Q&A with founder, Danielle Hark:
What made you think of the idea for Little Box of Comfort?
I was in the midst of a mental health crisis, at a hospital seeking treatment, when I looked around me at the other women struggling. I wondered what would make them smile. I wondered what little things could change their mood, their day, their progress, and ultimately their lives? I've since made it my mission to keep asking those questions. To bring warmth and smiles to those who are going through challenging times, even throughout my own struggles with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and tragic personal losses.
What do you think makes Little Box of Comfort a unique gift?
Our little boxes are unique because unlike with flowers or food, with Little Box of Comfort, you or your loved one get 6-8 gifts that you can hold onto and treasure for years to come. They are not perishable. You can use them, read them, create with them, keep them by your bedside for months or years to come. I do that myself. I cherish many of these items. They make me smile through tough times. It's also unique that there are different themes and that the themes will continue to change over time, so every time you come to our site you will have a different experience. Flowers are lovely, but they will always be flowers, there is no surprise in that. No uniqueness. If you want something unique, you can find that with Little Box of Comfort.
Did anyone ever give you something when you were going through a hard time that you found really meaningful?
The things I have been given that have been most meaningful and helpful in the moment have been things from the heart that I could hold onto and cherish. A photo collage from a friend when I was in the hospital. A book of poetry. Even a smooth rock or shell to rub in my hand.
I had a therapist
once who gave me several gifts that helped ground me when I was really lost in negative thoughts. Some of those have made it onto this site and in some of the boxes, including a tiny Buddha, a head massager, and a box sign that is still next to my bed. It reads, "life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
What is it like running a company when you, too, struggle with your own ups and downs?
Running a company when you live with "ups and downs" can be challenging. I want everything to be perfect, but life is not perfect. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take time out to take care of me too. I have to stop and take the lessons of the boxes and self-soothe and create when things get challenging, and they do. But I do my best, and hope that others will see the vision that I have for this company as a whole. To help others who are struggling to feel a little better and smile, even for a moment. And that makes me smile too.
Do you do other charity work?
I am also the founder and director of Broken Light Collective, a non-profit whose mission is to enhance the lives of people living with or affected by mental illness through the use of therapeutic photography; to provide opportunities to share photographic work in supportive environments both online and through live exhibition; and to raise awareness and fight stigma through art, education, advocacy, and outreach. If you are interested in a photography print to add on to your box, please ask.
What is your hope for the future for Little Box of Comfort?
I hope Little Box of Comfort grows so we can bring smiles to more and more people going through tough times and donate many boxes to hospitals and charities.
Original artwork created by Carrie Louise