When N.C. State student Jessica Ekstrom interned with the Make a Wish Foundation, she never dreamed it would lead her to become an entrepreneur.
Touched by the young cancer patients she met during her time with the nonprofit which grants wishes to the terminally ill Ekstrom was inspired to start a business to help young women and girls whove lost their hair because of chemotherapy treatments. Headbands for Hope is a line of headwear that benefits the St. Baldricks Foundation for childhood cancer research.
For girls and women everywhere, their hair is a part of their feminine identity, says Ekstrom. Wigs can be uncomfortable and unappealing, especially to younger girls. I realized that headbands are the perfect way for these girls to keep their feminine identity and have a constant reminder that theyre not alone.
The headbands, which come in a rainbow of bright colors, arent just for cancer patients. Ekstrom works with a company in North Dakota to create the headbands and chooses styles she thinks will work for both those whove lost their hair and those who havent.
I get to choose what styles I like and what I think girls and women want, she says. I get feedback from women and girls of all ages to make sure the headbands are appealing for everyone.
Ekstrom, a junior at N.C. State University, has found it both a challenge and a help to start this company while shes a student.
Being at N.C. State has been the perfect launching pad for Headbands of Hope, she says. The students and faculty have been more than supportive every step of the way. Its been absolutely amazing to be able to reach out into all the different departments of the university, such as business, textiles, and graphic design, to help me in areas Im not familiar with.
The company is just now getting off its feet, but Ekstrom hopes to continue to grow her business long after graduation.
I want to inspire people to not just wear Headbands of Hope, but to start a fashion trend that makes a difference, she says. I would eventually like to make a line for boys as well, maybe wrist bands or baseball caps, but that will be later down the road!
The headbands are available at www.headbandsofhope.org. One dollar from each purchase benefits the St. Baldricks Foundation.
Psst. Want a tip?
Womens apparel brand Eileen Fisher has held a series of Tipster events in stores across the country, featuring staff merchandisers who offer shoppers style advice and host fashion shows. They bring the series to Raleigh at 1 p.m. today for the first such event in the Southeast, at Belk in Crabtree Valley Mall.
Eileen Fisher merchandiser Nicole Benuska will host a fashion show and discuss several of the looks in the show. During the event, Eileen Fisher and Belk will donate 5 percent of sales to Girl Talk, a local nonprofit that sets up student mentorships between high school and middle school girls. Attendees can also enter a raffle for a chance to win a $500 Eileen Fisher shopping spree. For more information, call 919-782-7010.
In the trunk this week ...
This weeks trunk shows sparkle with jewelry for every occasion. Heres the lowdown:
• Baileys Fine Jewelry hosts two jewelry designers this week at their Crabtree and Cameron Village locations. John Hardys latest pieces including the Bamboo Collection and the Chinese astrology-inspired Year of the Dragon Collection will be at the Crabtree location today and the Cameron Village location Saturday. On Friday, Slane designed by North Carolina sisters Heath and Landon Slane will debut new designs at the Cameron Village shop. For more information, visit www.baileybox.com.
• Vermillion in North Hills welcomes Carole Tannenbaum Vintage Collection for a trunk show today through Saturday. The show includes an assortment of vintage costume jewelry brooches, necklaces, earrings and others. For more information, call 919-787-9780 or visit www.vermillionstyle.com.
Hair and there
ULTA stylists will teach customers some of the hottest hair trends during the beauty supply stores Love Your Hair celebration, Sunday through May 26. During the event, stylists will conduct free workshops featuring insider tips, demonstrations and advice on the best styling products and tools. The workshop schedule is: Seriously Sleek and Smooth, 5-8 p.m. Saturday; CHI Blow Dry Boot Camp, 8 and 9:30 p.m. May 19; Love Your Curl Demo, 5-8 p.m. May 21; Braided Beauty Demo, 5-8 p.m. May 23. For more information, visit www.ulta.com.
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