When her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, North Dandalup mum Megan Wassink was inspired to create a range of colourful adhesives for CGMs, and now takes orders from across the world.
Hayley Wassink was just two when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
For mum Megan, helping Hayley, now 10, manage the condition for the past eight years has been a rollercoaster of emotions.
But in recent years, it became the catalyst for their booming family business, RockaDex.
Starting out five years ago in their living room, RockaDex is a range of bright, colourful and custom-made adhesives for sensors used with sensor technologies like Dexcom, Freestyle Libre and Medtronic.
Megan says the idea was born after Hayley struggled to keep the CGM sensor attached to her arm.
“We were just having issues trying to get the Dexcom (sensor) to stick on her,” Megan explains.
“And using the patches, we were getting three weeks out of the sensors, so it was saving us a third of the price.
“But thankfully now with the funding from the government, it’s not as important, it’s more about how they look. But definitely back then, it was all about securing it and we were the first ones in the world to come up with the idea.
“Since then, we’ve had quite a few people follow suit, which is good because at least there’s a lot for people to choose from.”
Initially colouring and cutting out each patch by hand, RockaDex patches now come in a variety of shapes, colours and patterns which have been tried-and-tested by Hayley herself.
“When I first stuck it on Hayley, we thought ‘Oh that looks boring’ so we were literally colouring it in with Textas and then it went from there,” Megan explains.
“And we were on Facebook and other diabetes mums were like ‘Can you do that for us?’ and then it kind of evolved from there.”
Megan says the design process is a family effort, with her three kids providing ideas and feedback on the latest colours, prints and patterns.
“If we’re brainstorming a new idea…I’ve got a son who’s a bit older, and he will have a look and tell me what’s popular,” she says.
“It’s a real group effort – I’ll come up with an idea and get everyone’s input.”
Designs have continued to evolve, so much so that Megan now takes requests for custom-design patches.
“People might say to us ‘My kid likes cats or dogs’ so then we can print images onto that,” she says.
“So that’s really evolved over the last six months…and we can be a lot more creative with the actual
cut outs themselves.”
Since its inception, RockaDex has produced and sold thousands of patches to customers all around the globe.
“We do get quite a few international orders,” Megan says.
“We’ve got a distributor in the US, New Zealand, Canada and one in Poland. I’ve got an office where the business is based at my home, because we’ve got a big property. But I love seeing orders come in from all the different countries like the Netherlands…So that’s always exciting, and it’s been really good for my geography.”
Having begun as a personal passion project, Megan admits she never imagined the business would grow to what it is today.
“When I first started the business, and obviously because we were the only ones in the world doing it, I worked so hard to push it,” she said.
“I would get up and test Hayley at 12am or 3am and while I was up testing the highs or lows I would quickly jump on and respond to
emails and comments because in the US it’s daytime, so people are expecting responses.
“Sometimes it’s a bit stressful working seven days a week and trying to keep on top of things but the joy that it brings to other people, makes it worth it.
“It really makes my day when I get these photos and emails from people saying thank you and that it is making such a difference. It’s nice to be able to do something for people who are going through what these kids and adults are going through on a daily basis.”
But where does she see RockaDex heading in the next five years?
“I’d like to hope that it would continue going along and growing a little bit more,” she says.
“But it is what we refer to as a ‘limited-time business’, because ideally I’d like to see a cure for type 1 and then throw everything in the bin, but clearly that’s not just around the corner.”
To view the range of patches, visit rockadex.com.au.