Sweet N Swag was born a little over six years ago, but not in the way a company or brand typically begins. A tragedy that struck a friend moved me to try and help in some small way. Because of that friendship, I was able to do a little good for someone I cared about deeply and have received more good in return than I ever could have imagined.
My friend took her young family on a short vacation to visit some extended family. During the trip her baby, Porter, came down with what all believed was a simple ear infection. After a visit to the doctor for a round of anti-biotics, Porter’s condition quickly worsened, he was hospitalized, and it was discovered he was not suffering from a simple ear infection. After a few intense days in the hospital, the doctors believed they had discovered the true issue, and were effectively treating the infection that had attacked little Porter’s nervous system. Unfortunately, Porter’s little brain and spine had been ravaged to the point where he suffered a grand mal seizure that ultimately took his life.
My friend lost her son, was in another state, and didn’t know how to pay for her son’s hospital bills and upcoming funeral. The emotional and financial strain was overwhelming for her and her young family. I wanted to help, but what could I do besides donate a little money to help cover the expenses?
I had recently started making hair-bows for my baby, Hadley. It was a fun hobby that I really enjoyed, and the bows were really cute. I had just figured out a great way to make adjustable headbands that would allow Hadley to keep wearing the same bows as she grew. I decided to take the money that I would have donated to help cover a small portion of the costs of Porter’s medical and funeral expenses, buy fabric, make hair-bows and bow-ties, and sell them to raise money for my friend’s family. I started Pennies for Porter.
I spent the next couple of days making as many hair-bows and bow-ties as I could. I sold them to family, friends, and neighbors. The proceeds quickly grew to more than I would have been able to donate without the work, and we were able to help Porter’s family. The efforts also attracted additional donations, and several people came together to help Porter’s family.
Despite my best efforts, I was at least initially better at making bows than selling them. After selling all I could, and giving the money to Porter’s family, I still had several left-over bows. A friend mentioned that I should try selling them on Etsy. So, I pulled out my phone, snapped pics, and set up an Etsy shop.
I remember being so excited after selling my first bow on Etsy. I remember enthusiastically explaining to my husband how if I could sell a bow a day we could counteract the daily interest accruing on our student loans. The bows were a hit, and we quickly started selling more than just one a day.
Soon I was having difficulty keeping up with orders, and the nights making bows were becoming too long. I needed help. So, I reached out to my friends, and they came to my rescue. Soon, there were four or five of us crammed into the extra room in our condo making bows every day. We had a blast. We were all working together, having fun, and being able to be with our young children. What initially was meant to help Porter’s family was now helping each of our families. It was giving us greater financial freedom and more time to spend with those special to us.
Sweet n Swag grew from there and continues to grow. We went from bows and bow-ties to moccasins, moxfords, and more. We will always remember how and why we started: To Do Good. We continue to try and do that by donating shoes to new-born intensive care units across the country, sending shoes to Africa, homeless shelters, and oncology units. Each time we give, we receive so much more.
That has never been more true than the last 14 months. Last July I was diagnosed with brain cancer. The prognosis was not good, and I wasn’t given much hope. Luckily, I believe in miracles. The miracles began to happen almost immediately. As my family and I tried to deal with this horrific news, we immediately began to feel the love and support from our Sweet N Swag family. Letters, emails, messages, thoughts and prayers began flooding in. They truly have made a difference. Sweet N Swag has also allowed our family to completely focus on healing the tumor as my husband was able to leave his law practice and be with us full time.
I will be forever grateful for the blessing Sweet N Swag as been to our family. It has given us what we needed, when we needed it. It has given us an extended family bigger than I ever could have imagined. It has given us strength and support so that miracles can and will happen. Thank you to all who have supported us. You truly exemplify our motto: Do Good.
The 2017 Sweet N Swag Team