Trigger warning: This blog post discusses hypoglycaemia and may be triggering for some readers.
I've been sliding into your email inbox and appearing in your Insta feed for long enough - I think it's about time I introduced myself! I'm Ash, lover of slow drip coffee and comfy sneakers, keeper of fine slimes (you're never too old for slime) and Founder of Stripped Supply. I've made it my mission in life to make diabetes easier and simpler - starting with delivering your supplies directly to your door without you having to think about it. And I owe it all to swiping right for a guy and his Golden 🐶
Tell me 5 years ago that one day I'd be running a company surrounded by needles, and I'd tell you to stop drinking the cool-aid.
Some people dream of running their own business when they're "older", but at age 10, my heart was set on being a television news reporter - and there was nothing that could make me change my mind.
Visiting The Courier Mail factory on a Year 5 excursion had me sold. The whir of the printing press, the grown-ups in suits flitting between desks, writing words for the whole of Queensland to consume. It felt ... important.
For over 10 years, I thought journalism was where I'd end up.
It seemed obvious - I spent school holidays creating my own newspapers reporting on my family (they loved it, obviously) and every QTAC preference sported the 'j' word at different Brisbane institutions.
But then I became a journalist. And it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought I would change the world with my words, telling powerful stories that people found difficult to share on their own. Stories people needed to tell, and stories people needed to read. Sure, I wrote stories. But I never told stories.
I came to realise media was too far gone by the time I arrived. It was commercialised beyond repair, so instead I moved into marketing. I thought, if I'm going to write advertisements, I may as well do it in broad daylight rather than trying to pass it off as 'editorial'.
My other half, Tristan. And his beloved fur child that made me swipe right (don't tell T!).
I met my boyfriend, Tristan, in 2016 on one dating app or the other.
To balance our modern way of meeting, we did movies and dinner on our first date. It was on this date that Tristan told me he has Type 1 Diabetes, dropping it into the conversation as if he told me he preferred roma tomatoes over cherry (not that T considers his tomatoes that deeply). It didn't make much difference - it was one of those 'first date facts' you share when you meet someone new. No big deal.
Two years passed and we moved in together. 2019. The year I realised - despite becoming accustomed to Tristan's 'happy go lucky' outlook on life - diabetes was more debilitating than what I'd realised.
You see, it's easy to hide how diabetes affects a person when you're out in the wild. Brunch dates, movie dates, overnight stays ... without meaning to, you can be sheltered from a lot.
That first Friday, in our new unit, I woke up on a mattress on the floor (we hadn't quite bought ourselves a bed yet) next to Tristan, who was speaking in ... numbers. There's no real way to explain it, but every time I would ask Tristan a question, he would answer - believe it or not - in a string of numbers.
I was scared. I didn't know what to do. We'd always talked about having a 'diabetes briefing' at some point, but since dating, Tristan had never experienced an episode so bad that he couldn't tell me what he needed. Sugar, insulin, at this point, I didn't know what either thing actually did.
Rest assured, I got some juice into Tristan STAT, and he was back to speaking in full sentences within minutes.
That experience, and every hypo since, is why Stripped Supply exists.
I don't have to tell you that diabetes is an illness that dictates all aspects of your life. It’s as demanding as a golden retriever in need of a feed, and causes absolute mayhem when it’s feeling unloved. And little ol' me, with my fear of needles and complete lack of diabetes knowledge, felt helpless.
So I started by joining the diabetes community on various social channels, and learning from other people living with diabetes to take some pressure off Tristan. Then I kicked it up a notch. I started fundraising, and through movie nights, Bunnings barbecues, charity bootcamps and selling funky socks, I raised $10,000 for diabetes research to find a cure for Type 1.
With the help of family and friends, including PT Emilia (left), I raised $10,000 for Diabetes Australia in 2021 and joined an Australian travel TV show (right) to raise awareness for diabetes.
But nothing I was doing was helping us right now. And I'm as impatient as I am ambitious.
Despite our best efforts, we're not strangers to the midnight drive to every 24/7 pharmacy in the neighbourhood, looking for one that has a spare box of Quicksets in stock.
The more people I chatted to in the diabetes community, and the more Facebook groups I lurked in, the more I realised that running out of supplies was a common problem. It doesn't help that the process of getting your hands on the bits and bobs keeping you alive is totally archaic.
Just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn't mean it's right. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to see an opportunity to do something in a different, and arguably better, way.
In my opinion, you've got far too much on your plate. Your mind is choc-a-block with to-do lists that never end. And that's why Stripped Supply was born. To take one tiny thing off your shoulders, and to ensure running out of medical supplies is never something you have to worry about.
Stripped Supply is for the working professional who prefers to spend their weekends sipping a spritz over waiting in pharmacy queues. It's for the mum who spends all her mental energy on her loved ones, always dashing into the chemist at the last minute to take care of herself. It's for anyone who wants to spend as little time as possible thinking about diabetes, and it's for you, who wants to live your life despite diabetes.
So welcome to Stripped Supply. We're Australia's first diabetes subscription box, and we're doing diabetes differently. I'm stoked to have you here, and I promise this community will never stop growing, and will never sway from our purpose: to make diabetes suck a little bit less.
Got questions? My DM's are always open. Shoot me a message or an email, I'd love to chat 😊