Shepherd Centre mum Lauren says her new business venture – Handmade Pilot Caps – was inspired by her son Hayden.
‘Hayden was diagnosed with mild hearing loss after failing the newborn hearing test and was fitted with two hearings aids by three months of age. I needed to keep the hearing aids in Hayden’s ears and out of his mouth!’ said Lauren.
She initially ordered her caps online but was frustrated by the limited range of styles and sizes, lack of Australian makers and high postage fees.
‘I pulled out my sewing machine, bought some fabric that I liked and went in search of a pattern that worked for us. After a few trials I was happy with a pattern that fit well and could then make in as many different fabrics as I liked.’
The new cap did not go unnoticed at Hayden’s next appointment. Hayden’s clinical team at The Shepherd Centre mentioned they were looking for someone to make some for their centre.
‘Within two weeks of that appointment we were back with my first order of caps and everyone was excited,’ said Lauren.
Lauren says feedback has been positive, customers love the range of fabrics available and the ability to design their own pilot caps.
‘I got asked to make caps with snap closures, instead of ties, for those cheeky little ones that can undo ties, so this has also been added as an option.’
Her husband has been a wonderful support since starting the business, she says, encouraging her to share her work and caring for their children when she is busy in the sewing room finishing orders.
She says ten per cent of all profits are donated to The Shepherd Centre.
‘When I started the business I was motivated to do it to save other families the frustration that we went through in finding suitable caps. This, paired with all of the help that we had received from The Shepherd Centre, made me want to give back in some small way.
‘Everyone at the centre is always so welcoming and genuinely interested in how we are all going and doing what they can to help us. I don’t feel as though Hayden is just another name on a list of patients to be seen, I feel like we are a family that matters to them.’
She adds that having all the specialists and services available in one place is far better than being given a stack of papers to struggle through if they had to attend a number of different service providers.
‘They make us feel as though they are on the journey with us and we are not alone.’
For families who have just being diagnosed with hearing loss, Lauren encourages them ‘to give your child the best start in life, just as you would if they didn’t have any additional needs’.
‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are not alone and there are so many wonderful people and places that can help along the way.’
To view Lauren’s pilot caps
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/handmadepilotcaps/
If you would like to make an order or enquiry, please email [email protected] or call 0406 934 394