One in eight American women will develop breast most cancers of their lifetimes. And once they do, most of them will have half or all of their breast tissue surgically eliminated. This makes it laborious to search out snug, not to mention engaging, bras.
That is one thing Jasmine Jones remembers from her childhood, when her grandmother had breast most cancers. After coping with the trauma of getting the analysis after which having a double mastectomy, she needed to take care of the indignity of bra procuring.
“She was at all times so stylish and well-dressed,” Jones says. “Then she mainly had to purchase bras and prosthetics from a medical provide retailer, subsequent to the grownup diapers. It was horrible.” Issues haven’t modified a lot over the many years, Jones says. So she determined to do one thing about it.
This week she launches Myya, a direct-to-consumer startup creating snug, engaging bras and breast prosthetics for women who’ve had breast most cancers. By way of the Myya web site and a store outdoors Washington, D.C., women can get fitted for a bra with the assistance of specifically educated specialists in an expertise that’s modeled on the lingerie boutiques in Paris. One of the best half: All of the merchandise are coated by medical health insurance.
The model is designed to offer women consolation and dignity as they take care of the stress and anxiousness of a terrifying analysis, however it’s additionally a enterprise alternative that addresses the wants of hundreds of thousands of underserved breast most cancers sufferers.
Earlier than launching Myya, Jones analyzed the market to see what choices existed for breast most cancers sufferers in search of bras and prosthetics. Women tended to purchase these merchandise from medical provide outlets or hospitals; she couldn’t discover a single outlet that mimicked the expertise of a lingerie retailer. Jones piloted the idea of a high-end retail retailer for her goal shopper outdoors D.C. referred to as Cherry Blossom Intimates.
The shop has glass tables the place lacy bras and panties are artfully displayed, and gold racks the place you possibly can look by silky robes and pajamas. There are plush pink sofas to take a seat on whereas talking with an knowledgeable, and spacious, warmly-lit altering rooms within the again the place you could be correctly fitted.
However the bras are particularly designed for the wants of breast most cancers sufferers, with pockets that may match a prosthetic breast type. A 3D printer could make customized breast prostheses from silicone that appear to be the half of the breast the shopper has misplaced. And importantly, each workers member is well-versed in medical health insurance and may deal with the medical billing on a buyer’s behalf.
In her 20s, Jones labored at Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co., the place she discovered the best way to create an opulent buyer expertise. After faculty, she attended the Style Institute of Know-how and commenced dreaming up the idea of Myya. When she was able to launch her personal enterprise, she visited lingerie boutiques in Paris and paid consideration to how they made clients really feel particular.
“An important factor is having an knowledgeable suit you for a bra that’s snug and that additionally makes you are feeling stunning,” Jones says. “You additionally need workers who keep in mind you, who greet you by identify whenever you come into the shop, and who name you when new product is available in that you simply’ll love.”
Jones had at all times deliberate to create a web based expertise that mimicked the in-store one. In 2020, when the pandemic hit and her retailer needed to shut, she felt a brand new urgency. When a lady involves the Myya web site, she’s assigned to at least one of the model’s six full-time licensed mastectomy fitters who will schedule a digital go to. The client discusses her particular wants however doesn’t must undress. Then Myya sends a set of bras and a number of other prostheses that may be tried on at dwelling. Any that the shopper doesn’t like could be returned free of charge.
“Our specialists are educated to be sure that women with mastectomies have bras that make them really feel balanced, in order that they don’t expertise again, shoulder, or chest ache,” Jones says.
As an African American girl, Jones is especially centered on making the merchandise as inclusive as doable. She creates silicone prostheses in a of vary colours to match many pores and skin tones. And the bras come in additional than 200 sizes, from AA to N cups, and from 28 by 54 bands. Jones has additionally spent the previous couple of years designing an in-house line of bras utilizing delicate supplies that are available a big selection of colours, together with nudes for women of all complexions. Her assortment is on the market on Myya and he or she’s constructing out a design division to proceed growing this line.
None of the merchandise have value tags as a result of Jones sells solely bras and prosthetics which might be coated by medical health insurance. In 1998, a regulation was handed that mentioned insurers had to supply breast most cancers sufferers with bras and prosthetics. (Right now, most suppliers pay for 12 bras and two units of prosthetics.) However Jones says many sufferers aren’t conscious of what they’re entitled to.
“My household paid for this stuff out of pocket, and so they can get costly,” she says. “Figuring out in regards to the 1998 healthcare regulation would have made our lives quite a bit simpler. I imagine it’s as much as me to advocate for breast most cancers survivors and allow them to know that they’re entitled to those advantages.”