Local widow: 9/11 aftermath was ‘light, beautiful’

By Cassidy Destefano Asbury Park Press

Lisa Luckett Photo: Stacy Lyle Photography

Lisa Luckett
Photo: Stacy Lyle Photography

After facing the tragedy of losing her husband to the September 11 terrorist attacks, one would think that Fair Haven resident Lisa Luckett would be grief-stricken and overcome with lethargy.

Instead, this stage of Luckett’s life served as a catalyst in the creation of her lifestyle brand Cozmeena.

Luckett described Cozmeena, which is centered around knitting functional yet fashionable shawls for those who are enduring difficulties, as a “connection to positive thinking.” She compared the company initiatives to the relief efforts following 9/11, explaining that “the outrageous patriotism” after the domestic tragedy can be directly linked to the outreach goals of her business.

“The aftermath of 9/11 was not dark, it was incredibly light and beautiful,” Luckett said.

Her personal relationships following the attacks served as an impetus to try using art as a healer.

Luckett added that the close bond with her therapist also contributed to the foundation of Cozmeena. Her therapist had always implied that an extreme burst of creativity would signify Luckett’s return to a healthy mental state, and Luckett began to see truth in that statement after four years when she found fellowship through yoga.

“A sense of spirituality was in my head, on my couch, everywhere,” she said. “I began to pick up messages of gratitude, humility and unconditional love. We as humans are small, and we have to live each moment to the fullest. It was then that I asked myself, ‘why aren’t we all just being nice to each other?’ ”

This epiphany laid the groundwork for Cozmeena, which is based on the pillars of warmth, comfort and care. The brand has a particular focus on outreach for mothers, inspired by Luckett’s endeavor of guiding her three children, Jennifer, Billy and Timmy, through losing their father while still trying to maintain a sense of inner stability.

“Nobody is taking care of the mothers in the world,” Luckett said. “As a mother with children, you can’t break down when things get rough. You are responsible for helping other people, but you need to help yourself too.”

When building Cozmeena, Luckett also considered women who undergo “empty nest syndrome” when their children leave for college, and search for some way to fill the void that is left behind. She sought out a method for mothers to be calmed and soothed by participating in a common recreational activity.

Driven by these thoughts, Luckett crafted her first Cozmeena as a gift for her therapist by using an original pattern loosely based on a store-bought poncho. In the first few years alone, Luckett knit and distributed 50 Cozmeenas, giving one to the neighbor who coined the brand name.

A neighbor fawned over the garment, she said, while describing it as a fashionable pashmina enveloping her in a “big warm hug.” From then on, the term Cozmeena was adopted, with the trademark describing the “coziness meets glamour” nature of the piece.

Networking allowed her to build her current support base of 108 participants. Just as the idea began to take off, Luckett was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Although Luckett knew from the start that her case could be treated with a simple lumpectomy, this aspect of her life went on to influence of the kindness-centered brand.

Another effort to augment the personal connection between giver and receiver was the introduction of the touchstone heart, which is sewn onto each completed Cozmeena. Inspired by a pocket angel that she had been given, Luckett began making the hearts from remnant art class clay in 2006 and distributing them as random tokens of kindness.

Luckett’s son Billy approached her one day and showed her a well-received Instagram post of an assortment of the clay hearts.

“He came up to me and said, ‘Mom, you should trademark these,’ ” Luckett said. “But (Cozmeena) has never been about the money. I just want people to have this. What we ultimately want is for Cozmeena to be a household word.”

Beginners can purchase their first kit on the company website for $125. The package includes knitting needles, a crochet hook, instruction, philosophy, lessons and a choice of Cozmeena brand washable wool yarn from a selection of 28 colors. The season’s most popular colors, Luckett said, are oatmeal, wheat, denim twist, fig, eggplant and pumpkin.

The shawl pattern requires five skeins of yarn in total: two for the front, two for the back and one for decorative fringe. Refills for future Cozmeenas are $75, and Luckett has recently introduced supplementary infinity scarf kits, priced at $40.

Luckett hosts open-knit sessions at her residence, but said that other participants have started opening their homes to group knitting. Members who knit from home can access YouTube tutorials to guide them through the process.

Finished Cozmeenas are numbered, sealed and noted as “an original work of wearable art” under a personal username on the company website. However, Luckett still views the Cozmeena itself as a single branch of an infinite tree diagram for her business, and plans to offer kitchen utensils and cooking merchandise in the future.

“Because it’s a lifestyle brand, you can just take it and go,” she said.

Luckett summarized Cozmeena as a way of thanking those who took care of her during times of trouble, and in turn as an outlet through which she can do the same for others.

“When you knit for somebody who actively needs it, it is a miracle. You are infusing your love, prayer and energy into something that will now hold them,” she said. “And besides, I’ll be paying back for the rest of my life. I’m a 9/11 widow.”

For more information, visit cozmeena.com.

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