African-American women have higher rates of breast cancer than those of other ethnic groups in the United States. In 2018, Black women received diagnoses of 26.3 per 100,000 women, compared to 22.8 per 100,000 for white women, according to the National Cancer Institute. When women have breast cancer surgery, survivors often can’t find comfortable bras. Jasmine Jones hopes to change that with her Myya line of bras for breast cancer survivors.
“After raising more than $1.25 million in venture-capital funding for Myya, my goal is for these designs to empower cancer survivors, and inspire Black female founders to follow their dreams.The greatest benefit in starting Myya as a Black woman and business owner is that I have a very fresh perspective on an antiquated industry that has typically overlooked a large demographic of women. These women have emotional ties around these necessary purchases, and it brings me joy to solve challenges that haven’t yet been addressed,” Jones told Finurah.
Myya: A Tribute to Jasmine Jones’ Grandmother
Motivated after her grandmother battled breast cancer, Jones launched the Myya website and store as part of her Cherry Blossom boutique in October. Although her grandmother has since passed away, Jones remembers how besides having to deal with her health crisis, the older woman struggled to find bras that could fit her post-cancer form and match her skin tone.
“After watching my grandmother go through breast cancer, I had a first-hand look at how women going through the recovery process were limited to poorly-made prosthetics, ill-fitting bras, only given choices between two skin tones, or allocated to a terrible ‘shopping‘ experience in a sterile medical supply store next to bedpans and adult diapers,” Jones told Finurah. “I knew these strong women deserved better choices and a more thoughtful experience coming out of their treatment.”
Jones’ Maryland-based brick-and-mortar intimates boutique, Cherry Blossom Intimates, opened in 2018. It offers post-mastectomy swim forms, breast forms, plus-size bras, small bras, and lingerie for breast cancer survivors. “Cherry Blossom was growing rapidly, and after having appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ in 2020, hundreds of women across the country wrote in asking for our unique services. It became very apparent that there was a massive gap in the market, and that we needed to take our services virtual, and that is where Myya was born,” said Jones.
She already had a background in retail. In her 20s, Jones worked at Nordstrom and Tiffany & Co. After college, she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Myya Bras Include Black Women’s Varied Skin Tones
Jones wanted to make sure Myya bras cater to African-American breast cancer survivors.
“Black women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group. These numbers are jarring. Whether directly or indirectly, everyone has come across breast cancer in their lives, so it is extremely important to me to cater to everyone affected,” Jones told Finurah.
Jones creates silicone prostheses in a wide range colors to match many skin tones.The bras come in more than 200 sizes, from AA to N cups, and from 28 through 54 bands.
“As a Black woman, I was particularly focused on making the products as inclusive as possible. That’s why Myya will have silicone prostheses in a range of sizes (A-O) as well as 36 different skin tones. It was a priority to me to ensure women see themselves in size, shape, and color on Myya’s virtual shelves. We’re reimagining an industry that hasn’t historically prioritized inclusivity and I’m very proud of that, ” added Jones.
Myya Mixes Fashion and Technology
Jones also wanted Myya products to be fashionable and functionable, a standout from other companies who manufacuter similar products. She has combined fashion and technology to achieve this goal.
“Myya is a healthcare technology company with a boutique feel. Our proprietary software allows for a tailored one-on-one fitting while also bringing bra/prosthetics stylists to women across the country virtually. We are built uniquely to serve women as they are while embracing their scars, sensitivities, and changing shapes,” explained Jones.
Myya’s bras are specifically designed for the needs of breast cancer patients and feature pockets that can fit a prosthetic breast form. The company uses a 3D printer to make custom breast prostheses from silicone that resemble the part of the breast the customer has lost.
Myya also delivers a boutique experience to shoppers.”We are the first company to blend an elevated shopping experience with traditional medical care. We accept insurance and handle the billing, we sell everything a woman needs post-mastectomy or lumpectomy from drainage belts to custom prosthetics, and we make bras women actually want to wear — all with the goal of making the experience both effortless and encouraging,” said Jones.
Empowering Cancer Survivors
Jones said she wants to give Black breast cancer survivors quality products that are not only stylish but help boost self esteem. “My goal is to fit one million breast cancer survivors by 2025. Currently, Myya is an online direct-to-consumer shopping model. Next up, we’re bringing our technology in-person to women across the country,” revealed Jones.