocabulary. I’ve had to meet new people. I’ve had to think about how our workflow is in a different way, so that is challenging, but I like it because I’m always trying to learn new things and also because the ultimate goal is.

21:42.53

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

21:51.46

Dr. Brandy Archie

To make sure that people have access to these resources, I appreciate that when we get done working with people. They often say you cannot believe how much easier you made that for us, and I’m so glad we found you and worked with you, and while I like that, I don’t think that it. They should have to find an individual or a business to do that. What about all the people and all the other places that we don’t physically touch. They need to have these solutions as well. So It is a big project. A huge project, and it’s needed everywhere.

22:13.62

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

22:29.91

Dr. Brandy Archie

And so that part is a little bit scary. I think that’s where the imposter Syon wants to come back to because I know it’s so huge. It’s such a thing, I know, but I’m gonna find I don’t have an answer all the time, but I’m gonna find a solution, and I really do think this will be a good solution that will help a lot of people in a lot of places.

22:33.38

Lauren Conaway

Oh, no-knock it out, girl. Knock it out. Yeah.

22:49.85

Dr. Brandy Archie

One good example I have of that is I had somebody who’s actually a friend who was ah who has family that lives in a different country and they were gonna go visit, and she was having trouble walking, and they were like a man. Really good it would be great if we had a wheelchair, but we have no way to access that in her country and so can I get one from you, and we’ll take it over there, so we figured out what we needed to all remotely didn’t actually meet the mother who was the person who was in need but was able to get them the right equipment they flew with it over there. And used it for their trip and the things that they were doing and came back and said that was such a game-changer for us to have that there was literally nowhere to access that kind of tool or piece of equipment in the place that she lived and so being able to bring that there was life-changing. And that put a lot of perspective on me on how big of a thing this is and how much we need to do in order to bring accessibility. Not just to America but to the world.

23:50.68

Lauren Conaway

Oh my gosh, I love that as a vision. I love how big you think because I do remember you. I think you even said that long ago at the pitch competition. I think you had even made mention of the fact that you hadn’t been operating very long as an entrepreneur, and I think I remember. Feeling like, oh man, like this, she just has so much potential. But she’s just getting started, and so to see the evolution of your personal growth as a founder and your organizational growth through accessible living like it is so cool to talk to you now because I just I can even see. How far you’ve come and so I just you know, please don’t take this the wrong way. But I’m super proud of you and the growth. The fact that you’re thinking globally and not just locally is incredible. That’s huge. You know, I really hope that you kick that imposter syndrome in the ass, but it sounds like you’re doing that. So.

24:49.93

Lauren Conaway

Congratulations. Um, so speaking of you know Dr. Archie’s growth accessible living is growth. You know the growth that you’ve seen you have over the course of your career, and I can think of a couple of different examples, but I’m sure there are more. You’ve experienced. You’ve gotten some recognition for the work that you’ve been doing. Um, I think I’m pretty sure you placed at that pitch competition. I forgive myself. I don’t remember where you placed. I do remind you that you were just named a small business superstar ah through the Kansas City chamber of commerce. You know, talk to us a little. But about that, what it’s been like to you’ve worked so hard. What is it like to receive recognition for your efforts?

25:32.68

Dr. Brandy Archie

You know, it’s really gratifying to be able to see especially other people, you know, nominate us for things and to know that we’re making an impact in our community because that’s really what my goal is and so. Um, glad to see that actually happening in life, and I think that it’s also really hard to start a business and to make it impactful and so while it might take longer than you anticipate. It’s great to have some level of. And you know retribution for that and just to know that it matters what you’re doing, I think that’s the most important thing is that it matters what you’re doing. We get that on a regular basis from the people we help every day, so that is cool but also on a bigger scale. It’s important too, and then the other literally functional thing about that is that’s been our main way of raising.

26:20.50

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

26:30.15

Dr. Brandy Archie

Funds and so this company has been bootstrapped and like I said I started and had a full-time job as I was trying to build this and so in that pitch competition that you mentioned I won the first prize which was $10000, and that was the first grant that we ever won and that. Took us a long way as far as being able to build the tools that we needed in-house in order to pull all of the things together that we needed in order to create the solution that we wanted to have, so we also have an app that is just for our with our in-house use just for all of the staff that works together.

