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A shock diagnosis changed my entire outlook on life – here's what happened

Emily Williams left her career as a bridal hair stylist after her son was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. Here she shares how her whole world changed

Woman smiling in a hat and a white top
January 29, 2024
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My whole world turned upside down when my two-year-old son William was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.

It was the start of lockdown in 2020 and we spent an agonising five months in hospital while he was being treated. Unfortunately, William was left with life-changing disabilities, leaving him unable to walk and talk.

I became his full-time carer and nurse, providing around-the-clock care for him, meaning that I needed to step away from my career as a bridal hairstylist. The only positive of the awful situation was that due to lockdown, all the weddings I was booked for were cancelled for 12 months, meaning I could focus on his recovery without stressing about work.

Woman styling hair © Naomi Hudson - Lush Imaging
Emily worked as a wedding hair stylist for seven years

As William got stronger and started going to a specialist school, my mind turned back to my career, and I wondered what my next step would be.

The next step

I knew I couldn’t go back to being a hairstylist. It would no longer work for us as a family, so I was forced to come up with a new plan so if the children needed me or there was a hospital or physio appointment, I could easily step away.

The obvious answer was to work for myself. Before William fell ill, we were never brave enough to take the plunge, but going through such an awful time gave us a completely different outlook on life. I thought, 'What have we got to lose?'

woman and son picking pumpkins
Emily with her son William

I came up with the idea for The Boujee Bride, to offer luxury bridal loungewear, accessories and gifts that you'll want to keep for years after your wedding. We design our products to be classy and timeless, whilst also reducing the impact of bridal fast fashion.

The sustainability angle was important to us because the National Wedding Survey by wedding planning website Hitched showed that almost a fifth of couples want to ensure their weddings are good for the environment as well as enjoyable for their guests. Making the products sustainable and affordable has been one of the biggests problems I’ve had to overcome, but my positivity and easy going nature keeps me on the right track.

In addition, to give back to the charities who helped us when William was unwell, we pledged to give 10% of all profits from the company to the Brain Tumour Charity.

Working for myself provides flexibility, and I often find myself doing admin and packing orders until midnight. It's crazy busy but it makes for an interesting life!

Woman wearing a green cap
The Boujee Bride sells chic bridal accessories

A leap of faith

When my world got turned upside down, any vision I had of what our future would look like fell off a cliff. It was totally unknown but I am so proud that I got myself out of that giant canyon. Having William at the front of my mind gave me a focus to create something not just for my future, but for his.

READ: I totally changed my life in 30 days - here’s how 

To have a family business available for him to step into should he wish one day makes it all worthwhile and to be able to give back to a charity at the same time is so rewarding.

I am so excited about where this little business will take us. I hope to one day be a highly recognised name within the bridal industry and dream that brides-to-be such as Nicole Scherzinger or Millie Bobby Brown will be seen wearing a Boujee item or two on their hen!

Three folded sweaters
The Boujee Bride's loungewear is ultra stylish

If I were to give other women advice on how to step out of their comfort zone and start something news, I'd recommend that they surround themself with positive people. My close friends and family have been my biggest supporters and it really helped my mindset.

Also, don't let work take over your life! Family will always come first and you never get those years back, so where possible find a work/life balance. Life really is too short and you never know what's round the corner. I certainly didn't!

See the Boujee Bride range here and read more inspiring stories on HELLO!'s Happiness Hub.

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