Eclectic Shades Magazine October Issue 2017 - Page 12

Zelinda: How did "Heal in Comfort" come about? Meaning, how did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Cherie: I started my career in the field of computer engineering technology specializing in research & development and failure analysis for IBM. I was either inventing or fixing broken things on a daily basis. These skills came in handy after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. I discovered the hard way that there weren't any “standardized” adaptive post-operative garments provided for mastectomy patients. Breast cancer patients go through a scary amputation and have surgical drains sewn into their body. It's an emotional attack on one’s self-esteem. There wasn’t any helpful equipment to go home in and begin the recovery process.

The name of my company, healincomfort, is appropriately named because of my personal experience. Healing in comfort was the last thing that occurred. I started the company to fix a serious problem for mastectomy patients. It’s not right that a sprained elbow receives more equipment to recover in than a woman who has had her breast(s) removed and is in a battle for her life.

I started with 1,000 dollars and created a prototype as a social experiment. By bootstrapping, I wanted to see if people could push a product by word of mouth and if my business would survive while helping others. Healincomfort’s $1,000 investment and a goal of helping 100 Austin patients heal in comfort and dignity, has now helped 15,000 patients all over the USA.

I own 100% of my company and owe no debt. The answer to my social experiment is a yes. If you have a good idea, study what it means to be a bootstrap business, believe in your vision, and have an amazing community help get your story out (like being featured in Occhio Appello).

Zelinda: What was your mission at the outset?

Cherie: My mission was to help women and men have an adaptive garment to discreetly manage the medical equipment and have it feel like a hug. Men were using bungee cords, and women were wearing their husband’s old dress shirts which only added salt to the wound. I did not want to wear my husband’s old dress shirts with the surgical drains safety pinned to the outside after having my breasts removed. That’s like asking a man who has had their man parts removed to go home and wear his wife’s skirt because it’s nonbinding. It’s all about dignity!

Cherie Mathews Interview