Project Passion: The Power of Wheelchair Rapunzel
Alex Dacy has done it all. A fierce advocate, writer, influencer, and friend of Knix, she’s also a small business owner. The creator and founder of Wheelchair Rapunzel & Co., her online store features designs specifically aimed to empower everyone to culminate self-love and acceptance through inclusion and style. Her first collection, Love Your Genes, was inspired by Alex having a genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s one of many collections she’s created that spotlights beautiful body positive, inclusive and empowering statements. Read on to learn about how Alex started her journey, and where she sees her passion project going next. Meet Alex.
Building a brand from the ground up that represents everything I’m passionate about — disabled bodies, representation, inclusion, self-love, and boss babe vibes — has been one of the best and most rewarding things I have done in my life.
After graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, and moving to the city of Chicago to pursue a career I had always dreamed of, I was let down. I blissfully went on interview after interview, hoping to get a call back.
Unfortunately, the phone never rang.
I was left with silence, contemplating why no one would hire me and questioning my worth. Blaming it on my disability. Thinking about how I probably didn’t get hired because disability is seen as inadequate in the workplace. And in life.
My entire life, I have been trying to prove myself. Prove that my disability doesn’t make me inadequate, but it makes me an asset.
While job searching, I quickly spiralled into a very toxic mindset that was hard to dig myself out of.
I decided I needed an outlet to express myself. That’s why I started sharing my life on Instagram on @thewheelchair_rapunzel. I quickly found that I had an uncanny ability to story-tell and use the platform to give a voice to myself and my disability. Then something funny started happening: as my following grew, so did my voice and my message of self-love. I not only learned to be unapologetic in my messaging, but in my life and advocacy work as well.
So I thought— why not make a career out of it? After all, I saw a bunch of other influencers doing it, many of whom were not disabled. Why not me?
After I hit around 7,000 followers, I launched my first product through WheelchairRapunzel & Co. From there, my (once little) shop has grown to have over 30 products that were all designed by me (and a helpful artsy friend behind the scenes). My apparel is worn all over the world by people who celebrate and share my love for inclusion, representation, self-love, and disability.
I have big dreams for this passion project of mine. I hope to one day sell my apparel and designs in stores across the USA or even have my own store. I’d love to eventually launch my own loungewear and intimate apparel line. What a dream that would be.
Through this journey, I’ve found the somewhat cliche saying “if you do what you love, you will be successful” to ring SO entirely true. And I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
Thanks for sharing Alex. Follow her on Instagram here, check out Wheelchair Rapunzel & Co, and support Alex's new journey in funding a new wheelchair accessible van below.