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Black-owned businesses are giving women fighting breast cancer their dignity back as they shop for wigs and intimate clothing by tailoring products to their unique experience.
Hair loss resulting from chemotherapy is usually the first thought that comes to mind about the physical toll of breast cancer. But in some cases, surgery also permanently alters the shape of women’s chest. When they seek alternatives to maintain appearances, options are usually Eurocentric.
“Women are wearing their hair natural, you know, at a great rate now,” explained Pamela Shaddock, president & co-founder of Coils to Locs.
“They’re looking for these types of wigs, and they’re not finding them in the hospital space.”
Coils to Locs is the main source of Afro-textured wigs that are supplied to hospitals and medical supplies that are authorized to sell insurance-covered wigs.
“We were hearing from the cancer center retailers themselves, we’ve been looking for a business like yours in order to provide wigs. We kept hearing it over and over again,” said Dianne Austin, CEO & co-founder of Coils to Locs. “And we’re like, OK, so I guess we are the only ones that are doing this because we just keep hearing that.”
In addition to wigs, Black women who are seeking prosthetic breasts can get custom 3-D printed bra inserts at the Black-owned Cherry Blossom Intimates Boutique.
Inspired by her grandmother’s battle with breast cancer, Jasmine Jones, CEO and founder, created an in-person and online boutique to cater to women with breast cancer journeys. The boutique also doubles as a fully accredited medical facility.
Through the accreditation, many of the boutique’s inventory of bras are covered by insurance companies.
Jones challenges people to consider that “breasts are more than just sexy things” but “living organ[s]” as the public engages in conversations about insuring bras and breast prostheses.
The prosthetic technology Jones uses at her boutique is referred to as the “pride and joy” of her brand.
“You can choose from 36 different skin tones. You can add freckles or veins if you’d like. You can even customize your nipple. And it’s actually designed to fit the convex and concave pieces of your chest while in the back,” Jones told theGrio.
The products both Coils to Locs and Cherry Blossom Intimates provide give women hope and restore confidence.
“Every woman should, regardless of social economic background or anything like that, should have access to these resources,” Shaddock emphasized.
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