Who would have thought a hair accessory could do so much good?!
Entrepreneur Jess Ekstrom was just 20 years old and still studying in university when she found her life’s calling.
In 2012, she was an intern with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a wish-granting organisation for youngsters with life-threatening illnesses, and was spending lots of time with children with cancer who’d lost their hair during chemotherapy treatments.
She noticed that a lot of the girls weren’t interested in wearing hats and wigs, that can be itchy. So they turned to headbands, a simple accessory which helped them feel beautiful and fashionable again. “They really wanted to restore their self-confidence after hair loss,” Ekstrom told Women’s Health.
She did some online research and realised that there were no businesses donating headbands to kids with cancer, only wigs and chemo hats.
That’s when Ekstrom had her lightbulb moment: She would design headbands and for every headband she sold, she would give a headband to a child battling cancer. The new concept was aptly named Headbands of Hope.
Ekstrom ran the business by herself from her college dorm room. She worked with her manufacturer in North Dakota to offer customers eight different headbands in the beginning. By the time she graduated a year later, Headbands of Hope had sold 10,000 headbands and Ekstrom was ready to make it her career.
Today, there are hundreds of options available (online and in hundreds of stores in the States), and in 2017, Ekstrom announced that that the company had donated more than 200,000 headbands to children across America.
“As we’ve visited the hospitals over the past four years, it’s been amazing to hand out the headbands and watch the patients react when they look in the mirror,” the businesswoman told The Huffington Post.
“One simple accessory can bring so much light and confidence during a time when it’s really needed. Some hospitals even store extra headbands for the moment when a patient chooses to shave his or her head and they put a headband on before they look in the mirror.”
The business, which has the slogan ‘Pretty Headbands with a Prettier Cause’, has also started hosting DIY Headband Days at children’s hospitals.
“Typically, we just deliver a bunch of cool headbands that the kids love, but we wanted to get the kids involved,” the founder and CEO wrote on the Headbands of Hope blog.
“We thought it would be fun and interesting to put the designs in the hands of the kids. We supply the kits, and they create the headbands. It has been a huge hit and the kids love using their creativity and imagination. Plus, a lot of the kids end up gifting their headbands they made to friends and family, which I also think is adorable!”
The Headbands of Hope Infinity Turban is a fresh twist on a beautiful classic turban-style headband. Made from super soft material, each headband stretches and adjusts at the front to fit any head size, from babies to adults.
The Tube Turban is an easy, comfy way to style up your hair. The turban design can be worn in so many different ways – as a headband, a hair scrunchie, or even a trendy neck scarf or bracelet.