Your Name: Katie Niemeyer

Business Name: Handana

Type of Business: Clothing & Accessories

Business Location: United States

U.S. State: Texas

Twitter @myhandana
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Reason for starting
Twenty-six years ago, a severe reaction to a medication sent me to the burn unit at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. I was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), an autoimmune reaction causing your skin to blister to the point that you have 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Unlike many with SJS, I survived and was not left blind or severely scarred.

Biggest Success
Handana does more than protect my eyes: It has become a powerful reminder to cross my finish lines, to persevere. I hope that is what others take away from my story and from this product – that it becomes a symbol and an inspiration for all of us to cross our finish lines, no matter what they are in our lives, and empower others to do the same.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
I’ve met so many people and learned innumerable powerful and heart-stirring stories because of Handana. And I look forward to where this journey takes me. The top challenge is spreading the word about Handana and the story behind the product. I want to make awareness of SJS through this unique athletic gear.

Who is your most important role model?
My daughter is my role model. She teaches me every day by her example of how to be a better person. She is not only smart and driven, but she has a pure heart and cares deeply about those in her life. She understands how important people are and wants to make a difference in this world to make other’s lives better. I look up to her.