Prepping for Your Busy Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Interview with Lori Conard-Miller

Naturally Yours TeamBreast Cancer Awareness month is only a few short months away, which means for most post-mastectomy boutiques, it’s time to prepare for the busy season! Many of our members host, sponsor or attend breast cancer awareness fundraisers, walks or runs. Essentially Women member, Lori Conard-Miller from Studio I in Saint Joseph, MI and Mishawaka, IN and Naturally Yours in Willowbrook, IL recently discussed with EW what Breast Cancer Awareness season looks like for their stores.

Studio I and Naturally Yours are two different stores that focus on post-mastectomy bras, breast forms, including off the shelf and custom, and wigs. Breast Cancer Awareness season typically starts six to eight weeks before October to get prepared for the busy month.

What should you be doing to prepare?

  1. Order inventory. As a business that focuses on breast cancer survivors, consider carrying inventory like clothing, specialty gift items, and jewelry. Lori’s stores carry Breast Cancer Awareness items year-round, but during October, rubber wristbands are a big seller. Also keep in mind what new products to pre-order, existing products to ramp up stock and others that you want to discontinue and/or clearance. Consider including additional small additional incremental sales items near your register. What little breast cancer awareness items would people want for community events? Why not have those available as your store? Community members likely already think of your shop as an outlet for these items. Look for items that provide 20-50% margins.
  2. Sign up for events. Organizations in your community likely ask your business to participate and sponsor in Breast Cancer Awareness events. Sponsoring and/or participating in events is a great way to advertise your company. Ask the event organizers if you can host a table to educate your community about your full offering for cancer thrivers, including providing breast prosthesis and wigs. While you’re at it, include a laptop or tablet so people in your community can send letters to your representatives to ask them to support the Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act and Lymphedema Treatment Act. Lori said that her team is busy with events the entire month, sometimes including weekends and weeknights. They attend multiple events around the area depending on what’s going on since it changes every year, including Little Black Dress, Race for the Cure, golf outings, the Pub Run, and the Pink Zone Notre Dame basketball game to name a few. Be careful to not spread your employees too thin. Lori’s team knows that they are a small staff, so they limit themselves to what they are able to do most effectively.
  3. Host an event. Is there a need in your community for another breast cancer awareness event? Do you host an annual customer appreciation day? Host one! It could be a survivor networking event, fitting event with a manufacturer sales rep on hand, an in-store fundraiser with a percentage of your proceeds going toward your charity of choice, fun run, or a more elaborate formal dinner. Whatever you choose, get the word out by word-of-mouth, send invites on social media, mail and email no later than 4 weeks out with social media and email reminders.
  4. Marketing. What better time than October to promote your business? Naturally Yours and Studio I promotes their businesses, specials and events through social media and mailers to their previous clientele. October is also great time to make sure that your referral sources have up to date information on your store, offerings and invites to your events. Pay a visit to them and make sure they have updated posters, contact information, and the latest information on what type of products you provide. Lori’s team makes sure invites to events and marketing materials are placed at oncology offices in acrylic holders.
  5. Create and execute in-store promotions and giveaways. In-store promotions and giveaways can help draw people into your store. Studio I and Naturally Yours host in-store promotions and creative giveaways all month long, including free drawings, gifts, treats, snacks and the debut of new products.

Breast Cancer Awareness month has become so popular with business, community and media support, make sure you position your company well in what you do for thrivers. What do you do to prep? Share your ideas, events and pictures with us on Essentially Women’s Facebook page with #BCAPrep.

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