Karen MacDonald, founder of Wrapped in Love, gives us a look behind her brand and how we can honor cancer patients all year long.
By Rachel Schostak
Images provided by Wrapped in Love
A graduate of Michigan State University and Director of Communications at The Taubman Company for 30 years, Karen MacDonald was inspired to start her business, Wrapped in Love, by her mom. Her love and passion to make other women battling cancer feel special and beautiful during difficult times, led to her creation, a lightweight, fashionable cover up wrap, that can go over a patient gown. Since she founded her company, she now has clothing, head wraps and accessories meant for women battling cancer.
1. Tell us more about Wrapped in Love and what inspired you to start the company? Wrapped in Love was inspired by my mom when she was in the hospital. I made her a makeshift wrap to go over her patient gown to provide her with warmth, comfort, beauty and dignity. I saw the difference it made when I put it around her and the nurses said she seemed to light up. It made her feel special and provided her with dignity. I knew then that one day I wanted to do this for others. I have always loved fashion and I believe that even though you may be ill on the inside doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel beautiful on the outside. Each item comes with a signature rosette or detachable flower pin as my mom loved gardening and flowers.
Wrapped In Love fleece wrap with matching head wrap.
2. Tell us more about your customers? Wrapped in Love is designed for cancer patients and those convalescing, to provide warmth, comfort, beauty and dignity. The customer is both the patient, as well as family, friends and caregivers who purchase these items as gifts for a loved one who is ill.
3. How does creating products for patients who are ill impact your design process? Soft fabrics are key due to sensitive skin and scalp. Modal is a soft fabric that is very popular for my head wraps and sleep caps. Fleece is a great fabric for wraps as it provides warmth. However some women experience hot flashes, and the lightweight colorful kimonos are a great solution. I try to develop styles that are easy to put on due to some having limited mobility. A v-neck or open neck wrap or poncho style provides access to ports during chemotherapy treatment. I conduct focus groups with cancer patients and survivors to be sure that the fabrics and styles are conducive to their needs, and I work closely with nurses to ensure that the design provides them with appropriate access for patient medical attention.
Wrapped In Love jacket with removable drain pouches
4. What are some of your best sellers or favorite items? The fleece tuck wrap is a best seller year round. It is easy to put on and comes in a variety of cheerful colors. Many buy the coordinating head wrap to make it a complete outfit. I am happy with all of my products, however I constantly look at ways to improve them each time I go back into production — and that’s why the patient/survivor focus groups are so important. They are my customer so I need to ensure that it meets their needs.
5. What is new for this fall/winter season? I am getting ready to introduce another new style of head wrap that is pretty and sassy, and comes in a variety of bright colors. And another head wrap and sleep cap are in production in a cool tie-dye color. I am also working on a new wrap style that will be introduced in time for the holidays.
Wrapped In Love sleep cap
6. What challenges have you faced in business and how have you overcome those challenges? The greatest challenge for me has been trying to wear too many hats, thinking I must be an expert at everything. I have learned that that’s impossible, and instead I have found great local resources who can support me with their expertise.
Wrapped In Love kimono
7. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness – what are some of the ways that we can give back to the community and support the cause? I have given back to cancer organizations with a percentage of sales, and I have also supported individuals who are going through treatment. One thing I am reminded by many patients is that all cancers aren’t pink. I think one of the most important things we can do is to spend time with someone who may be ill, and to support them with a listening ear, a friendly voice, and a helping hand, not just in October, but throughout the year.
Models from a Wrapped In Love photo shoot
8. Is there an experience from your business journey that has really inspired you? There was a woman I met as I was launching my business, who also became a friend. She had cancer and was very helpful in providing input on how to make my products conducive to patients needs as they go through different stages of illness. She was a strong, beautiful woman who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.
9. Who inspires you in the business world? Linda Schlesinger, the founder of Skinny Tees in Birmingham, Michigan. I had heard about how she came up with an idea for this fashion accessory, and she made it happen, despite many obstacles she was encountering in her life. I was so inspired by her and the success of her company that I asked her if she would have lunch with me so I could learn more from her about starting a company. She accepted my invitation for lunch, and we have had many more since then. I consider her a true mentor!
10. Words to live by or your favorite quote? “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn
Help support women battling cancer, and support a local business by shopping Pink for October on the Wrapped in Love website. They will donate 30% of all PINK sales to The Pink Fund! This fund helps women in active treatment for breast cancer.
Shop all Wrapped In Love products at, wrappedinlove.com