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Business // Entrepreneurs
Alana Folen

Giving Keiki Some Sun Protection

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and entrepreneur and Kailua resident Vanessa Perez is standing up to skin cancer with Henry Hats of Hawaii (HHH), an online business she started this past December that features stylish hats and caps for keiki to protect them from the sun’s damaging rays.

Perez affectionately named Henry Hats of Hawaii after her son, and has recently launched the 2013 collection of children and newborn flat caps and accessories.

O Henry Hat! April Jessee photo

“I’ve been dealing with skin cancer for most of my life, so when I was pregnant with my son Henry, I naturally wanted to protect him from the sun the moment he entered the world,” Perez says. “I scoured stores and the Internet for cute flat caps for newborns, but couldn’t find anything. The brand hats were ridiculously overpriced, and the cute, affordable hats were cheap in every way – poor quality, design and materials.

“Sometimes, if you want something done right, you really have to do it yourself.”

And that’s what Perez did. HHH caps are currently available for purchase online at HenryHatsHawaii.com, on eBay, and locally at Kai Boutique Hawaii (kaiboutiquehi.com), Baby Showers (BabyShowersHawaii.com) and at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Perez also has plans to bring her hats to the newly renovated Castle Medical Center Gift Gallery. Priced at $25 each for newborn flat caps and $35 (special launch price) for one-size flat caps, each carefully crafted cap is partially hand-sewn for ultimate quality and features a soft satin lining for delicate little heads and a durable cotton or rayon exterior, which come in vibrant and fun colors. Each cap has a reusable satin pouch for storage and a lanyard or cap retainer that conveniently clips the cap to your child’s clothing, as well.

According to Perez, HHH offers the only children’s cap on the market that features a unique design that allows the cap to grow with each child – from infants to tweens.

“Knowing that my products can potentially help save lives is absolutely the most rewarding aspect of my business,” Perez states.

“According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life.”

As Perez herself suffers from skin cancer, sun protection is an ever-present priority. It’s her mission to help implement sun protection policies in local schools by the time her 2-year-old starts school.

“I don’t want to see others have to go through what I go through. I see a dermatologist three times a year to have 30 to 40 potentially cancerous spots removed each visit,” she says.

“They could have been prevented had I listened to my mother when I was a child and put on a hat and sunblock.”

Perez has high hopes to the future and lifts hats off to every opportunity. She hopes to sell her hats in other stores and boutiques islandwide, and perhaps open her own shop one day. She also would like to expand her line to include adjustable flat caps for tweens to adults, in addition to offering new styles of hats and new lines of products.

“If one Henry Hat can prevent a child from getting skin cancer later on in life, then part of my mission is accomplished,” she says.

Fore more information on Henry Hats of Hawaii, visit HenryHatsHawaii.com and look for HHH on Facebook and Twitter.

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