"A Letter from our Founder, Allison Schickel"
This is Allison, Chief Visionary Officer for Brobe International. Today, I’m writing this letter to you because I want to talk about a problem that I think a lot of you share, but that maybe you haven’t realized is entirely common...and then I want to tell you how we can come together as women to make this problem a thing of the past (TL;DR - just scroll to the headers below for the grand reveal).Watch this video for the cliff's notes.
Words cannot convey how grateful I am that in my line of work, I am graced with the opportunity to pray for and to support so many fierce, funny and formidable women.
Every single day, we get calls from customers who are about to embark on a journey to more certainty in their health. These conversations usually start out related to sizing or shipping, and the next thing we know we’re discussing marital issues, childhood dreams, or just venting about general frustrations.
I’ve never been sure if this is just because at a certain point they realize that I’m the founder, if I just ask a lot of questions, or if it’s because sometimes it’s just easier to talk to a stranger. Either way, 30-60 minutes later we’re maybe a bit tearful, but smiling, stronger and a little more equipped to push forward.
To be honest, I learn so much from these conversations.
Sometimes this knowledge turns into a new product. Sometimes it inspires a blog post. At times, I don’t have the resources to build something out and these conversations just go into my personal repertoire so that I have a better understanding of women walking this road.
Over the years, I’ve gotten quite the collection of stories. But I have to say that I‘ve noticed one particular thing that resounds through all of these conversations, regardless of who it is that I’m speaking to. That’s what inspired me to write this post.
Like I said before, I ask a lot of questions. I maybe even pry a little...but always when I can tell that someone wants to talk. What can I say? Empathy is sort of my modus operandi (not my words, but that’s what I’ve been told). Women about to embark on, or who are already working their way through their recovery journey, are inundated with unsolicited advice, conflicting information, and fortune cookie wisdom when most of them just ache for someone to listen. Feeling heard is a fundamental human need and I think it’s the most important part of my job.
My team knows that our top priority is to be your advocate, your cheerleader and to play a supporting role in helping you make it out on the other side even better than you were before.
Even if the best that we can do is just listen….
But you know what
I recently realized that we can do more than that.
I always tell people that I created this company to focus on the wellness of the patient, not the sickness. And because of these phone calls...I feel called to offer more.
Being a woman isn’t easy. I would even say that a lot of the time it’s downright hard. But it’s dang near impossible to feel feminine, beautiful, and empowered as a woman when your stride is interrupted by some lengthy medical tribute that you’ve been called to offer up, to the gods of fate. It’s disorienting, distressing and disappointing especially since so many women who are diagnosed are at the age where you finally seem to feel like you’ve got things figured out...and then this devastating diagnosis comes along and takes a poo on your timeline. (Pardon me but it’s time to get real.)
I’m not saying this because it’s my opinion -- I’m saying so because people have told me. I have heard from real women and learned from their experiences. Honestly, the biggest challenge that we hear, again and again, is a humble but clear warrior cry about navigating all the bullshit!
Despite all the noise from the internet, the latent pity from the people around them, and the consuming trepidation after each doctor’s visit, women are swaddled in that gut-wrenching, sinking feeling of utter, complete, loneliness. We’ve gone into our reservations on “pink ribbon” culture so I won’t go off on a tangent, but at the end of the day, you deserve more than the touchy-feely, rah-rah, “hear me roar” bravado that you can get in tons of other places.
Our mission is not to make you feel warm and fuzzy or to pump you full of pink power-ade. We want to empower you. So, we’re exploring territory outside of our comfort zone to try and come up with something different, but something real. We want to empower you with the knowledge you need, by going directly to the source and getting the answers that you want.
HOW WE’RE GONNA FIX IT
So we’ve created *drumroll please* the Brobe Network. Our intention is to have a multimedia resource of interviews, roadmaps to recovery, financial, mental, and emotional guidance, and of course product reviews -- and not just of our products. We know that you need more than clothes you can feel confident in. You want to know:
- What can I do if my husband/family is having a hard time?
- How long until I can drive again after a mastectomy?
- How do I talk to my kids about chemotherapy without scaring them?
- How soon & what exercises can I do post-op that will help me heal?
- How do I choose a post-mastectomy bra & how many do I really need?
- Are there any foods that I can eat to expedite post-surgical recovery?
...and honestly, what are the pro-tips and shortcuts on getting to the other side because you have ENOUGH on your plate.
MORE THAN A BREAST CANCER SUPPORT GROUP
Every month on The Brobe Network, we will be featuring a monthly theme ranging from genetics to reconstructive surgeries. We already stacking up interviews with patients, caregivers, medical professionals, nutritionists, mental health professionals, grief counselors, other breast cancer support groups and anyone else that we think you would talk to if you had the time. We are talking to experts in the field and in real life who can give you the advice & guidance you need...and not the fluffy stuff. The real stuff.
We are asking the tough questions -- the questions you ask us -- and we are seeking out the answers you deserve. See what we’ve got coming up next and take 30-seconds to help us meet you with information that you want.
HOW YOU CAN ENGAGE
- Of course, join our mailing list for weekly updates, follow us on
- Facebook (for the most info)
- Instagram (for bite-sized snippets, only)
- Youtube (for full-length interviews)
- Check out our Editorial Calendar to see what we’re going to be talking about and tell us where you’ve got the biggest blind spot (i.e. what we should prioritize).
- If you have any experience with any of the topics that we’ve mentioned - get in touch because we want to talk to you!
WHAT’S NEXT - September 1st
Our first theme coming this September is BRCA, or the Breast Cancer gene mutation, including a 30-minute interview with a friend who opted to become a previvor at 21 after her mother, and her grandmother both battled breast cancer. We’ll be covering everything you want to know about the preventative mastectomy procedure, giving you tips, talking about genetics, at-home testing, risk factors, and so much more!