Heart Strings Gift Shop started as a small family business in about 400 square feet of retail space. The company was birthed out of what was perhaps the worst of times for the company's owner, Lauren, and her family. At the age of 24, Lauren had a heart transplant due to a viral infection she contracted while teaching in the public school system. Her life, along with her parents' lives were put on pause. Due to Lauren's illness and miraculous gift of life, her mother and father, and other family members realized that Lauren's life, nor theirs, would ever be the same. It is only because of the Lord and the gift of organ donation that Lauren is living today. Following her doctors' advice, Lauren resigned from her teaching position. Lauren's family came together to help her recover and launch a new sense of normalcy surrounding such tragedy.
In the days and weeks following heart transplant, Lauren utilized her hands and creativity skills to make high-end home decor and personalized gifts in her home, sold via social media. In three short months, she had saved nearly $15K from her orders. Lauren and her family persevered through their darkest days and focused on the positive.
The initial plan was that Lauren, with the help of her parents, was going to open a storefront in which to sell her creations; however, she quickly learned that her hands could not keep up with the demand, so she turned to the retail world. In March 2015, Lauren and her family cut the ribbon to the first Heart Strings (the namesake of Lauren's miracle) brick & mortar store. Lauren's parents became business partners with their daughter. The business quickly blossomed with large support from her small community.
Devastatingly, the family was struck with news that Lauren had developed PTLD (Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder) - more commonly known as Non-Hodgkins' Lymphoma. This occurrence was a very rare side effect of the anti-rejection medications she took/must still take. Springing quickly into action, Lauren's parents worked the business together while Lauren went through rigorous chemotherapy and radiation. During a tumultuous time when the business should have crumbled, it flourished - so much that they expanded to a larger store in late 2015. Lauren's condition improved and although she suffered through her cancer treatment, her faith never wavered - neither did her family's devotion. She is cancer-free today.
In the fall of 2016, Lauren started making plans to expand the store yet again; however, this time, the expansion would be a second store - a gift shop located in her community hospital. Sure enough, in early 2017, Heart Strings Gift Shop launched and exceeded expectations. Through means of social media, word of mouth, and simply put, The Lord, Heart Strings has grown exponentially to reach all 50 US states, and three different countries.
In the year 2020, Heart Strings is looking to expand, yet again. We are determined. We are family. WE ARE SMALL BUSINESS!
If you'd like to learn more about Organ Donation, click on the picture below.
Pictured below is Lauren with her parents. Her father, pictured left; her mother, middle; and, Lauren, pictured right.
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