IRISH COUNTRY LIVING | 07 OCT 2020
Meet the lingerie retailers providing ‘virtual’ fittings
Another person providing a virtual fitting service is Sasha Roche Kelly of Linnoco, a leading supplier of mastectomy bras and prostheses, based in Co Wexford.
With a background in oncology nursing, working with Wexford General Hospital for 10 years prior to retraining as a manual lymph drainage therapist, Sasha has a unique insight into the issues faced by women on the breast cancer journey.
“I can understand what it’s like to be in that room, hearing that diagnosis, right up through treatment and through into survivorship,” she says.
She believes that for a lot of women, it is daunting to shop for a bra in a non-specialised shop.
“There can be an element of fear and dread, because I think it’s hard enough to go in to a changing room and say to somebody, ‘Can you measure me?’ and then what happens if you get somebody and you think, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t think they’re going to be able to understand that I only have one breast,’” she says.
“And I think there’s also an element for ladies who think, ‘Gosh it’s only a bra, I shouldn’t be worrying about a bra, I’ve survived cancer and there’s little for me to be giving out about’.”
Her best-sellers include the “Safina” and “Anita” post-masectomy bras for day-to-day comfort and support, “cami” style bras for greater coverage and T-shirt style bras that are especially popular with women who have had lumpectomies. Specialised sports bras, swimwear and compression garments are also in stock, while she also carries a full range of prostheses.
Prior to COVID-19, Sasha was operating from her shop in the Allied Hub in Wexford, as well as through breast cancer support centres throughout the south-east. Once lockdown came, however, she developed a “tool kit” with a measurement chart, diagrams, instructions and a measuring tape that clients could order free of charge to do their measurements at home, before she then followed up with a “virtual” fitting by video call or phone.
“So we’ve had uptake on that, which is great; especially for people who have had diagnosis and come out the other side of things, it can feel very lonely now at the minute,” says Sasha, who can also advise medical card holders on their entitlements to post-mastectomy underwear and prostheses, as well as process the relevant paperwork on their behalf. (Many health insurers also provide cover for these products.)
Indeed, even though she has re-opened for appointments, Sasha will continue to order her virtual service to women across Ireland for the foreseeable future, especially as many remain in the “vulnerable” category.
She believes the service is an important part of helping her clients to “restore a little bit of “themselves”.
“It’s amazing, when they do get access to services, it just changes their whole physique, their mentality, their body posture, everything,” she says.
Please remember that under Level 3 restrictions currently in place, retail outlets can remain open, but people are asked not to leave their region with the exception of those who must travel for work, education and other essential purposes. For further information, visit www.bellefemmelingerie.ie and www.linnoco.com
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