Kelsey Teixeira is a 20-year-old from Fall River who stumbled upon a genius idea two years ago. She started making doubled-sided fleece blankets for purchase through "Komfy Kozies by Kelsey" back in 2016. One special request back in 2018 completely transformed this small side-hustle into an official business.

Kelsey Teixeira via Facebook

“I was 18 years old. I would just sell here and there before the holidays," Kelsey said. "I never really thought this would turn into something. But then a former neighbor, Erin, asked me to help her with an item for her daughter.”

Erin Pereira's daughter, Olivia, has Cerebral Palsy. Erin wanted to keep her warm in her car seat when she was little. Big puffy coats are not safe for children to wear while in their car seats as the straps cannot be properly placed across the chest to secure a child in case of an accident. Olivia was not a fan of blankets and would knock them off her lap. Erin turned to Kelsey for help.

“Erin told me about this idea she had to just throw a blanket with a hole in it over Olivia’s head," Kelsey said. "I had never touched a sewing machine before, but I wanted to help. I actually took a sewing class to learn and created a pattern. We got to work.”

Kelsey designed a poncho that covers little ones in infant carriers, baby car seats (both rear and forward-facing), strollers, and wheelchairs. From four months to four years, this one-size design works for all.

“Kids are fully covered and it doesn’t get caught on the wheels of a wheelchair, so it’s the perfect length to grow with the child," she said.

Photo Contributed by Erin Pereira

Olivia is now three and just started preschool. Erin told us that this poncho has been a game-changer because of how easy it is for them to get out and do things. “

When you are a parent of a child who has special needs, anything that makes your life easier is huge," she said. "Olivia’s arms and legs are tough to straighten, so it was tough to put coats on. This has made the world of difference because it is so convenient. There is no struggle. We take this thing with us everywhere."

Everyone in Olivia’s life appreciates the simplicity of the poncho, even her teachers and therapists.

“She goes on the bus to school and so many people ask me about it, especially through the special needs community," Erin said. "This was the first time Kelsey made anything like this and so many kids, special needs or not, have used it. It truly is such a help to the parents.”

Kelsey recently posted about Olivia on the "Komfy Kozies by Kelsey" Facebook page. “This little girl is the reason why I started making these ponchos two years ago!... I love doing what I do and seeing pictures of all the littles in their ponchos and onesies.”

Kelsey gets messages galore and has shipped her products all over the country. “I was at JOANN Fabrics yesterday getting more patterns and as I was walking out, I saw a mom with a baby who was wearing one of my ponchos. I stopped to ask her if she ordered it through my business and she said yes and asked if I’m rich yet because ‘this is the best thing ever!” she said.

Photo Contributed by Kelsey Teixeira

“I never thought I’d affect this many lives with one simple poncho.”

Kelsey is a full-time student at New England Tech in East Greenwich. She is on track to graduate in 2021 and become a Respiratory Therapist in March. She is still taking orders and makes several batches per day all while studying for the boards.

Kelsey will be featured at "SNOW - SOAM's Outdoor Holiday Market" on Saturday, November 28 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Swansea YMCA.

She will also be at a pop-up event in Westport on Sunday, November 29 at Capeway Roofing System from 11 am to 3 pm.

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