The Bran Beanie, Then & Now

from Alex Chevillet, owner


Bran wearing one of his brightlytwisted beanies.“Art helps you draw your emotions, helps you relax, and helps you un-stress.” - Bran

  It started with giving. As a company, we set out to give back to the community with every class we taught. We started with quilts. Each of our students dyed a practice piece of fabric that were sewn into beautiful quilts by our collaborator, Jeanie Nichols. We had no idea how much we would receive back, or how one little person would change our world forever and propel us to continue his mission of giving.

Bran was a recipient of one of the quilts while he was undergoing treatment. This lead his mom, Jonelle, to join one of our classes. She wanted to contribute back to something that had provided for her son. We met during this class, and learned more about Jonelle and Bran’s story. Afterwards, we put together a private class for Bran and his brother to join us.

 In walked a delightful, beaming, goofy, loving, caring soul: Bran. Bouncing right beside him was his sweet, irresistibly free little brother, Ben. We spent the day creating together and learning about each other. We laughed a lot, allowing those aching parts of us to release while we made art. Bran reminded us why what we do is so special: art heals.

“It helps you with any of your problems. Let go of your problem here, let go of your problem over here and just focus on one thing” - Bran

During our time with Bran, we made beanies to give to Children’s Hospital, giving a couple to him as well. He loved them! The colors, the softness, the ease of comfort they provided. He wore them proudly, and helped connect us to other organizations that were in need of the soft, colorful beanies.   

Bran passed away in 2021. His soul, however, carries on through his mother & father, and bursts out of his brother, Ben. Bran made an impact in his 9 years earth-side. The people he connected with were changed for the better, having been given the purpose of carrying on his impact. We are responsible for continuing his efforts. We know the impact giving can create for an individual. We understand the healing power that working with art can provide. We know this to be true because we learned it from Bran.


Now we are asking for your help to continue Bran’s mission. We are hosting our second annual Bran Beanie: Pay To Play & Give It Away. Our goal is to make 400 beanies for four different organizations, giving 100 beanies to each. I’d love to say we could manage the financial obligation of sewing and making 400 beanies to be donated, unfortunately, our business isn’t quite big enough to do it alone yet. So we need your help to make this happen! April 2nd & 16th we will be opening our doors to make all 400 beanies together as a community, paying it forward in honor of Bran. The price of each ticket will cover all costs to make this event happen. Participants will also receive a complimentary Detroit Dye House tote, and a print of Bran’s marble art. 

We won’t be stopping after this either! Our goal is not only to provide goods to those in need, but we’d also like to create access to art in Bran’s honor as well. We endeavor to partner with local & national businesses who would be able to fully sponsor a monthly Bran Beanie event, allowing us to create an open community art day. Access to art is so important to our souls, and we believe every person deserves the chance to learn about and create art. Choosing to sponsor an event would not only help donate beanies to much needed organizations, but also allow those who may not financially be able to participate in our classes a chance to come in, get messy, and heal a little bit of their own self all while continuing to pay it forward. 

Our recipient organizations for April's events are:
  • Crowns of Courage: “We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping pediatric cancer patients overcome the fear of chemotherapy related hair loss, by providing halo wigs at absolutely no cost to the family.

  • The Heroes Circle: Kids Kicking Cancer: “We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers evidence-based martial arts therapy to kids. Our focus is on pain and stress management for pediatric patients, as well as creating resilience and support for otherwise healthy children.”

  • The Jenna Kast Believe In Miracles Foundation: A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is “to enrich the lives of Michigan children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions by buying gifts and bringing joy and hope to their lives.  Along with their gift, each child receives a personalized trophy to acknowledge their courageous fight.”

  • Gilda's Club Metro Detroit: “Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit ensures that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. Our organization creates welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends.”