Izzy Wheels works with artists and top designers to transform wheelchairs into fashionable works of art. Today, the brand sells its wheelchair wheel covers to customers all over the world, but it all began right here in Dublin.

Sisters Izzy Keane and Ailbhe Keane founded the business back in 2016 when Ailbhe was a graphic design student at Dublin’s NCAD. Today, she is the company’s Creative Director.

Peter Varga spoke to Ailbhe Keane on behalf of Dublin.ie. She tells him about her path to entrepreneurship and the inspiration behind Izzy Wheels.

In conversation with Ailbhe Keane

When Izzy was little she always said that her favourite thing about being in a wheelchair was that her shoes never got dirty. They looked brand new every day and the lights never ran out in her favourite light-up runners. However, her real shoes were her wheels.

Rooted in a childhood custom

a young izzy keane sits in a wheelchair decorated with flowers

Izzy as a little girl

I remember we used to decorate her wheelchair for birthday parties and Halloween.

We filled them with fresh flowers once when she was a flower girl for a wedding.

At Christmas, we used to put tinfoil and lights around the wheels and lots of tiny Christmas decorations for the Xmas family show.

Izzy’s got such a bright and bubbly personality, but the first thing people noticed about her was her ‘medical device’ and that wasn’t a reflection of who she really is.

I always thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t think that it would create such a demand.

Having a shiny and colourful wheelchair always gave her confidence and a lot of attention on those special occasions. However, on regular days, she found it very frustrating and upsetting that there was nothing available to personalise it.

Meeting demand

Izzy Wheels started out as a college project. I had a self-directed project in my final year and I wanted to do something that was not only creative, but meaningful at the same time.

ailbhe keane of izzy wheels smiles and wears a floral blazer

Ailbhe Keane, Izzy Wheels. Image: Peter Varga

My mom is mad into gardening and I think this had a big influence on us loving flowers and colours so much. In this project, my love of flowers and colours paired up with a desire to help my sister – and we created Izzy Wheels.

We designed customisable spoke guards for wheelchairs. They attach to your wheel easily and the idea is that they transform your medical device into a piece of fashion and self-expression.

From college project to overnight success

With the success I achieved on my project, I thought we could create a website for Izzy Wheels and invite artists to create new designs to build an even bigger collection.

We launched the website in 2016 and, as soon as we started posting photos and designs online, it got huge attention and orders started to pour in from all over the world.

If you can’t stand up, stand out!

We won awards and were interviewed by so many media outlets. Instagram even invited us to take over their Instagram profile for 24 hours, which has over 224 million followers.

The best thing about the whole project is all the ideas I get to work on with my co-founder, best friend and sister – Izzy.

Today, Izzy and Ailbhe Keane work with the likes of Disney and Hello Kitty, as well as local and international artists. Find out more on Izzy Wheels’ website.

Tshirt on a hanger


Grown Clothing

Sustainable, ethical clothing designed in Dublin Grown Clothing is a Dublin startup that prints beautiful, simple designs on ethically-sourced, environmentally-friendly shirts and t-shirts. Its origins lie in conversations between three friends as they journeyed back and forth between Dublin and the West of Ireland, on swimming, surfing and scuba-diving trips. What inspired this sustainable startup? The ocean-loving friends were Neil McCabe, Stephen O’Reilly and Damien Bligh. They often noticed rubbish in the water and on the beaches they explored. This made them think about the ecological impact of plastics and modern fabrics – and how we pr


Profit with Purpose: Three Dublin Social Enterprises

The importance of sustainable and social enterprises Making your startup or existing business sustainable or ethical is a smart, future-proof option. Customers are now much more informed and aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. A more sustainable product or service will create a positive brand image that will impact the bottom line of many businesses.

Jennifer Rothwell, fashion designer.


Meet a Dubliner – Jennifer Rothwell, Fashion Designer

In conversation with Jennifer Rothwell Jennifer Rothwell is an Irish fashion designer, who spent many years living between the Big Apple and the Fair City. After graduating from Dublin’s NCAD in 1995, she gained practical experience with some of New York’s biggest design companies. Then, upon her return to Dublin, she launched her own brand: Jennifer Rothwell Design. By the following year, she had won the ‘Brown Thomas Designer Award’ at Dublin Fashion Week. And, since then, her designs have attracted celebrity cli