HEart Works: A labor of love

Dana Dunn and one of her works. (Photo by Amy Pauszek)

Dana Dunn and one of her works. (Photo by Amy Pauszek)

By Michelle Williams

Dana Dunn once struggled with severe health issues that overshadowed her life. Now she is the thriving Carmel business owner of Designs by HEart Works, quickly developing a blossoming local and nationwide reputation through her online Etsy shop.

Before she began her business, she spent several years and nearly all of her family’s life savings in the battle against her autoimmune diseases. “Chronic fatigue ruled my life, and Mayo Clinic told me I had less than two years left in many organs,” Dunn said.

Finally, Dunn found a doctor and a nutritionist who outlined a natural approach that solved her declining health. After a two year recovery, she was back to full vitality at the beginning of 2013.

Health restored, she tackled her backlogged to-do list – starting with sorting through an overabundance of Christmas decorations. Her collection had accumulated from years of hosting Christmas tours in her home for not-for-profits with which she had once served as a board member.

Following a series of spiritual inspirations, she used her resources to help others who had fallen on challenging times. She produced uniquely arranged wreaths, trees, and other designs — selling over 400 arrangements that year. She was thrilled to be able to financially assist her elderly grandmother’s caretaker with medical bills resulting from a broken foot and melanoma.

With her year of “giving back” over, a friend suggested she start a business and donate a portion to charity. “I thought I was the one giving the blessing, but I was the one being blessed since I received the training to start a business to help my family and others.” said Dunn. She named it Designs by HEart Works to weave in its spiritual beginnings. This year, she plans to support Riley Children’s Hospital through the Carmel and IU Dance Marathons. She finds great satisfaction in using her creativity to help others. “It truly is a labor of love powered by God.”

Designs may be viewed in her online store at www.etsy.com/shop/designsbyheartworks.