Inspire us with your Northern Michigan INVENTION!

Meet: Brittany Luea

Inventor. Entrepreneur. Architect. Owner of ComenityMED, LLC.

Brittany Luea, inventor of medical women’s foot supports, produced by ComenityMED LLC. Photography by Scarlett Piedmonte Photography.

Meet Brittany Luea: Inventor, entrepreneur, architect, and owner of ComenityMED, LLC

Brittany Luea is looking out for females across the country with her latest invention, silicone foot supports. Sounds glamorous, right! Well, she invented these foot pads to make your yearly woman’s visit a little bit more comfortable. Find out more about the details of her story and process in the interview below. In addition to her impressive professional endeavors, she is a wife, a mom, and a dog mom of two. She always makes time for yoga, loves to read, and is an avid volunteer in the community.

Brittany Luea’s Foot Supports, produced by ComenityMED LLC. Photography by Scarlett Piedmonte Photography.

Brittany, what is your 30 second elevator story of who you are and what you do: I’m always fascinated by the question, “What do you do?” By trade, I’m an architect, but recently shifted gears to focus on co-founding comenityMED®, an innovative medical accessories company aimed at Pursuing Patient Comfort. comenityMED® manufactures patent pending Resilient® Professional Foot Supports for exam table stirrups that provide patient comfort and are easily sterilized between patients.

What makes you passionate about your product? I’m passionate about our product because it solves a simple but broad reaching problem in healthcare. Often times, medicine is not associated with comfort. Our products offer an alternative to traditional medical design that focus more on ergonomics. I love to make things and solve problems and by teaming up with a physician, we’re able to utilize our skills in medicine and design to provide innovative medical solutions. 

How did you develop your idea? It’s kind of a funny story, but it all started with a simple dinner conversation. My friend, Autumn Bridger DO, shared an idea she had for exam table stirrup covers and we spent the evening brainstorming about materials and how it could work. I was excited that she wanted to team up with me to make it happen! Although it took a few years to bring it from concept to product, we knew that evening what we wanted it to be. We utilized 3d modeling and printing for a few of our prototypes, then eventually made a steel mold that we now use for our finished silicone products.

What is it like to run a small business out of Northern Michigan? I love it! I absolutely love living in Northern Michigan. Our products are available online and our distribution center is here in town. The best of both worlds! 

Tell us about what you are looking forward to in the future. I’m looking forward to life after the pandemic. It’s been a great time to reflect and consider what direction we want to take going forward as a business. Based on the success of our first product, we know that our idea of providing serializable medical equipment that focuses on Pursuing Patient Comfort is here to stay! 

How do you balance family and running a small business? It’s definitely a balancing act. My primary focus is always my family, but I’ve set up my work life in a way that allows me to enjoy the benefits of both. 

How have you handled the current pandemic and Michigan Stay-at-Home orders? During the pandemic, my partner, Autumn, and I raised money to help provide over 700 masks for our community.  Juliette at Posh in Traverse City helped to sew the majority of these (she deserves tons of credit here!) along with my business partner, Autumn. I gathered materials locally and along with Autumn, worked on fundraising. A team effort with great results!

Brittany Luea is a licensed Architect in the State of Michigan. She received her Master of Architecture with Distinction as well as her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The University of Michigan. Brittany loves all things creative and innovative. Find more information about her Traverse City based company,  ComenityMED, LLC on their website: www.comenitymed.com  Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @comenitymed

A Better World Day:
Friday, May 1st, 2020

This week a number of local Traverse City kids have a big and inspiring event happening! Friday, May 1st is “A Better World Day” and is part of the local charter school’s literacy curriculum of EL Education. One of the Old Mission Peninsula School teachers, Ms. Thomas, shared with us more information about the day, which has been changed, but not forgotten. With this year’s state’s Stay At Home orders, Ms. Thomas tells us how we can still participate and give back, while  continuing to keeping our distance! She explains the event, “A Better World Day is a Nationwide event hosted by EL Education each year on first Friday in May, and OMPS is proud to be a part of it again this year! Last year our students helped to clean the beaches and trails at the Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse, and this year’s plan cannot be carried out since we are out of school, but we are hoping you will still participate in a day of service and spreading kindness during this tough time. If you would like to participate on May 1st we ask (while practicing social distancing) you all choose an activity to show kindness or support to our community.  We can’t wait to see what you do. Please post a picture online of your Better World Day adventure and add the hashtags #BetterWorldDay and #OMPS”   Since I didn’t have a great picture of the OMPS students volunteering, I put a picture of last year’s BayShore Marathon where my family and A LOT of our friends cheered on the runners and handed out water. It was SO MUCH fun and I think the runners enjoyed the extra H2O! I encourage everyone to try to do something special this week to help make our world a better place.   xoxo Kristy 

 

PoWeR! Book Bags 

Empowering children to Play, Write, and Read today for a better tomorrow!

