Emily Somers

Women's Health Australia - - FITFLUENTIAL - By Lau­ren Wil­liamson

Emily Somers’ life was “fairly peachy”, filled with friends, fam­ily, travel and her job in ad­ver­tis­ing. That was un­til, just be­fore her 27th birth­day in 2012, she was di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma. It was her ex­pe­ri­ence of “chemo, can­cer, naps and tur­bans” that in­spired her to launch Brav­ery Co. this year, a range of bold head­scarves de­signed to give can­cer war­riors a bit of ex­tra fierce­ness. Emily, who is now in re­mis­sion, opens up about build­ing her busi­ness and kick­ing can­cer’s arse.

Man­age your mind­set

“I didn’t want to let the can­cer ‘win’ and slow me down, or change my life. When you lose your hair, your dis­ease is on dis­play. [So] even­tu­ally I bit the bul­let and shaved it off. I had all my friends around for my head-shav­ing party. Once it was all gone it was a re­lief. I could get on with life. Hav­ing no hair wasn’t so bad – it’s just an ex­treme hair­cut and bad hair days ceased to ex­ist!”

Know what drives you

“I got sick of wear­ing my wig and I was frus­trated at the lack of cool can­cer head­wear out there, es­pe­cially for younger can­cer war­riors. Ev­ery­thing is daggy and aimed at a much older lady. So I started play­ing around with scarves through on­line tu­to­ri­als with amaz­ing African women. Once I nailed ty­ing the tur­ban I felt more like my­self. I started get­ting asked how I tied my scarf. Half the time peo­ple didn’t even know I was sick. It’s this con­fi­dence that I want to pass onto oth­ers [en­dur­ing] a sim­i­lar or­deal.”

Keep your fo­cus

“I started to map ev­ery­thing out and the busi­ness [took] form. As soon as I de­signed my logo, brand­ing and web­site it felt a bit more real. I’ve been work­ing on our de­but de­signer col­lec­tion for al­most a year now. It was re­ally im­por­tant to have scarves de­signed specif­i­cally for young can­cer war­riors and carry a story about kick­ing can­cer’s arse.”

Take breaks for bal­ance

“Be­ing my own boss means I can make time to ex­er­cise and eat lovely healthy foods. I get enough sleep and live a bal­anced life. How­ever, this can flip when Brav­ery Co. goes through a busy patch. Be­ing a one-woman show, all my time is sucked up with run­ning the busi­ness, rather than look­ing af­ter me. Dur­ing those times I have to al­most set alarms to take breaks, go for a walk out­side or to bed!” Shop the scarves, $95 each, at brav­eryco.com.au, with 10 per cent of all prof­its go­ing to Peter Mac­cal­lum Can­cer Foun­da­tion. Nice!

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