Paralympian model becomes ambassador for Glasgow start-up

Corien Staels, managing director of Wheelair, with new brand ambassador Samanta Bullock. Picture: contributed.
Corien Staels, managing director of Wheelair, with new brand ambassador Samanta Bullock. Picture: contributed.
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A Glasgow-based healthcare start-up has signed a former Paralympian as its latest brand ambassador.

Dragons’ Den-featured product Wheelair, owned by Staels Design, secured athlete and model Samanta Bullock as its second official ambassador.

Designed by managing director Corien Staels, Wheelair is an accessory which uses inbuilt fan technology to cool a wheelchair user’s back and core by taking away excess heat and moisture, in addtion to providing back support.

Bullock, who has been paraplegic since the age of 14 due to a bullet wound, played wheelchair tennis for Brazil between 2003 and 2009. Since then she has become a model and influencer, raising awareness of disabilities and promoting inclusion.

She said: “Wheelair is really going to change the game for wheelchair users. When talking to Corien, it was clear that the Wheelair brand is really in line with my own ethics on sustainability, which sealed the deal for me deciding to represent them.”

Staels said: “Samanta is a style icon not just for the disabled community, but for our community as a whole. The fact that she wants to represent us is a huge vote of confidence in the appearance of the design, which I am ecstatic about.

“I believe that there is no reason why disability products shouldn’t look good as well as solve a problem. That’s why when designing our backrest, I have never compromised on the appearance.”

Double paralympic and world champion wheelchair rubgy player Michael Kerr is also a brand ambassador.

Wheelair won the backing of Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones when Staels presented it on the Dragons’ Den television show, with the investors offering £75,000 in return for a 30 per cent equity stake.