Want to read in Dutch? Click here.
For most men putting on a shirt is no problem. It’s something you don’t have to think about. But closing all those buttons one by one can be a challenge for some people. This could be because of a physical disability or simply because it is time-consuming. Mehdi De la Haye thought it was time for a solution and set up the NoButtons brand.
Mehdi worked for a home care service in the Heerlen area for many years. She noticed how difficult it was for people with disabilities to continue their life as independently as possible. When her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago, she again saw firsthand the struggle when doing everyday tasks, including the daily ritual of getting dressed. This simple task became an enormous struggle. The buttons on his shirts were particularly problematic, and he didn’t want to wear a T-shirt every day. Mehdi was determined: there had to be a solution.
She started researching and quickly concluded that Velcro had to be the solution for this problem. The shirts needed to look smart with the buttons visible on the outside, the inside of the shirt would close with Velcro.
With the help of her trusted sewing machine, Mendi spent over two years testing different shirts and Velcro. This was no easy task, as most types of Velcro lose sticking power after a few washes. In the beginning, she made the shirts herself and had them tested countless times by friends. Once she found a design that worked, she started looking for a factory that could supply the shirts.
This also turned out to be a challenge. She wanted to make sure that the shirts were made under good working conditions, needed a small print run, and a good price. The shirts had to be affordable. Eventually, she found a factory in the Czech Republic that could make the shirts. She created a webshop, placed her first order, and at the end of 2015 NoButtons was born.
Buttonless shirts appear to be a gap in the market
It turned out that Mehdi’s father was not the only one in need of this type of shirt. Not long after the launch, the orders rolled in and she received enthusiastic feedback.
Customers worldwide now order her shirts and she regularly releases new styles, prints, and colors. Mendi’s shirts are not only popular amongst people who find it difficult to get dressed, her market is expanding with many people just loving the simplicity. She still works from home and sends out every order herself. If something is not right, people can return it and get their money back. But in all the years, no one has returned a shirt because of a quality issue, just the occasional return when someone orders the wrong size.
She has also not been bothered by competition until now. There is one company in America with the same concept, but their shirts are more expensive. There are also some companies using magnets, but this is not good for the washing machine and can be a challenge for people with a pacemaker. She is now busy expanding her collection and in search of a second factory.
Curious? You can order a shirt from €33.95 (excluding shipping costs) via the No Buttons webshop.