Over the last eight years, we have helped over 25,000 women battling breast cancer...and it all started with a Girls' Trip.
In 2009, Allison Schickel was on a girls' trip laughing with her friends about the Bra+Robe combination that she had sewn together to support her breasts while she was getting ready for work in the morning.
Inspired by the story of Spanx, they jokingly decided called this invention "The Brobe," because even if people didn't like the name, they would remember it.
The idea truly sprouted legs the next year when Allison's friend, Wendy, was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. Wendy described how dehumanizing the experience of managing her JP drains...how embarrassed she was when visitors came to the hospital to offer support, and she had to walk the halls in the chintzy "gown" that they gave her...and how she didn't have any other option because that's just what it meant to be in recovery.
"She didn't have any other option because that's just what it meant to be in recovery."
"The Brobe," an innocent, facetious, inception to "fight the fierce battle against boob sweat" suddenly seemed like an opportunity to do something more. So, Allison took her homemade prototype to a seamstress. After a few tweaks and adjustments, she had created a product with a mission and a purpose.
From there, Allison took The Brobe to the best place she could think of to get feedback -- The Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Komen Foundation introduced Allison and the Recovery Brobe to breast cancer patients affiliated with their organization, for feedback.
After a series of very emotional qualitative market studies with breast cancer survivors
Allison realized that at this point she had more than an opportunity; she had a responsibility.
Bringing The Recovery Brobe to market was her calling.
Allison gave birth to her second daughter November 2011. She gave birth to the Brobe January 2012.
By June, Schickel's Recovery Brobe won Dallas Market Center's "Next Big Thing" Award.
In August, Allison was selected as a finalist for Austin Business Journal's "Profiles in Power" Award.
October of that year, The Brobe landed it's first corporate client, MD Anderson in Houston, TX.
In 2013, Allison launched the Mommy Brobe for pregnant and nursing mothers, in association with Mother's Milk Bank.
That year, just in time for Mother's Day Allison partnered with Susan G. Komen. Together they officially launched the Mommy Brobe with a fundraiser called "Bubbles and Brobes." All proceeds of this Mother-Daughter Brunch went to Komen Austin. Later that year, Austin Chronicle awarded The Brobe one of the distinguished "Best of Austin."
In 2014, Brobe chaired the Project Pink Benefit for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Austin.
Project Pink is a fashion show, brunch and live auction held at the W Austin Hotel featuring the work of local design students from UT, The Art Institute, Austin Fashion School and McCallum High School.
This year, Allison also launched the Shower Belt (aka Post-Op Drain Belt).
In 2015, Brobe became a top seller on Amazon!
This afforded the opportunity to launch a new, improved eCommerce website and digital presence. To wrap up a fantastic year, Allison was awarded Austin's InnovateHer Award.
In 2016, Allison gave birth to her third child, Evan.
While caring for her newborn son, she mentored students at the McComb School of Business & continued to test the boundaries of success as an entrepreneur.
This (2016) was a big year for Brobe, as Allison finally decided to expand her team, beyond the one-woman show it had been over the last 4 years.
She hired a bookkeeper and hired her first freelance digital marketing assistant.
That May, she won the Women's Chamber of Commerce "Blazing Start award.
Later that year Brobe partnered with Kendra Scott for the "Heal Comfortable, Feel Beautiful" campaign in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For this campaign, Scott donated a piece of jewelry for every Brobe that was purchased.
In addition, Allison Schickel & Kendra Scott partnered to donate Post-Op Recovery belts and Jewelry to Texas Oncology and Seton Breast Care Center.
Brobe was selected as one of ten businesses. For this opportunity, Tory Burch flew the fellows to New York City for a week-long mentorship. Here, they met with influential business leaders for intensive business workshops.
Afterward, the fellows were mentored for a year in addition to continuing to have access to the extensive professional network of business experts associated with the Tory Burch Foundation.
In 2018, the game really changed for Brobe.
Brobe was accepted into Monarq Incubator where Allison discovered the full scope of patients that she could help with the Recovery Brobe. In addition, she started reaching out to more patients for insight on product diversification. This inspired a sprint of product development for Brobe International which is currently in testing and expected to roll out over 2019-2020.
From the Monarq Virtual Demo Day, Brobe was approached by Quake Capital. Quake was prospecting different companies from around the globe for investment and participation in their Austin based accelerator. After an extensive interview process, Brobe was chosen from 1,600 applicants as one of fifteen founders to take part in the launch of their ATX Accelerator Program.
From there, Brobe began reaching out to secure international distributors. They were able to secure interest in South America, Europe, and Asia.
In 2019, after the experiences with the Tory Burch Foundation, Monarq Incubator and Quake Capital's Fall 2018 Cohort, Allison was ready to mobilize these new international alliances.
Empowered with confidence and global potential, Brobe brought on Keila dos Santos as Chief Operating Officer.
The team moved into an office space in South Austin and transitioned their most vital business functions in house. Additionally, the team launched the Hospital Pilot Program for Brobe Post-Operative Recovery belts while bringing "Brobe Joggers" to market.
What's Next for Brobe International, Inc.
Our hope is that we can be a company that can do well, by doing good. By getting to know our customers and cultivating a deep understanding of the challenges that they face while on the road to recovery, we have managed to build a brand.
Over the last seven years, we have taken our time building alliances & proving the product-market fit. By demonstrating 100% year-over-year growth since 2012, we hope to secure investor interest so that we can bring Brobe International products to women all over the world.