Breast Cancer Survivor Creates Niche Lingerie Line

lingerie business

ana ono lingerie business

No one really understands the needs and wants of cancer survivors quite like those who have gone through those experiences themselves. That’s why Dana Donofree founded AnaOno, a lingerie line made especially for breast cancer survivors.

Donofree was diagnosed right before her 28th birthday. Shortly after, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy. But after the experience, she was no longer able to find any bras that actually fit her. And she knew others who had the same issues. So she took action. Donofree told Mashable:

“None of the bras in department stores, specialty boutiques, websites — you name it — fit. I knew what was needed for women like me, so I started sketching and looking for stretchy, beautiful, non-irritating materials.”

The company offers a variety of options from lace bralettes to bamboo sports bras. Donofree had some idea of what styles and materials would work best from her own experience. But she also enlisted the help of some friends who had dealt with breast cancer in the past to give her input on the designs.

The whole process, according to Donofree, was emotional for all those involved. She said to Mashable.

“For me, when I put on my first design, it was life-changing. I cried not because it was my own work, but because it was the first time in years I felt like myself. I felt desirable and I felt whole.”

And that personal experience is what makes AnaOno unique. It would be possible for a company to do some research and focus groups to come up with materials and basic designs that might be comfortable for breast cancer survivors.

But Donofree personally knows why doing so is so important. She understands first-hand the needs of her potential customers. And it’s also likely that those customers appreciate and want to support her venture and her lingerie business, both because of their connection and because her product is so different from everything else available.

Image: 6 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. Amazing. I love how she is using her business to help other people. These businesses started with a goal of helping and not thinking so much about profit. I am sure that this will take her to greater heights.

  2. The cancer survivor community is very tight-knit and I would anticipate them supporting this company well. Congrats on beating cancer!

  3. Annie, It would be nice if you had researched this promotional piece. There is no way a survivor can wear any of these designs. Yeah, You might gather I am not happy. The garment descriptions doeasn’t even tell you whether it has a form in the bras or pockets for your own form. This MAY work if you are a AA cup!

    What a waste.


  4. Thank you everyone for your positive comments. We do offer sizes up to a 40-42 band size, and are currently expanding into more plus sizes, and have accommodated women without any breasts and women with DD implants. We originally started the line for women who’ve had breast reconstruction, either bilateral or unilateral, after mastectomy, and are in development for pocketed collections. We hope women will continue to offer feedback either through the website or by taking our online survey, and we encourage anyone interested in seeing where we are taking AnaOno in the future to sign up for our newsletter. Thank you so much again for your continued support.