(WXYZ) — Helena Haney has loved fashion and sewing since she was a little girl, but stitched into her life was also a strong passion for giving back.
“The biggest gift is to give to others,” Haney said.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the 17-year-old from Grosse Pointe raised more than $2,000 through a GoFundMe and made Eater baskets for every resident of her grandmother’s nursing home. The gesture was so appreciated, Haney said she decided she wanted to do more to help others.
“After seeing how happy the residents and staff members were, it was so rewarding,” she said.
That’s when she figured out she could lend a hat to those in need.
In November, Haney started making custom beanies and selling them with all profits going toward area women’s shelters.
“Women’s shelters have always been close to my heart and I feel like it’s an overlooked cause a lot,” she said. “I just felt like there was a need elsewhere that I wanted to help.”
Since launching, Haney said she has sold more than 400 beanies — with around $1,500 going toward women’s shelters like First Step. Haney said they will send a list of essentials and she will use the beanie profit money to buy the supplies and deliver them in-person to the shelter, seeing her impact firsthand.
Haney said she even asked her parents not to get her any Christmas presents last year and instead donate to her cause.
“Having any type of impact or helping anyone in any type of way is just so rewarding,” she said. “It’s just always been my goal in life to help other people, especially people who are overlooked by society sometimes.”
Haney said she focuses on colorful designs for the beanies, so people recognize them as happy products that are helping others.
Doing the work all by herself, she said sewing the beanies in her kitchen can take some time, but that it’s all worth it in the end.
“It can become very time consuming,” she said. “But it’s all good time, I enjoy doing it a lot.”
Her beanies range from $15-$23 and can be purchased on her website at https://www.hatsbyhelena.com/shop.