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The Brighter Side

Transform a negative experience into a positive business idea.

This story appears in the December 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Diagnosed with skin cancer at age 26, Melissa Marks Papock learned a chilling lesson about the clothing on her back: It wasn't protecting her skin from sun damage. Now cancer-free, the fashion industry veteran channeled her experience into Cabana Life, a line of sun-protective clothing for women and children. The clothing blocks 98 percent of UV rays using patented High IQ Sun Protection from chemical company Huntsman. Papock, 33, started the Ridgefield, Connecticut, company in 2003 and introduced her first collection in 2005. Turning her negative experience into a positive business idea has helped push 2007 sales to $700,000.

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