EveryHuman founder Matthew Skerritt is passionate about offering stylish adaptive clothing to every body.
Ask Matthew Skerrit to describe the best part of his job and his answer is simple: the customers.
“We have people writing to us, on a daily basis, saying ‘I absolutely love what you guys do, you’ve changed my life.’”
It’s no wonder Skerrit receives such heartfelt feedback; as the founder of EveryHuman, an online adaptive fashion e-commerce site, Skerritt offers stylish clothing and footwear to people with disabilities.
That means shoes with zippers for those with mobility restrictions; seamless jeans for people in wheelchairs; or clothes with magnets instead of buttons.
Skerritt’s aim? “To empower and inspire people to be proud of who they are”… It’s something I’m really passionate about. Clothes matter – they allow you to express yourself,” says Skerrit, who frequently receives messages from grateful mothers who have shopped with the site.
“We had one mother writing to us, saying ‘I’m in tears. My 25-year-old son has been able to put on his own shoes for the first time’. Before then, she’d been literally getting a pair of scissors and cutting a slit along the side of the shoe [to make it accessible for her son].
“It’s absolutely amazing. I find it very powerful.”
This month, Skerritt and EveryHuman are showcased in Afterpay's Make it your way series, which celebrates entrepreneurs who are forging their own path, and building businesses that are true to their passions and convictions.
Today, Skerritt lives and breathes adaptive fashion. However, two years ago, he knew very little about the industry – or the fashion world in general.
Before launching EveryHuman, he was an accountant, who then worked in his dad’s retirement home business – where he witnessed many of the elderly residents’ struggling to dress themselves on a daily basis.
“When you get older your ability to do up a button-down shirt really changes,” says Skerritt. “They get very frustrated, and you really feel for them.”
It was while researching solutions that Skerritt discovered adaptive clothing – and soon realised the need was even greater than elderly people, with one in six Australians living with some form of disability.
After months of preparation, including attending trade fairs and speaking to those with lived experiences of disability, Skerritt launched EveryHuman in December 2019.
He admits that the first six months were turbulent. “It was pretty tough. We had logistical challenges because of Covid-19… we had cashflow challenges. It was a little bit touch and go there for a while.”
Through the challenges, Skerrit continues to be driven by a desire to help people with disabilities express themselves through their clothing. “Our clothes help empower people. We offer choice. For a long time, people with disabilities were overlooked by the fashion industry. Brands were nervous because they didn’t know how to approach it.
“I think that’s wrong, but it’s slowly changing. And we’ve just got to keep persisting and working with people who are passionate in this space to make that change happen.”
A lack of stylish options for people – and especially young people – with disabilities can affect confidence, says Skerritt, who stocks brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Dr Martens on EveryHuman.
“If you’re a young person – a child or a teenager – with a disability you’re already on the outer. To be wearing clothes that aren’t cool makes it worse.”
Skerritt says that Afterpay has helped make EveryHuman’s products even more accessible to those with disabilities.
“Afterpay has helped us attract customers. We put [the Afterpay logo] on all our social media. It’s very, very visible throughout the checkout process and on the homepage of our website,” says Skerritt, who adds that through Afterpay’s Cross-Border Trade Programme, EveryHuman has also found new customers in other regions such as New Zealand.
“Afterpay provides choice] and we provide choice. We allow people to express themselves through choice… and be independent as well. Afterpay has been a great supporter of ours.”