WELL-COVERED: As a cancer survivor, Gina de Givenchy knows firsthand the complex emotions that women face while fighting disease.
Her new e-commerce business, Geeg, specializes in head coverings made of shirting material, turbans and other specialty items designed to help lift the spirits of the unwell.
After having a double mastectomy and starting treatment for breast cancer in 2013, the former fashion executive said she struggled to find any headwear that was “relatable” to her. Starting to think about going back to work, de Givenchy said. “I really wanted to start my own business. It really was like a bolt of lightning, after searching the Internet. It’s not really something that you’re walking the streets for. There was nothing that was really designer and luxury. And there was no real retail shopping for the cancer patient.”
That realization was “really strange” for de Givenchy who had always been connected to the fashion industry through her posts at Richard Tyler, Chanel and Jil Sander. She explained, “I sort of felt like the same person even though I didn’t look like same person. I just felt sort of shortchanged.”
Recalling her own purchases, she said, “What it really comes down to is I needed something that I couldn’t find. When I did think I had found something, I would open the bag so excited. It would be terribly packaged with a depressing little slogan and a pink ribbon. There was just no beauty boost. Retail therapy didn’t exist and I had ordered so many things.”
As a result, she created her own using scarves and beanies and quietly launched the Geeg site in January. In search of an alternative to wearing a wig everyday during what was more than an 18-month process, de Givenchy said she wanted to make herself feel as though she looked better. Aside from giving unhealthy people “that boost of getting something in the mail and Geeg’s philanthropic component, de Givenchy said. “I just knew I could do more and I wanted to. It just made perfect sense.”
In the U.S., women have a one-in-three risk of developing cancer in their lifetime and men have a one-in-two risk. De Givenchy said, “The numbers sadly are staggering, and this, unfortunately, is not a need that is going to go away.”
As part of Geeg’s ethos, Geeg donates 10 percent of every purchase to a designated charity. The nonprofit Family Reach, which offers financial support to families struggling with cancer, is the first partner for Geeg’s philanthropic component. In addition to its signature headwear, the site offers a Things We Love section, which includes customized pink rings from her husband James’ Taffin collection, and scented candles from his company. (He is the nephew of Hubert de Givenchy.) There is also a Harvey Faircloth jacket and additional outerwear will be added. Shirts and blouses are being developed for the Geeg label. De Givenchy said, “I really wanted it to be a site for cool beautiful things that are also a pick-me-up, have purpose and you love them.”