Stoma Bag Covers – A Confidence Booster for Ostomates

Deborah's bid to help a friend resulted in a business.

Originally published on: September 21st, 2021.

When Deborah decided to help boost a friend’s confidence after undergoing stoma surgery, she didn’t realise that it would become a successful business selling stoma bag covers. Here Deborah tells us her story.

Tell us the story of what led you to setting up your stoma cover business?

Stoma Bags By Deborah Jane
Stoma Bags By Deborah Jane

A close friend of mine suffers from Ulcerative Colitis.  A couple of years ago she underwent surgery which resulted in a stoma bag. Lauren was 27, about to get married, and found that the stoma bag had a real impact on her confidence. In an attempt to make her feel a bit more confident, I decided to play around on my sewing machine and came up with a bag cover (using the material from one of my daughter’s old dresses!).

From that first bag cover, Lauren and I worked together at perfecting the design and wearability, and then ‘By Deborah Jane’ was formed. Now I offer bag covers in a range of shapes and sizes and even do bespoke ones. These are available in a variety of beautiful cotton prints.

How do you think stoma covers help ostomates?

I think it’s really important for ostomates to have accessories that can bolster their confidence. The bag covers also help to reduce any discomfort on the surrounding skin.  This is especially true in warmer weather.

What does your friend think of your business?

This response is directly from Lauren – 

When I had my surgery, I was initially unaware of stoma covers. When I did look into this, I was really disappointed with the choice available. As my surgery was just 7 weeks before my wedding, a helpful nurse suggested an elastic support band but as this was only available in beige, white or black, it left me feeling uncomfortable and unattractive.

This was before Deborah started her company. Stoma covers make my stoma bag feel like an accessory that I have artistic control over. I love the quality of Deborah’s products and I feel really pretty when I wear the covers.  They’re also very comfortable, which makes a real difference to the surrounding skin.

I’m still saddened when I talk to relatives and friends of new or young ostomates who have no idea of the ‘non-medical’ looking options available to them, such as Deborah’s beautiful stoma covers.

Did you have any previous experience with haberdashery/ dressmaking?

I’ve always enjoyed sewing and have made a few clothes for my daughters and myself.

How important do you think it is to offer practical support to friends with a chronic illness?

It is so important to me to be able to offer practical support to friends. I cannot take their illness away, but what I can do is try to make life a little easier or more enjoyable for them.

What advice would you give to someone who has a friend/family member in the same situation?

To gently find out what your friend needs, it may not be what you think they need.  Even though you may find their situation upsetting or difficult, don’t hold back from giving them full support and a listening ear.

Further Information

You can find Deborah’s stoma bag designs in her Etsy shop online or you can email Deborah [email protected]. Find her on Instagram @by_deborah_jane

You can find more information about Ulcerative Colitis and having stoma surgery in our Stoma Hub, for information on stoma bags, what to expect after stoma surgery and more.