By KENNA COE Moultrie News, December 29, 2020
Becky Connelly sought to create a bra that is concealing and comfortable, something she had spent years looking for herself, but what she did not expect was to design a bralette that helps women who have undergone breast cancer treatments.
“A few of my customers that have undergone radiation have said that this is the only bra that they have been able to wear because their skin feels very sunburned,” said Connelly, a Mount Pleasant resident.
Andrea Felber, Connelly’s neighbor, was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through 21 days of radiation. She purchased a Non Disclosure Apparel bralette to support her friend, but it became all she wore during that time when her skin felt like it was on fire.
“It’s very tender, sensitive and it’s a trying time in many ways. The last thing you want to think about is, you know, what kind of bra you’re going to put on,” Felber said.
“It’s hard to find a bra, but you do want some support to give you a little hug so it was the only thing that I could wear during that time,” Felber said.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Connelly ran a Pink for Pink campaign. For each pink bralette sold, she donated one to Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC. She recently delivered the basket of 45 bralettes to Abby Parks, Hollings Cancer Center’s associate director of development and director of special events.
Traditional bras have clasps, underwire and other structure that can be too painful after cancer treatments. Connelly said it would be great if her bralettes could take the guesswork out of what to wear for these women.
Felber thought the donation was generous for a new, small business, and thinks the women at Hollings will appreciate the bralettes as she has.“Not everyone has the opportunity to purchase new clothing just because they’re going through this, so it was very thoughtful of her,” Felber said.
Connelly already had a relationship with Hollings Cancer Center because several family members went through treatment there and she has been involved in other fundraising efforts over the years. She hopes to continue the partnership, run other donation campaigns and receive feedback from cancer patients who receive the bralettes.
In 2014, Connelly decided to pursue her dream of creating a concealing bra after leaving her job in construction. Non Disclosure Apparel released its first bralette, the Elli Bralette, in February of this year. The seamless and wireless bralette with a ribbed outside texture is a simple, everyday bra that can be worn under thin shirts. The distinct feature is the patent pending nipple concealer. Layered fabric around the nipple is heat-sealed into the bralette, so the extra padding will not move around, and it provides coverage and flexibility in the area. Connelly said it conceals nipples even in thin t-shirts when the air conditioner is on.
Bralette Designed with Tweens and Teens in Mind
Non Disclosure Apparel’s main market is small-breasted women, teens and tweens, although Connelly is working to expand the sizes she offers. Currently, size large will fit a 34C or 36B and she is releasing size extra-large next that will include reinforced straps and fitt most D cups.
“I don’t know if I will be able to fit everyone out of the gate, but it’s something that a long-range plan for me is to have all sizes,” Connelly said.
She’s received feedback from moms of young women who said the Non Disclosure Apparel bralette smooths any unwanted texture and easily translates from daily clothes to sportswear. Having a 12-year-old daughter herself, Connelly said the junior bra market is limited. She sees either cami bras that do not provide enough support and coverage, or a padded bra that is inappropriate for that age.
Connelly’s bralette idea simply came from solving a problem she’s had her whole life. She has a photo on her desk of her 11-year-old self where her nipples can be seen through her shirt, unknowingly to her when the photo was taken. This problem continued to be magnifed and was a cause of self-consciousness, especially throughout her career in construction.
When she decided to make a career move, pursuing her passion for a concealing bra became the next best step. She had a conversation with a life coach who said she lit up when speaking about this idea.
Around six years ago, she transitioned to working on the bralette project full-time. After going back and forth with manufacturers, testing out the prototypes herself and finalizing the details, the Elli Bralette, named after her life coach, became a reality. Now, she sells the bralettes primarily online and in stores at Simply J Boutique and the tween section of Ragamuffn Children’s Boutique.
KENNA KOE, firstname.lastname@example.org