Skarlette was founded by Kate & I as a result of my frustration at the severe lack of attractive lingerie for a flat chest following a double mastectomy. I’d suffered with breast cancer twice in my 40s between 2017 – 2020 which involved 3 surgeries – ultimately losing my breasts, and opting to remain flat, accept my new shape and ditch the artificial breast forms.
Kate altered many of my clothes when I lost weight through treatment, as she’d been a friend for several years. She was my natural choice to help resolve my problem (also a problem for many other women like me), so I asked her if she could make me a flat bra. Through passion, purpose, friendship and determination, we created a unique bralette that empowers flat-chested women and cancer survivors across the world. The Skarlette is the bralette for scars; designed by flat women for flat women.
The psychological and emotional recovery after breast cancer goes on a very long time, and restoring confidence and femininity is part of that journey. It can be a blessing to have no need to wear a bra, every woman will resonate with that, but every woman also deserves the choice of beautiful lingerie to embrace and sit comfortably on their skin. The messages we receive from our customers tells us loud and clear that we are transforming the way they feel about themselves – that just feels incredible.
Skarlette isn’t just about selling lingerie, it’s about raising awareness of breast cancer risk, and healthy life choices. We support and promote the work of the charity Prevent Breast Cancer as I am a very active ambassador for this Manchester based charity. Since 2019 I have taken part in numerous PBC organised events; run my own coffee mornings to raise money, given Health Talks in schools and businesses to raise awareness; completed 10k walks and The Morcambe bay walk to raise money; abseiled down the Trafford Centre Tower; Skarlette ran as a team of 40+ in the Manchester 10K and I have resurrected Paint Macc Pink which took place for the whole of April this year, and will run again in April 2024. In 2022 my daughter and I completed a cycling, swimming and walking challenge (everything 55,000 to represent the 55,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year) it was tough, but a great opportunity to spend time together and raise awareness amongst the younger population.
I have been a nurse all of my working life, with a rich career in both children and adult nursing; from children’s intensive care through to, most recently, working as a practice nurse in general practice. Cancer twice, and then covid, provided significant challenges to remain in my face to face nursing role, so it evolved and I now work with The Cheshire Training Hub – supporting and developing the ever growing primary care workforce. I continue with this role part time alongside Skarlette.
I think it’s the nurse in me that drives me to help people find a solution, to strive for fairness and openness and to improve information and choice to ultimately empower people. Through our social media, we demonstrate that we are real, we empathise, we resonate and we improve visibility of flat closure after mastectomy – validating this surgical choice and normalising a flat chest, focussing on body positivity.
Towards the end of October, I’m travelling to Miami, as Skarlette has been invited to the Flat Retreat Miami! Aside from being totally honoured and privileged, I am completely beside myself with excitement. There will be many women taking part who have had flat closure, we will be taking part in a fashion show and a Skarlette photoshoot, as well as the Making Strides Walk – taking our chests through the Miami streets raising visibility, and events like this really do empower women and create lifelong friendships too. For Skarlette, I hope this brings fantastic business opportunities too.
Last year, Skarlette featured in fashion shows in Colorado, Palm Springs, Stokholm, Manchester & Cheshire. I took part in the UK events, and we donated the lingerie to the international events, so it feels fabulous to be going with our lingerie this year. Having started out in 2021 with just two designs and 2 colours, we now have 4 designs across 5 colours and our recently launched gorgeous swimwear. We’re hugely proud of achieving this, as two part-time working Mums, with no prior experience in business or the lingerie trade, manufacturing in the north west.
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