After seeing her mother Debbie struggle to find a bra post-mastectomy--a task that included having to drive well over an hour just to find a store that sells the appropriate styles--Allana Maiden, 27, started a petition on Change.org asking Victoria's Secret to launch a line of mastectomy bras.
Maiden figured that the omnipresent retailer was best positioned, both in terms of store locations and price points, to help women like her mother who were searching for mastectomy bras that were both practical and pretty. She was shocked, however, when what started as a small petition at the beginning of January blossomed into a national story--garnering nearly 120,000 signatures in less than a month.
Victoria's Secret paid attention.
Limited Brands’ VP of External Communications Tammy Roberts Myers agreed to sit down with Maiden and her mother this morning to talk about their petition. The mother-daughter pair showed up with all of the signatures from the petition printed out, which included comments from cancer survivors like, "I cried when I threw away thousands of dollars of Victoria's Secret bras I can never wear again." Allana told us after the meeting that she was optimistic, and that the Victoria's Secret execs had been doing their research.
"We didn't really know what to expect going in," Maiden shared. "She had been really nice on the phone when I had talked to her before, and she seemed really interested in my ideas, so I kind of thought it would continue to go that way, but I wasn't really expecting it to go that high."
And what does she mean by "that high?" Not only had Victoria's Secret already begun researching the design process of a mastectomy bra, they are also offering to fly Maiden and her mother to their Columbus, Ohio headquarters to meet with developers. During the visit, the group will meet with various people from cancer hospitals to get their take on the bras as well.
Maiden cautions that the project is in the very early stages, and that Victoria's Secret is still looking into the viability of a mastectomy line. Still, she's staying positive about the meeting. "It's good to know that I'm helping somebody that's high up in the company and that seems interested in finding out more about this and what we can do to make it possible," she said.
A Victoria's Secret spokesperson had this to say about the meeting:
We celebrate those who champion the fight against breast cancer. Victoria’s Secret and our parent company, Limited Brands, have been dedicated to helping eradicate this disease and have committed $10s of millions to cancer research. Ultimately, we are working towards celebrating the day when breast cancer is a thing of the past. In the meantime, we are listening and learning to understand if there are additional ways for our company to continue to extend its support.
And how does Maiden's mother--who has a bit of background in activism herself, having started a nonprofit that gives children in her hometown school supplies--feel about being the source of her daughter's inspiration? "I was just really proud of her, going out and making a stand for others," she said. "I'm always proud of her."