by Jamaica Gayle | Apr 27, 2020
AnaOno was born when Founder Dana Donofree, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, discovered that nothing in the traditional lingerie market fit after her bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction. What started as a lingerie line for women going through breast cancer and breast reconstruction, has grown into a brand for women of all shapes and sizes.
“When launching AnaOno, 6 years ago, getting stores to understand the different needs of reconstructed patients was difficult, so we launched the first-ever mastectomy bras online,” explains Donofree.
Since AnaOno’s establishment, the brand has been introduced into a number of small specialty stores and boutiques. “Store closures have impacted our business to serve these patients in need, but cancer doesn’t stop, not even during a pandemic. However, due to the recent increase in cases, breast surgeries have been put on hold and deemed non-essential for reconstructive procedures, so this is another layer to the slowdown and impact of COVID-19,” she continues.
“We continue to service our customers online to ensure that those who need support have it.”
AnaOno is taking to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to remind its community that they are not alone, offer tips and spread positivity. “We are leveraging our email list and social platforms to keep our community up to date on important information that can impact their lives due to COVID-19.”
The business is also using these digital platforms to share patient and survivor interviews, how the community has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and updates on reconstructive options during the pandemic. “It is important we support one another and having these outlets to continue to inform and encourage is part of what makes supporting our community part of our mission, beyond more than just a bra,” Donofree emphasizes.
When Donofree thinks about the future of AnaOno and all retail businesses, she feels both nervous and excited. “We know the world as we know it is going to change forever, but into what is still the unknown so many of us are facing.” She ponders, “Will customers open their minds to buying more bras online? Will they starve to get back out into the world and visit brick and mortar more than ever before?”
Financial uncertainties are only intensified as the status of government relief funds remain undecided. “I am hopeful that the government aid will pull through to help us, but right now it feels like winning the lottery,” Donofree shares. ”We have to continue business without the expectation of receiving any help and making sure we survive the pandemic so we can continue to help these patients around the world.”
Although much is unclear looking forward, Donofree anticipates that their community and customers will have more access to solutions and post-mastectomy bras than ever before through e-commerce platforms and digital tools.