26:50.95

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

27:03.87

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

27:05.79

Dr. Brandy Archie

And that helps us communicate better and be able to show people equipment on the spot and put out our quote sheet and our prioritized solutions right away because, really, time is of the essence because most of the people that we work with are coming out of the hospital or Rehab and they have about 2 or 3 days before they end up at home. So. Um, building that app was really key and cost money and so being able to have some funds and fundraise through grants and pitch competitions has been really important. So I’ve won a couple of more since then that were outside of the Kansas City area. So that’s really cool to see those other people who actually aren’t here in our area see our work and still see that this is an important thing that needs to be funded.

27:54.60

Lauren Conaway

For sure. How do you like to look back on where you started? Like do you think you could imagine where you’re at right now when you started on this journey, or were you imagining bigger?

28:04.60

Dr. Brandy Archie

Ah, you know, I think it’s twofold. I think originally, it’s imagining just being able to serve more people than I’m serving as an individual or in my career knowing that starting a business. Be able to impact more people. But then as you start doing that just by ones and twos turning into tens and twenty s and then hundreds of people, then you’re like okay, this is actually something that needs to be solved on a bigger larger scale, and we can do that and so. I think the vision turned out to be bigger and literally why our statement is accessibility everywhere. It’s not accessibility in Kansas City, and accessibility for a sixty-year-old is literally everywhere because everybody deserves to have it, and so once you have a little bit of success and you see how important it is, I think your vision has to grow.

28:58.22

Lauren Conaway

Oh man, I love that, and I wholeheartedly agree, as I think at the beginning of the journey. There are so many entrepreneurs like you. You’re almost tunnel vision-focused because you see the problem so clearly, and then you see the solutions so clearly as if you didn’t.

29:07.83

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um.

29:15.70

Lauren Conaway

You wouldn’t try to start your own thing. You know, by starting your own thing. You’re basically declaring to the world like I know how to fix this problem, and so I feel like when you first start, there’s like you’re just so focused. But then. As you get better at what you do and you grow in scope, and you figure out you know the accounting pieces and like all of those things that founders have to do. We’re not necessarily comfortable like most of us are comfortable and like in our lane like these are the things that I’m good at. But as a startup founder, particularly when you’re a solopreneur, and you’re just starting out, there are maybe only like 1 or 2 people on what you’re doing. You know you have to do everything, right? There is nobody else to do the marketing and the sales and the accounting and the back office bullshit. You know it gets mind that we get mired in, and so I love that statement like as you grow as an entrepreneur, your vision has to get bigger. It only makes sense that as you put experts into roles and you figure out how to activate people around what you’re doing that you have the grace in space. In your head to think bigger and do bigger, and so it’s just been. It’s been really lovely to hear that progression in you. For sure, speaking of that progression, talk to us a little bit about the future of accessibility. And and and I’m interested in the future of accessible living as a company, but I’m also interested in the landscape like what do you see coming down the pipeline for the kind of folks that you help that need your assistance.

30:57.26

Dr. Brandy Archie

I think that the world is starting to understand, or I should say the United States is starting to understand, that these things that we put in place for maybe better productivity and make our lives easier just as individuals who might be 30 and busy and have kids and don’t have time for grocery shopping so you use Instacart like I think that people are starting to see that while they might be developing it for that person. It actually has a lot of benefits for people who have disabilities. I use Instacart.

31:34.57

Dr. Brandy Archie

I use it but also because a lot of my clients use it because they can’t drive, or they don’t drive anymore, and they can’t get out, or maybe they can’t bring those groceries into the house from their car and so being able to order them makes it so much easier and so I think that we’re opening up our eyes a little bit more too.

31:34.82

Lauren Conaway

Same I.

31:54.10

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, more to understand a more diverse atmosphere exists in the world and that there’s a lot of use cases for the technology that we are developing, and so part of what we’re trying to do an accessible living is to try to match that with people’s needs and be up to date on what are the new tools that are out.

31:56.43

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

32:12.79

Dr. Brandy Archie

What are the new things that are being developed? I mean, so many people use an Alexa, which is not necessarily a disability tool but certainly does a ton for the elderly population who don’t just jump on a computer and Google things but can ask Alexa. What’s the weather gonna be today or give me the phone number of a plumber.

32:18.63

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

32:32.52

Dr. Brandy Archie

You know where I might just pull up my phone, and so I think that the landscape of accessibility or the goal of having accessibility everywhere is actually achievable because of all the things that we’re doing in technology for everyone because it evens the playing field a lot more.

32:33.18

Lauren Conaway

Wyatt.

