AnaOno was born when breast cancer survivor Dana Donofree discovered that the traditional lingerie market was not a 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, around the world.
“When launching AnaOno, getting stores to understand the different needs of reconstructed patients was difficult, so we launched the first-ever mastectomy bras online,” explained Donofree.
In 2014, the founder started her website and put the first mastectomy bra ever on the internet. Within just two years, the Philadelphia-based venture grew into a global business.
Donofree attributes this fast expansion to the business’s e-commerce nature. Integration across the organization’s social media platforms has been a key component of its digital strategy.
From Google Ads to Facebook’s Shop Now feature to Buyable Pins with Pinterest, AnaOno has created a holistic digital marketing approach. The team also uses a variety of other digital tools to simplify the purchasing process for customers including Shopify, PayPal, Google Pay and Facebook Pay.
Since AnaOno’s establishment, the brand has also been introduced into a number of small specialty stores and boutiques. “Store closures have impacted our ability to serve patients in person, but cancer doesn’t stop, not even during a pandemic,” she said. “We continue to serve our customers online to ensure that those who need support have it.”
“We are relying a lot on our platforms such as LiveChat, Shopify, Mailchimp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest as direct communication lines back to our consumers who are looking for quick, reliable sources of information as they continue to shop,” she stated.
In addition to being carried in a number of brick and mortar locations internationally including New Zealand, India, Peru and Israel, AnaOno also ships lingerie directly to customers around the world.
The business faces several challenges on the global stage. “Navigating customs are very difficult for small businesses. Especially if you are new to this space, it can be very overwhelming. The different duty rates in other countries are complicated and it’s even more complicated to convey that to consumers,” Donofree explained.
Logistic carriers simplify shipping procedures for small businesses with a global footprint. When it comes to shipping the team uses UPS, USPS Priority and International Express to ship products across North America and to Europe and Asia.
Despite the challenges, Donofree emphasized the importance of global markets for the growth of a business. Donofree expects that their international community and customers will have more access to solutions and post-mastectomy bras than ever before through the increasing role of e-commerce platforms and digital tools.