How it all started….
When Colleen Kanna was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010, one of the things she felt was missing from the adaptive clothing marketplace while going through treatment was a comfortable, but stylish alternative for a top. With the limited mobility that comes from having chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, and all the appointments requiring countless changes, she struggled to find clothing that was easy to slip on and off without lifting her arms up over her head, comfortable to wear, soft against her skin, looked good on, and fit in with her everyday style.
At the same time, Colleen came to the realization that she didn’t want to continue down the same career path of being a Chartered Professional Accountant and Vice-President of Finance so she switched from her left brain to her right brain, took a leap of faith, and hence, COKANNA Designs was born.
Colleen wants there to be more options out there so you don’t have to sacrifice quality or style at a challenging time in your life. The COKANNA brand has your comfort and well-being in mind.
One of Colleen’s primary goals of starting her own business is to give back to the community that helped her through her cancer experience by filling a need for fashionable and functional recovery based clothing, and donating a percentage of sales to local breast cancer programs and services.
While there is a lot of focus on finding a cure for breast cancer, as there should be, there is less attention paid to the “person” going through the experience and how they feel. Sometimes it’s the small things that get you through the difficult times like a reassuring hug; a card from a friend you haven’t heard from because they don’t know what to say; a heated blanket during treatment, or a comfy, feel good top that’s easy to slip on and you’re ready to go.
Colleen and her daughter Maddi
When Colleen heard those words, “You have cancer”, her daughter was only 6 years old. As Colleen and her husband grappled with if and what they were going to tell their young daughter, and whether they would use the ‘C’ word, they tried to carry on as if everything was normal. But kids are so perceptive. She already knew something was wrong.
One night as Colleen was tucking her into bed, she turned and said, “Mommy, I don’t ever want you to die”. And then she said, “I wish you were 30”. Colleen asked her why and she said, “Because then I would have a bigger life with you”. It was from that moment on, Colleen knew two things for sure: She would get through the treatments. And, she would be upfront and honest with their daughter.
Colleen believes courage comes from the heart.
That night, with her daughter’s heart in her heart, Colleen found the courage to believe she would get through this difficult time, not only for her family, but for herself. Colleen believes that this inner strength called courage, found within all of us, is the first step in our journey to a “bigger life”, whatever that may be for you.
Our Vision, Mission & Values
How might we embrace your inner strength and resilience, compassion and beauty, and make your life just a little more comfortable and stylish?
To wrap you in Canadian-made comfort and compassion; sustainable style, strength and support; and recovery-based resilience.
- To reach out and really listen to you, our customer.
- To stick to our fundamental design principle of effortless styles that are easy to put on and take off.
- To keep versatility at the top of our mind so our clothes take you right through your day.
- To embrace the concept of slow fashion by taking our time to develop well-thought-out and well-designed quality pieces.
- To use natural and sustainable fibers in the production of our fabrics to provide you with soft, breathable, and easy to care for garments.
- To create, support, and foster Canadian-made products and businesses.
- To give back to the cancer community by donating a percentage of our sales to breast cancer programs and services that help the “person” through the experience.
- To provide an open, safe, collaborative, creative, and pet-friendly environment for our business.
One of the core reasons “why” Colleen started COKANNA Designs is to give back to the cancer community that helped her through her own breast cancer experience.
In 2016, Colleen fulfilled one of her “how-to-give-back” visions by hosting the first “Forget for a Moment” Makeover for women going through treatment for breast cancer. It has become an annual free event for 15 women living with breast cancer.
The event is held in collaboration with Rinaldo Hair Designers, Holtz Spa, and Thyme & Again Catering. The women are treated to a gentle scalp massage, hair and makeup, spa treatments, a portrait taken by a professional photographer, COKANNA clothing, gift bags, and refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
For one evening, these ladies get to forget for just a moment what they are going through, to be pampered and feel beautiful, and to enjoy each other’s company and support.
Benefits of Bamboo
“Ooo!” said your body
Rayon from Bamboo:
- Super soft against your skin and breathable
- Thermal regulating which means it will keep you warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather
- Has a natural luster and a beautiful drape
- Easy to care for – machine wash and hang to dry
- Fully sustainable
- Regenerate in 55 days
- Require no pesticides
- Require little irrigation
Step In and Slip On Designs
Easily Accessible Comfort
Our fashionable adaptive and recovery-based designs always start with the functional needs of the woman living with breast cancer.
Necklines are designed to provide protection from the sun or cold, and adequate coverage to hide incision marks, scars, and ports.
Our clothing features effortless on and off style with an easy access front closure or a step in and pull up design.
Armholes and sleeves are generously cut for comfort.
Our fashion forward designs are functional so they can be worn by women during all types of treatments or health issues when comfort and mobility are a concern.
And fashionable so they can be worn beyond this time, and by anyone who likes soft, comfortable, easy-to-wear clothing that looks and feels good on.