Barbie Herron Conkling’s family roots have been in Malibu since the 1940s.
“We’re very old school Malibu,” Herron Conkling commented on growing up by the beach and attending Point Dume, Juan Cabrillo, and Our Lady of Malibu schools.
It was here in Malibu that Herron Conkling started a business making blankets when her son, Lyon, now 29, was diagnosed with Gardner Syndrome, a rare form of cancer, in 1996. While her then young son was undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic, a friend sent them both cozy blankets.
Lifelong Malibuite Barbie Herron Conkling sew bohemian style kantha quilts and blankets that Herron Conkling sells in her for-profit business, Coconut Haus, and distributes through her nonprofit, Cozy Courage.
Rich Conkling cut sewbohemian style kantha quilts and blankets
“It was a piece of comfort,” Herron Conkling reminisced. “It meant so much to us. It was this fuzzy, warm blanket.”
In 2012, Herron Conkling decided to follow her passion for textiles and home décor to start her company called The Coconut Haus. It specializes in handcrafted, luxurious yet cozy bohemian style kantha quilts and blankets. Her nonprofit, Cozy Courage, was born the same year. That was also the year her son’s cancer reoccurred.
After Herron Conkling made her son a cozy blanket during his health crisis, she said she realized, “how many kids could use these warm, comforting, loving shields.” So, Herron Conkling started making blankets for pediatric cancer patients, before expanding to adults. People with sick relatives and friends reached out to the Malibu native with their stories and the nonprofit was launched from there.
Cozy Courage was soon invited to the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, and more donations were made.
“We would go to the men’s and women’s combat trauma unit,” Herron Conkling described. Now, the nonprofit accepts donation requests for anyone who needs a cozy blanket.
Lifelong Malibuite Barbie Herron Conkling and husband Rich Conkling fold …….