TCOM student and wife launch “one-stop, no-scratch” mitten shop
Baby mittens are perhaps the crown jewel of cuteness for little hands and feet. However, they can also be hot, sweaty and cumbersome for babies trying to use their hands.
Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine student Cole Romney and his wife Kimberlynne noticed this with their infant daughter soon after she was born in July of 2016. They didn’t like it.
“So my wife decided to look into making her own mittens with the purpose of protecting our little one from scratching herself but also allowing her to see and interact with her hands, as well as making them breathable,” Cole said.
After nearly a year of research, testing fabrics and designs, Coraboo Clothing was born in January 2018. Billed as the “one-stop, no–scratch shop” the couple purchased ads on social media platforms to spread the word. Predictability, business was slow at first, but gradually picked up. Before Cole and Kimberlynne knew it, they were receiving orders for infants, older children, teens and adults suffering from various skin conditions and neurological disorders.
“The requests came from parents of kids’ with eczema, trichotillomania, dermatitis, traumatic brain injuries, burns, special needs, and many more,” Romney said. “We also received orders from loved ones of those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, psoriasis, and other conditions to help prevent self–harm. As we expanded our business to fulfill these needs, our orders skyrocketed. At peak times, we hired independent contractors to mass produce our most popular products.”
Business was booming, but Cole was a medical student and had to find a way to balance a new-born, a new business and a new career. The Romney’s household also grew with the addition of their son as Cole started his second year at TCOM. Life got even more complicated when Cole suffered a knee injury requiring surgery. Kimberlynne was there to support him.
“Kimberlynne is my rock,” Cole said. “She not only has taken on the role as primary caretaker for our kids and home throughout medical school, but she has always shown me unwavering support.”
Colei is also an Officer in the United States Air Force. He was commissioned by his grandfather, Kent Linebaugh, in the spring of 2017. In the summer of 2019, he spent five weeks at the U.S Air Force Officer Training and was selected to be one of a few officers to hold a role at the Wing level, assigning topics and overseeing weekly intelligence reports.
He never neglected his classmates or medical school responsibilities though. Cole was the Vice President and 3rd–year representative in the Ophthalmology Club, Secretary in the Neurology Club and Historian in the HSC Association of Sports Medicine. He also volunteered to lead a service project with RISE Adaptive Sports and volunteered over 50 hours with the group.
Meanwhile, Coraboo Clothing pulled in over 3,100 orders, but the couple had to suspend operations, though not because of the pandemic. The Romneys are welcoming their third child in January 2021, but the impact of the company has left an indelible mark on the pair.
“My wife and I have been brought to tears on many occasions reading the stories that our customers have shared with us,” Cole said. “It has been a unique experience to learn about these conditions in medical school and then see how these customers have been able to find relief with our products.”
Cole is now a fourth-year medical student on rotation with an eye towards Anesthesiology. He’s on active duty in San Antonio at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he will pursue his residency. And if the Romney name sounds familiar, yes, Cole is a second cousin twice removed of the current United States Senator from Utah and former Presidential nominee, Mitt. Cole is carving out his own name.
“Although the year has been full of chaos and uncertainty, I am lucky enough to have an incredible support system,” Cole said. “My wife and kids bring me so much joy and help keep things in perspective.”