With all of the sad and bad news in the world, I wanted to share some happy things that are happening in Northern Michigan. I understand the importance of empowering children to love books at an early age. There are MANY great organizations doing just that in Michigan, one of which is PoWeR! Book Bags. They are a non-profit working to break the cycle of poverty through literacy, giving out books to kids across Northern Lower Michigan.

As an indie publisher, my company, KPO Creative LLC, has donated over 1,800 books in the past three years to PoWeR! Book Bags. (In case you didn’t know, I have four bright and colorful board books that were created to foster a love for books at an early age, after reading this, click on this link to check them out!) It is my joy to see my board books being put to good use in my community! It makes me so happy to know that kids are enjoying my baby books, especially in this time of homeschooling and home learning. My hope is that the fun stories and colorful illustrations are helping to foster a love of reading and playing with books! Here is a little bit more about the project:

PoWer! Book Bag’s mission is to expand the number of books that children own and to increase children’s experiences with language, literacy, and human interaction. Since they began four years ago, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization allowed children to choose 110,000 books for their very own, along with 27,722 book bags that contain playing and writing materials. The kids also get a useful purple bag to carry all their picks! The group has grown and now serves children at 21 pantries and sites of assistance and 17 schools (soon to be 21)! They offer both new and used books and the kids love picking out their own books on topics they are passionate about!

Kara Murphy Gregory, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of PoWeR! Book Bags wrote about “Magic Numbers” in her 2019 annual report: “In the research, these special numbers are correlated with a child’s future life potential. When there are 10-20 books in the home, this is “typical’’ and the child is likely just to do OK. If there are 100 books in the home, the child is more likely to graduate from high school and go on to post-graduation degrees, such as college or skill training. BUT if there are 500 books in the house, it is the equivalence of the mom having a university degree. These children are likely to graduate from college and go on for further education. These children are unlikely to live in poverty!” Well, Kara and her team of enthusiastic volunteers and donors are working hard to put books into children’s hands, and doing a great job at it!! As an author and mom, I am honored to be a small part of helping make this project happen in Northern Michigan! Kudos to Kara Murphy, you are doing a great job! Keep up the strong work and keep making kids (and parents) smile! xoxo Kristy 

The organization has expanded from its original book bag project to include a summer literacy program, school vacation giveaways, Books on the Bus program, and special summer programming. For more information visit and to learn how you can help the cause visit: www.powerbookbags.orgemail: powerbookbags@gmail.com  PoWeR! Book Bags P.O. Box 533, Suttons Bay, MI 49682

PoWeR! Book Bags at a Glace

(info provided by PoWeR! Book Bags):

PoWeR! Book Bags is a Northern Lower Michigan non-profit that works to break the cycle of poverty through literacy. Two well-documented predictors of how well children will do later in life are: 

  • How many words a child has experienced before kindergarten, and
  • How many books a child owns.

PoWeR! Book Bags provides free books and literacy materials to children and families. This increases their access to literacy through: 

  • Their books, which increase the number of words in kids’ experience. 
  • Their book bag materials, which support literacy experiences by encouraging kids to play, write, and read, increasing their interactions with language and with each other.

PoWeR! Book Bags partners with local schools, food pantries, and social service distribution points already at work in the community, which means: 

  • PoWeR! Book Bags target kids where they already are, using structures already in place.
  • Every donation goes straight into literacy materials and programming for kids in the community where it’s donated. 

60,000 books distributed in 2019 = 110,000 books in 4 years

2016: 8,000+ 

2017: 17,000+

2018: 25,000+

2019: 60,000+

These books are all selected by the kids and families, 

making them more likely to be read over and over again!

9,500 book bags distributed in 2019 = 27,722 total

12,490 kids served in 2019

21 sites of assistance

17 schools for School Vacation Book GiveAways in 2019 

 

Picture provided by PoWeR! Book Bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do small things with great love” 
                              -Mother Teresa