Building a Business: Helping Breast Cancer Survivors One Bra at a Time
An interview with OnDeck customer Dana Donofree, owner of Ana Ono Intimates
Ana Ono, a lingerie line designed specifically for breast cancer survivors, is the brainchild of Dana Donofree of Philadelphia, PA. “As a breast cancer survivor and a fashion designer, my purpose is to give other survivors an opportunity to reclaim their identity and femininity through custom lingerie.”
Dana launched Ana Ono in 2014, after her own battle with breast cancer in 2010. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 27. At the time, Dana had an active lifestyle, she was a budding fashion designer, and felt untouchable (as most of us did in our 20s). After her surgery, she wasn’t feeling like her old self; she felt as if she was losing her identity to cancer and the recovery process. As a young woman, she was shocked and jarred that the underwear she usually liked didn’t fit her anymore.
“My body changed.”
After speaking with many breast cancer survivors and hearing these women’s stories, Dana realized that this was a common problem. She decided to take her experience as a fashion designer and designed intimates that fit, as well as providing services and other products to assist women post-op.
After an amazing few years in business, using funds from OnDeck, Dana designed and introduced her RecoveryWear line. After a mastectomy, women have drains coming out of their bodies for up to six weeks post-surgery. Along with the trauma of the actual surgery, these drains and the lack of ability to fit them into normal bras can mess with a woman’s confidence and body image. Doctors and healthcare providers don’t give any solutions for the drain problem. What makes RecoveryWear unique is that every piece has solutions to hide and work around these drains.
“[My goal] is to help women heal in beauty and in dignity after their surgery.”
Dana came to OnDeck in 2016 through our partnership with Intuit. “I remember the process being smooth and straightforward, it can be incredibly stressful; fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses. I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant [regarding payback]. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan. The speed and efficiency of the process were incredible.”
Ana Ono’s RecoveryWear line sold out immediately, and Ana Ono has increased sales 4X over.