Veteran’s Day is a day to publicly recognize and support our veterans. Either serving active duty or starting and running their own businesses, veterans make valuable contributions. One such veteran is B’ani Bands founder and owner, Renee Hanson.
One doesn’t normally associate “fashionable, sport headbands” with “Army Intelligence”, but you should. Hanson, a former Army Intelligence Analyst and a 5’11” athlete, had a hard time finding clothes to fit her tall frame and headbands to fit her self-described “big head”. Another example of necessity being the mother of invention.
After serving in the Army for six years, she completed her service in 2007 and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
“I focused on manufacturing so that I could learn the in’s and out’s of producing a clothing line,” Hanson says. In the summer of 2008, she launched Vertical Athletics, a clothing line for tall gals.
“Right about that time my sister and I saw another competitor headband company that used velvet lining and we thought they were great until I got a horrible headache after wearing one for about an hour. Just like it was hard for my long legs to fit into regular sized pants, it was hard for my big head to fit ‘women’s sized’ headbands/hats.”
After a lot of trial and error of figuring out how to make the bands adjustable, an idea came to her in the form of a bra strap. After fastening her own bra, Hanson pronounced that a bra strap was the secret to the perfect fit headband.
“The B’ani Bands line has become so successful that I stopped making clothing in early 2012 so to focus entirely on headbands. It’s been a total blessing and a dream come true. We love what we do and we provide a useful, fun product at an affordable price that truly helps the families who work for us earn a living while putting family first.”
True to her word, B’ani Bands are made both in the U.S. and in China. But Hanson put a unique spin the manufacturing. She developed networks of home sewers in both countries so that sewers can earn money around their own schedule so they can spend more time with their families and other obligations.
Dubbed the “Band of Sisters Program”, B’ani Bands sewers are students, stay-at-home moms, veterans, grandmothers, friends and family. When you buy a Bani Band, the hang tag will identify that the band was “made with love by our Band of Sisters in USA (or China)”.
Even Hanson’s mom, who lives in a retirement community in Tennessee, sews with a group of five ladies. Bios of her sewers are on the Bani Bands website so you know exactly who is making them.
Born out of necessity, B’ani Bands headbands are fully adjustable to fit any size head, have a “Soft-Grip”TM fabric backing that is 100 percent Polyester velvet to keep them firmly in place without causing hair breakage and to absorb sweat. Personally, I use these for working out and for those extra long hiking trips when I just don’t want to hide under a smelly, filthy bandana.
B’ani Bands come in a variety of widths, ribbons and sequin and retail for $18 or under. Scheels, Midwest Volleyball Warehouse and a few retailers in Minnesota carry B’ani Bonds but you can always buy them online, too.
Custom bands also available upon request.