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Meet Nicole Puzzo and Joanne DiCamillo of befree in Swampscott

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Puzzo and Joanne DiCamillo.

zipOns® pants were inspired by Nikki’s daughter Stella, who has spastic quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. At the age of 5 she had double hip surgery with a three month recovery. Her legs were double casted with a bar in between to set her hips. Nikki could not find any clothing to fit her. Stella’s surgeon at Children’s Hospital suggested dresses and blankets to cover her up. In efforts to make her recovery as comfortable as possible, Nikki created a pair of pants that open completely on both sides using a pair of pajama pants and some velcro and thus was able to dress Stella. Her surgeon was incredibly impressed when he saw the pants at her next visit and suggested making them for many other families with the same need.

Nikki shared this with her friend, Joanne, who was incredulous that a simple design with the potential for such positive impact did not already exist. Together they decided to make it happen.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a very positive and exciting experience so far. Our biggest challenge is finding enough time to dedicate to our startup along with our roles as parents and our other jobs.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our company is befree, and we are the creators of zipOns®, pants that are stylish and functional to meet the needs of the differently abled. Though clothing is a basic human need, for many people with a temporary or permanent disability, it is simply an ongoing daily hardship. The design of zipOns makes dressing and undressing safer, easier and more comfortable. They open completely on the sides with zippers that span from waist to hem, can be taken on and off without going up through the legs and can be widened from the bottom as needed.

Our story sets us apart as the idea for zipOns was born from the personal experience of Nikki and her daughter Stella. We saw firsthand how thoughtful clothing design can make a huge impact in someone’s life. Our goal is to pay it forward and offer our product so that others may also benefit. We are proud of our contributions to make clothing design more inclusive.

What were you like growing up?
Nikki – I was a free spirit who enjoyed the outdoors.
Joanne – I was a shy but mischievous tomboy.


  • $40.00 for zipOns Youth Sizes, available in navy and fuchsia
  • $55.00 for zipOns Adult Sizes, available in black

Contact Info:

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