Heidi now designs handbags for a living. Learning the ins and outs of the business world and utilizing her creativity to create something gave her thoughts a productive outlet while recovering from treatment. Heidi’s sewing machine became her therapist, she says. With support from her family and a new business venture in her life, she retained her independence and creativity even when cancer tried to knock her down.
Heidi’s designs are as bold as her personality and she loves to create designs for the charities she works with, including METAvivor. In this interview, Heidi talks us through the journey of both her business and her cancer experience and how her artistic pursuits helped get her through the tough days.
What We Talked About:
- Heidi’s diagnosis and history and how she started out as a hobbyist handbag maker
- Heidi’s big decision to turn her hobby into a business when she needed something to get her through her surgeries
- Heidi’s regret over not having chemotherapy after a local recurrence
- Heidi’s wish that she had known about the option of going flat
- The benefits of unofficial art therapy for cancer and how finding something productive can help survivors feel normal
- Finding her “tribe” among the greater breast cancer community
- Heidi’s work with METAvivor, an organization supporting women with metastatic breast cancer, and her charity t-shirt designs
- HKelly Designs – Heidi’s Etsy Shop
- HKelly Designs Blog – Heidi’s Design Blog
- METAvivor: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness, Research and Support – This is the organization Heidi mentions partnering with
- AnaOno – When Heidi talks about her lingerie designer friend, she’s discusses Dana Donofree, founder of AnaOno (you can see our blog posts on Dana here)
- A positive example of going flat – If you, like Heidi, have not had anyone tell you that going flat is an option, listen to our interview of Rebecca Pine or read her reflections here.