32:45.20

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, that is so like that’s so good to hear a little bummed that it’s taken as long as it has but like I even point to like remote work. You know. Ah, so many companies are shifting over to remote work as a result of this global pandemic that we’re experiencing, but I talked to a startup founder recently, and she’s doing some work in this space, and it’s just so cool to me because you know now that companies have kind of changed like they’ve had to pivot. They’ve had to change how they conduct business. And remote work has become more and more accessible, acceptable, and even encouraged to think about the populations who maybe they can’t get around so easily they haven’t been able to find fulfilling work. You know their areas of expertise because it was too hard to get there.

33:36.50

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, and.

33:38.55

Lauren Conaway

So we’re opening up like all of these different avenues of opportunity, and it starts with you. You know, Brandy, it starts with you. Do you know? How do we get these people’s mobiles active, activated and fulfilled, and then you know the next piece is how do we. I don’t know how to help them get jobs. How do we make sure that we can connect them to other resources that can make their lives better and so I almost feel like you’re kind of the first part of the funnel on this journey that so many, so many are able to take, which is super cool? Super cool, like I’m applauding you right now, like clapping right next to my microphone, but I love that she really did, folks. I just watched her take a little bow. Um, all right? So I’m curious. What is?

34:22.86

Dr. Brandy Archie

I’m taking a little bow. I appreciate it.

34:33.59

Lauren Conaway

Future for Dr. Archie

34:35.88

Dr. Brandy Archie

Oh, so I think that the future for Dr. Archie is that asking Sammy is a global phenomenon, and that is the primary way that people go, the first thing that people go when they want information. About adaptive equipment or ways to care for a loved one or a client, and so I want that to be the place where you get information. You understand what these things can do for you or your loved one and understand why we’ve chosen to put that in our catalog of things. And then also have easy access to get to it, and so I want to be running that company and continuing to add more resources to it so that it continues to grow as our landscape changes and as we serve more people, so that’s the ultimate goal I think so that we can. Um, provide solutions for people everywhere.

35:32.32

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, well, that sounds like a super cool vision. You’re such a visionary. Um, what is your advice to tech startups out there that might be interested in getting into the accessibility tech space?

35:47.77

Dr. Brandy Archie

Oh, so my vice is a start now because we probably whatever you see as a problem we probably had that problem for a long time and.

35:51.88

Lauren Conaway

Okay.

35:58.70

Lauren Conaway

Well, and we have like the Boomer generation getting to the point where like they’re gonna I mean that is a large generation here in the US, and they’re all starting to have mobility issues and accessibility issues. So I would say that the market’s pretty ripe.

36:14.47

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yeah, and I would also define it in 2 different ways too. So like there’s accessibility with technology, and then there’s also using technology as an accessible tool, and I’m gonna tell you why they’re two different things. We talked about Alexa, that’s used as an accessibility tool.

36:26.95

Lauren Conaway

Okay.

36:34.17

Dr. Brandy Archie

Make my life easier by buying this tool. But also, when we’re actually accessing tech, that should be accessible too. So if creating a PowerPoint presentation or building a website for your business, use the alternative text so that if somebody is blind and using a screen reader, The screen reader will pick up that text.

36:39.72

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

36:53.67

Dr. Brandy Archie

That’s behind or embedded in that image, and then they’ll know what’s on that image even though they can’t see it, and so those are actually two different lanes, and both need lots of work and lots of ideas and hands in it and from a diverse group of people. More people have access to more things like it doesn’t bother my experience of your presentation at all or a website if you have alternative text included in behind embedded in your pictures, but it certainly makes a big difference for somebody who has low vision or is blind. So um.

37:24.44

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

37:27.66

Dr. Brandy Archie

So accessibility in tech and using tech as an accessible tool. The world is ripe for improving both of those areas, and people have more knowledge about it in general.

37:38.19

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, so start now is your advice to entrepreneurs who are interested in this rapidly growing rapidly more accepted. Space that I love. Do you have any of ah, any other thoughts that you want to share with our listeners.

37:57.54

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, no, start now, and you can do it, and even if you don’t feel like you know all the answers, you’ll figure them out. So let’s go.

38:01.88

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, that’s right, you got to take a page from Dr. Archie like you might not know, but you can figure it out. You got this. We believe in you. I have my human question.

38:11.60

Dr. Brandy Archie

Um, yeah.

