Combine art-inspired scarves and an emotion-filled story of cancer heroism and you get Bravery Co.
Bravery Co. is the brainchild of Emily Somers, a former Art Director who spent her life in a bubble of design, colour and fun, before being diagnosed with 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2014, a couple of days after her 27th birthday.
From Melbourne’s party scene to finding a life-altering lump hiding underneath her clavicle bone to then spending her days in the cancer ward, Somers’ entire world was turned upside down with oncology appointments and constant treatment.
After going into remission six months later, the cancer showed up for its annoying and very unwelcome Sequel. By then, Somers was sick of wearing uncomfortable and itchy wigs and wanted to do the ‘no hair’ look minus the uninspiring cancer fashion.
After creating Pinterest boards filled with images of beautiful African women and old Hollywood stars wearing headscarves, Somers began putting her trademark artistic flair to good use, developing her own turban style which gave her the confidence she needed to show up and face cancer.
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Women empower women. I got to hang with the incredibly gorgeous @thestylishmum_ and talk to her about her project @pfmfoundation. She’s raising money through these ace ‘C’est Possible’ t-shirts for kids education in her home country Congo. (Have a look at my story.) Check her out and get behind her! Equally as brilliant – is @indifferent_avocado. Excuse me, but aren’t these earrings just the greatest! They work pretty darn well with our Sail Away scarf too – just saying! (Link in bio) What can’t I achieve in this boss outfit!?!? Go on, order yourself the whole look and feel as invincible as I do right now! #friyay #wonderfulwomen #entrepreneurs #changingtheworld #feelinginspired #fuckcancer
The entrepreneur tells Radisson Red, “I started playing around with tying turbans and never wore my wig again. The bigger and more colorful the better. By refusing to let go of my style and embracing my bald head, it was kind of a way I could stick it to cancer. Why shouldn’t we still look rad while having treatment?!”
Inspired by her frustrating cancer styling experiences, Somers founded Bravery Co. creating fabulous scarves to empower others going through a similar ordeal. But the scarves aren’t necessarily just for cancer patients either. They’re great for any scarf-loving, scarf-wearing cancer haters (me, me and me!) with 10 percent of all profits going to Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation to help end cancer once and for all.
The scarves are bright, bold and super soft and luxurious, made from a silk modal blend. It also comes with a ‘How to Turban’ guide (after a couple of attempts, I got there – sorta). I chose the “Up, Down and Around Scarf” by Beci Orpin for its bright and bold patterns, which perfectly complements my extroverted nature and love of head-turning vibrant colour. I especially love the fact that depending on how I wear it, different colours become more prominent. I twist it one way on my head and the yellow stand out. Twist it another way and the purple pops out.
The scarf is also a versatile length at 100 x 200cm so can be worn as a normal scarf, head scarf, sarong or as a skirt. The designer scarves are made in Hangzou, China by a small by a small business run by two ladies – Miya and Lillian, shares Emily Somers via Instagram message.
“I chose to go with them, not because they are the cheapest, but because I was able to build a great relationship with them right from the start,” Somers writes.
“Before I had the first production run, I had the factory checked by third-party auditors as the well-being of the workers are super important to me. The audit, which covered everything from environmental standards to staff conditions came through with flying colours.”
The scarves also feature the illustrations of some of Australia’s most talented designers such as Beci Orpin, Luci Everett, Amber Somerset and Sacha Kreeger, who were each inspired by a cancer-kicking story.
Now this year has been a pivotal one for Bravery Co. Having partnered with ING Dreamstarter and running a successful crowdfunding campaign, the business was able to produce its first collection of designer printed scarves which were given to 200 women kicking cancer’s butt at Peter MacCallum.
The brand also took home two awards at the 2018 frankie Good Stuff Awards, one for small business and the other, a people’s choice award. A brilliant achievement considering Somers’ future was completely uncertain after leaving the advertising industry behind to focus her energies on beating cancer.
After the diagnosis, a relapse, 22 rounds of chemo, a stem cell transplant, a month of radiotherapy with a few operations and procedures thrown in the mix, Somers puts the ordeal behind her, spending much of her days focusing on helping others beat it too.
She now travels the world, designing and sourcing scarves for her fellow cancer warriors and writing about her experiences on the Bravery Co. blog with such advice-filled posts as “What to expect when you lose your hair to cancer” and “CANCER HACKS Tips and tricks for getting through chemo”.
When she’s not working on her business or serving up inspiration to help others feel brave enough to face cancer head on, Somers is sharing her story with other female entrepreneurs, speaking at such conferences as Power Women’s Summit.
Four years in and Emily and Bravery Co. is kicking serious butt, in and out of the hospitals.
To help them kick on so that they can help others do the same, make sure to purchase a gorgeous Bravery Co. scarf this Christmas. Browse the stunning scarf collection here.
Disclosure: This post is proudly supported by ING Dreamstarter. For more information about our policies, click here.