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FRONTLINE: Shop Talk

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It’s a Wrap

Last December, Barbara Gunselman found herself in a predicament familiar to many women—she had nothing to wear. The difference: She needed something to wear on her head. Since losing her hair from chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, the 44-year-old West Chester resident had tried wigs (“they were too hot, felt heavy and gave me a headache”) and silky scarves (“I could never get the scarves to stay in place”) before settling on cotton bandanas. “It’s hard to find something to make yourself feel pretty and feminine when you’re bald. You feel like a man,” she says.

The bandanas did the trick. Last January, after her final radiation treatment, Gunselman started Bella Bandanas. She hand-applies each Swavorski crystal herself, and also makes sparkly headband straps, bracelets and belts. “I have four teenagers, so it’s nice to go down to my workshop and zone out,” she says.

As much as she enjoys creating, she likes corresponding with her customers even more. One mother wrote to Gunselman asking for a smaller size for her 4-year-old daughter. “The best part of this experience is meeting women like me who have gone through this,” says Gunselman.

Bella Bandanas are sold at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center, Jane Chalfont and The Lily Pad in West Chester, Katy Did in Wayne, and online at bellabandanas.com. Gunselman gives 5 percent of her proceeds to breastcancer.org; in October, 20 percent will be donated in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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