Local Moms Launch Unique Business to Support Special Needs Children
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Amy Payne
Through the years, Lindsay Head and her friend Julie Harrison have spent a good bit of time hugging it out and lifting each other up. As mothers to special needs children, they have been a source of support for each other during difficult and stressful times. Both of them have two boys and a girl. Lindsay has Cadence (13), Cael (10) and Lincoln (3). Julie has Connor (16), Evan (15) and Taylor (14). Evan is on the spectrum for autism, and Lincoln has a rare chromosomal deletion syndrome called DiGeorge Syndrome or 22q. Caused by a defect in chromosome 22, it results in the poor development of several body systems.
“Basically, anything midline can become an issue,” Head says. “He’s had a lot of cardiac issues. He’s considered globally delayed, so everything from fine motor to developmental to speech is behind.”
Evan, though considered high-functioning, has a hard time connecting socially, making friends and maintaining eye contact.
“Julie and I were talking one day and commented how great it would be to start a business that our special needs children could help run,” Head says.
The women were also lamenting that when it comes to shopping for boys, options are scarce.
“From toddler to teenager, there is nothing out there for boys — not for clothing or bath & body care or even fun shoelaces,” Harrison says. The friends saw an opportunity to fill the gap.
“We decided since we’re moms of boys that this could be our focus, though we purposefully made it gender neutral because some girls like boys’ stuff,” Head says.
They launched Lucky Linc, inspiration derived from Lindsay’s son’s nickname.
“At 3 and a half years old, Lincoln has gone through more than most 90-year-olds in terms of procedures, therapies, surgeries and hospital stays,” Head says. “We call him our Lucky Linc.”
Lindsay and Julie put together boxes every month, donating 10 percent of their profits to foundations near and dear to their hearts. Five percent goes to The 22q Family Foundation and five percent to Autism Speaks. Each themed box, which may be purchased one time or subscribed in monthly increments, includes apparel and cool, new products. For instance, the outdoor camping-themed box includes throwable paintballs and a shampoo bar that smells like a campfire and is shaped like a bar of soap.
“We include fun but practical items,” Harrison says.
The apparel consists of sensory-friendly ultrasoft cotton with no tags in the merchandise. In addition, they sell “add-on” items such as t-shirts that say “Mom of Boys” or “Amazingly Awesome.”
Lindsay’s husband Adam and Julie’s husband Steve have been incredibly supportive of the business. In fact, Steve even converted his man-cave into a workroom, complete with shelving, desk, mail station and an area devoted to screen printing.
“All three of my kids help with the business, working in their capacities,” Harrison says.
The hope is that one day Evan and Lincoln can run the business.
“We’re realistic,” Head says. “The concept of managing money is very hard for them so they will need some help, but if we can give them something that they can put their name on, they will feel empowered. These kids have had to work so hard to achieve the goals of typical kids. We hope this business will give them something to be proud of.”
Harrison notes that autism is an invisible disability, similar to 22q. Because their sons are not in wheelchairs, the outside world may not immediately recognize that they have special needs.
“They just want to belong,” Harrison says. “That’s it.”
The women hope that this business will shine some light on what’s possible for those with special needs, despite the various challenges. It all starts with educating the general public. Head was recently talking to a group of parents who shared how prior to having children with disabilities, they were clueless about how to behave around those with special needs. One mom confided, “I was fearful of how to act and what to say so I did and said nothing.”
“We want people to know that it’s okay to approach our kids and ask questions,” Head says. “These are capable individuals who just need a little assistance here and there.”
For more information, visit luckylincadventures.com.