The best part of Because Market is our customers. Coming from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, they all share the desire to live life on their terms, and we’re glad to be able to support them on their journeys. We began our Customer Spotlight series to showcase some of their amazing stories.
For our very first customer spotlight, we talked to Donna Fransen, a 67-year-old Air Force veteran and crochet artist who resides in New Orleans and uses Because products to help her travel with confidence.
An Artist from New Orleans
Although not originally from New Orleans, Donna says she moved to the city as soon as she could. “It’s a wonderful place. People here are accepting, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. The people are amazing, the food is even better.”
Today, she focuses on her crochet art, which she sells through her online shop Bound2stytch. She’s a master of fine-point crochet, which her grandmother taught her when she was just seven years old.
Her current project is a bouquet of roses she’s preparing for the annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. “It’s a wedding bouquet,” she says. “All the flowers are in individual parts,” each rose composed of twenty-five individual petals carefully stitched together.
This will be her first time entering her work in competition. “It starts at the local level. If you place, they send copies of your work to Nationals, and if you place there then you actually get an all-expense-paid trip to go to Nationals.”
Life in the Air Force
When Donna joined the U.S. Air Force nearly fifty years ago, she experienced an unusual sort of boot camp. “It was different back in those days. When I went in ‘73, we had to attend makeup classes and learn how to walk in heels. We weren’t considered equal to the men at that time, we were ‘WAFS’—Women in the Air Force.”
“We were highly restricted for what jobs we could have, where we could work.” For her career, Donna focused on accounting and finance, maintaining a commissary stock fund and supplying groceries to the Air Force bases.
Things started to become more inclusive a few years after she joined. “My sister went in ‘76. She got through the obstacle course and firearms training. I was so jealous.” The Air Force has continued to integrate: as of December 2015, all jobs in the Air Force are open to both men and women.
Made in Turkey
After training, Donna relocated to San Antonio, then to Turkey. “That was an amazing time. it was beautiful, the people were nice, but the politics were starting to get a little involved.” She moved back to Texas a few years later. “They kicked me out for being pregnant. If you were pregnant and overseas, you couldn’t stay.”
Donna might have been sent home, but she never stopped traveling. Upon their return to the United States, her husband re-enlisted with the Air Force. “We spent the next 20 years traveling around the country.”
She still has a few mementos from her time overseas. “I have a pair of Turkish knitting needles in my inventory. I came back from Turkey with three things that matter to me. I came back with a set of Meerschaum pipes. I came back with star sapphires that I paid twenty dollars for. And I came back with what we call ‘a tricycle motor in the making’. I was pregnant. I used to tell my daughter that she had a stamp on her butt that said, ‘Made in Turkey’.”
Donna’s travel bug didn’t end with retirement. Just last year she took her first cruise alongside her live-in caregiver. “We went down to Cozumel and the area for seven days. It was a gift to her. She’s been with me for three, going on four years.”
“[What was] the best part? The whole thing. I had such a great time. You wake up in the morning and there’s all this beautiful blue water around you. You don't realize how clear the water is until you get out there. Sometimes you’ll see three different shades of blue in the water.”
Travel during the pandemic was “clean,” Donna says. “We had no problems on our ship. Everybody wears a mask. If you walk into the dining area there's someone standing at the doorway to hand you a mask.”
Donna’s Experience with Because Market
Donna discovered Because Incontinence Underwear for Women after being dissatisfied with the incontinence underwear provided by the Air Force Veterans Administration. “They’re not the most comfortable,” she says of the product offered through her VA. “It felt like wearing a diaper. I wanted something more feminine. I saw the ad for Because, and checked it out and asked for the samples, and I fell in love. And I’ve been a customer ever since.”
She praises the underwear’s convenience and ease of use. On her cruise, she says, “they were just easy to pack. I stuck a pack in my suitcase and it was great. Before, I felt so self conscious that people could see. The first time I put these on, I was sold. There was no doubt.”
Although the VA provides free incontinence products, Donna thinks the cost of buying her own is worth it for her peace of mind. “I’d much rather have a better quality product and pay for them.”
Donna has no plans to slow down anytime soon. She’s already thinking about her next cruise, and when she has the chance, she hopes to travel to Europe to work on her family genealogy. “I’d love to go to Germany and track my ancestry. My family is from the north German area–my grandfather came over in 1910. I would love to explore.”
Are you interested in being featured in the next customer spotlight? Email