February 13, 2023

Looking good while doing good

Happy Badger Headbands at a craft show

A pandemic craft project turned into a new philanthropic-focused career for Justine Anderson.

Anderson has spent more than a year at the helm of Happy Badger Headbands, a hand-sewn cloth hair accessory business originally founded by nurse Logan Brodsky to benefit cancer patients at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Anderson is happy to continue Brodsky’s charitable mission as she continues to grow the business and give more proceeds to patient care and comfort needs.

“It’s just a really powerful mission to be able to be a part of,” Anderson said.

Anderson became a stay-at-home mom after having her second child in 2020. While she loved more time with her kids, she also wanted a project that let her take time for herself. She used her sewing talents to make cloth face masks to sell or donate, which led to a mutual acquaintance connecting Anderson to Brodsky. At the time, Brodsky was working full-time as a nurse at UW Carbone, and sales of her Happy Badger headbands were booming. She needed an extra set of hands to help fulfill demand.

Anderson started out helping as needed but soon took over cutting and sewing for all Happy Badger products. Their partnership worked so well that Brodsky asked Anderson to take over Happy Badger full-time so Brodsky could focus on her nursing career.

“I’ve taken what Logan started and ran with it,” Anderson said. “And it’s been very much a passion project that has turned into a full-time job, and I could really pour myself into it.”

Aside from the headbands that made Happy Badger popular, Anderson has been expanding into new hair accessories, including scrunchies, mommy-and-me matching accessories, and head wraps.

She also had a couple of customers who were cancer survivors reach out to collaborate on some fabric designs and curate collections last year. Anderson loved how this idea came organically from people who were passionate about Happy Badger.

“One of the things I want to do in this next year is work with more survivors,” Anderson said.

She’s also grown the business by attending craft fairs and community markets, in addition to maintaining the online store. In addition to serving customers who enjoy physically browsing her inventory, Anderson can raise awareness of the charitable mission of her business. Increased sales mean more money for comfort, entertainment and care items to make long treatments easier for patients. This past winter, she was able to fund a holiday meal for patients and staff.

“I’m so lucky that this business has continued to grow, and so then I knew each quarter I’m able to give even more,” Anderson said.