38:19.35

Lauren Conaway

And I’ve been thinking about this for a hot minute. I’m just very curious like I like you, Dr. Archie. I’ve known you for a while, and as I said, I’ve kind of watched your career with interest. So I want to. I’ve been waiting to ask you this human question. Ah, but what is no, I’m going to ask it a different way.

38:36.17

Dr. Brandy Archie

Oh.

38:37.87

Lauren Conaway

Ah, if you could take anyone right now on a trip, all expenses paid for a luxurious trip, who would you take with you?

38:48.80

Dr. Brandy Archie

Oh my gosh, see, what you don’t know about me is that it’s really hard for me to pick favorites or 1 of anything like this.

38:56.20

Lauren Conaway

Right now. So here’s the day. All right, I’m going to make this a little bit like a little less pressure. This is who Dr. Archie would pick right now. That’s not to say that that answer might not change. You know, according to her mood and whim. Later on. So if you are a loved one of Brandy, please do not feel slighted. This is just what she’s feeling at the moment.

39:16.65

Dr. Brandy Archie

Don’t feel slighted. Yes, okay, so here’s how I answer this question. Yes, no family or friendship feels slighted. Because I can—in actuality—we can plan a trip and go somewhere. But I’m going to use my free wish here to pick somebody that I might not actually be able to access.

39:33.35

Lauren Conaway

Oh, but she’s playing the game. She’s playing the system, y’all. It’s that visionary piece. Yeah.

39:33.78

Dr. Brandy Archie

And would like to know about that. I’m always trying to, you know, find a way to shortcut the system. So I think that I, and this is just literally right now. I think that I would want to take Nikole Hannah Jones on a trip to pick our brains.

39:42.98

Lauren Conaway

I love it.

39:56.95

Dr. Brandy Archie

And I’m gonna tell you why. This is the journalist who wrote the 1619 Project, and I’m reading the new book that came out. And I just think that she’s gone through a ton of life experiences.

40:00.35

Lauren Conaway

Um, ah, master.

40:12.74

Dr. Brandy Archie

I’d really like to know how she deals with all of that, you know. And I also just really like journalism, their investigative minds, and willingness or desire to get to the bottom of everything.

40:20.85

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah.

40:31.95

Lauren Conaway

Quite her.

40:32.69

Dr. Brandy Archie

So I would just love to glean from that knowledge and experience cause I think that’s problem-solving at its best. So I could use some of those skills too.

40:38.40

Lauren Conaway

I love that answer. That is such a great answer, and I love how diplomatic you were. You were like, well, I’m just gonna do the dream because I can and also because I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Like you’re so diplomatic. I do have to tell you that I actually just recently bought the 1619 Project. I have not cracked into it just yet. It looks like a super-dense read, and I’m like, I need to be in the right headspace to start this. But I highly recommend it. 

41:05.73

Dr. Brandy Archie

Yes, we do the literature.

41:10.81

Lauren Conaway

Anybody who is interested in history, race, and culture in, you know, our country. Definitely give it a read. I’ve heard so many good things about it. Like I have so many people who have come to me and say, Laur, you have to read this book. And I’m like, all right, I will, I promise. But no, that is an excellent choice. I got to tell you, Dr. Archie, I am so very grateful for you for taking the time to come and chat with me and be on the show. This has been fun, and I just want to say a huge thank you. You’re awesome.

41:44.80

Dr. Brandy Archie

Thanks for having me. I’ve really had a good time and a great conversation. So thanks.

41:49.38

Lauren Conaway

Awesome! I do have to thank our episode sponsor once again. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Full Scale, helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. We love Full Scale so much. All the hugs and good vibes in the world for them because they sponsor a lot of our episodes. And they are the organization that makes this possible. They make entrepreneurs’ lives better by taking things off their plates and helping founders build really, truly awesome tech products. So [I am a] huge fan of Full Scale. Also, as huge fans of social media, [I would like to] invite all of our listeners at home to check us out. Startup Hustle is highly accessible, friends, it really is. You can find us on Facebook. We have a Startup Hustle chat [and I] invite you to join that. If you want to continue the conversation, ask questions, and talk to the hosts, like me, Matt DeCoursey, [and] Matt Watson, we’re all members. We all contribute to the chat—we’re on Instagram; we’re on LinkedIn; we’re on Twitter. Come and find us. We want to continue these conversations with you. And friends, I would be very remiss if I did not also thank you, our listeners, for taking the time to listen to us week after week. We are super grateful to you and for you. We will catch you on the flip side.

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