BraveHoods: Mom fights cancer, two hooded T-shirts at a time
For Allison Yacht, watching her 5-year-old daughter struggle with the effects of chemotherapy and radiation was challenging enough. Seeing how uncomfortable her child was when people looked at her a little too long was more than she wanted to bear.
Scarves, bandanas, hats and wigs made Meredith even more self-conscious, according to Yacht. When she discovered T-shirt hoodies, however, things started looking up. They gave her the power she needed.
In addition to protecting Meredith’s head from the cold and sun, the hoodies gave her the chance to be what she called a “regular kid.”
“She could put the hood on when she felt self-conscious and take it off when she felt comfortable with friends,” Yacht said.
Finding enough T-shirt hoodies to keep Meredith in them seven days a week became the next challenge, so Yacht eventually did what entrepreneurial types do when they want to solve a problem. She started a company to address it, knowing that there must be other people who were experiencing the same thing.
In July, Yacht launched BraveHoods LLC. Selling the T-shirt hoodies online for kids with cancer is only one part of the business. For every T-shirt sold, one is donated to a ‘brave kid’ with cancer.
“I wanted to give back to friends, family and strangers who would come up to us in Target and give me a hug,” she said, noting that people who stared often were just wishing for a way to offer support to her and her daughter.
“Beautiful kindness came out,” Yacht said. “People just wanted to help.”
Now that Meredith is past the cancer and cancer treatment – doing well, in fact – Yacht is channeling the energy she put into her daughter’s needs into reaching out to other families going through the same kind of trauma.
BraveHoods meets the mission with two platforms: “One for You and One for a Brave Kid” and “No Shirt for You but We’ll Give Away Two.”
Shirts for children and adults range from $19.99 to $34.99 and are printed with the company’s logo only or slogans that include: “Future Cancer Survivor,” “It’s All Good in My BraveHood” and “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”).
Yacht partners with hospitals, cancer-treatment facilities, international charitable organizations and schools to get the gifted BraveHoods into the hands of families with children battling cancer. She encourages anyone who is a caregiver or who knows of a child who would benefit from a donated T-shirt to contact the company through its website as well.
“I don’t want families with cancer to have to buy them,” she said. “They’ve got enough on their plates.”
Yacht purchases the blank hoodies from a wholesaler overseas and has them printed in Colorado. She, Meredith, and son Zach pack and ship the shirts. Graphic design for the shirts was created by Denise Cox in Denver.
Yacht self-funded BraveHoods with $10,000. The capital went to printing about 50 shirts and creating the BraveHoods website. Although her previous business focused on database consulting, she calls herself a novice in the website development area.
“The number I watch in terms of how many T-shirts we’ve mailed focuses on the number we give away,” Yacht said. “We’ve sent 50 out so far and have 120 in the give-away pile right now.”
BraveHoods isn’t turning a profit yet, and Yacht admits that she doesn’t know when it will.
“Right now it’s just a labor of love.
“To be honest, though, that’s a problem because I have to sell them to be able to give them away so that’s one of the things I’m trying to learn about now,” she added.
“There are 13,000 kids a year who are diagnosed with cancer. We’re trying to touch 10 percent of them. Right now we’re just reaching 1 percent,” she said.
“If I could cure cancer I certainly would. But since I can’t, I want to make kids who have it be comfortable and warm and feel like regular kids.”
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