Hi. I'm Jennifer, Creative Director at Hats, Scarves & More. I'm honored to share these thoughts with you. Out of sensitivity, I'd like to disclose up front that an element of my story is sad and may be triggering if you or a loved one is sick.
The single greatest privilege of working at Hats, Scarves & More is the chance to answer the phone.
For me, holed away at my computer or working from home, those opportunities come most often when Nicki is out of town and I am manning the phone. The conversations usually start simply with a question about the fit of a specific hat or about navigating the website, but almost inevitably these conversations lead to stories.
Some women we talk with have alopecia or other medical hair loss, but most often we talk with women who are in chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Our conversations about hats and scarves reveal the difficult and touching: a woman looking for the perfect headscarf to match her daughter’s wedding colors, someone searching for a stylish and sun-safe hat to wear on a long awaited cruise with her husband.
Many phone calls are from someone whose loved one is in cancer treatment. Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, & coworkers. What will she like? What will she need? The gift givers we talk with want to do something for this person they love.
I feel great empathy when I talk with these loved ones of cancer patients. My first day at Hats, Scarves & More was June 4th, my beloved mother-in- law’s birthday. That night, one of the rare occasions when all of her adult children and their spouses were together, she told us all that she had cancer.
What followed is a story that does not have a happy ending. We lost her, but not without a fight. And before we lost her, we lost her signature hair: soft, tight, chocolate brown ringlets that grew up and out but never down. The whole family gathered in her room in the hospital where she had worked as an oncology nurse for many years and we clipped away her thinning curls.
During the time that she was bald, I kept her outfitted with the best cancer headwear that Hats, Scarves & More has to offer. Her hats and scarves were unrivaled, and she proudly told me of compliments she received during infusions.
It was then that I felt a new layer of appreciation for what we do at Hats, Scarves & More. Watching my loved one in treatment for a horrible disease, there was not much I could do. I am not an oncologist, a radiologist, nor a cancer researcher. I could not give her treatments, advise her medically, or cure her. However, I could give her hats that kept her head warm, protected her scalp from the elements, and made her smile.
Now and then I get to talk on the phone with customers. Some of those customers are experiencing the difficulty of cancer treatment themselves and some of them are walking beside someone they love, feeling helpless and wanting to do something. Sometimes that something is picking out a hat or a scarf. And I feel privileged to know just how much that small act of love matters.