Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feb 10th

Reflecting as to how we got where we are, I am ever so thankful, everyday, for the blessings which I have been given. In the beginning, 21 yrs ago, it took 100 women testing Pambra's to narrow down a good size range, and another five months of testing fabrics for the right absorbency. Then add to that, not 1 but 2 marketing analysis and then a well written Business Plan.

Do you know how many women use tissue, rags, powder, band aides and mini pads in their bra just to find comfort? The number is stricking! It's not something we sit around and talk about. I sit here thinking about the most unusual story I had ever heard. I had been invited to my oldest daughter's school to speak, everyday for a week, to a business class. I had an office lady tell me she had gone into a meeting, with a bunch of men, only to see her pantie liner on the carpet across the room. It had fallen out of her bra when she walked in. Personally, I would have died from embarrassment...

We even tried the new rage: disposable liners. We will never do that again. Besides, times are changing, and people want to have more sustainable things with less going in the landfills. The fabric choices we went with are excellent for longivity.

Coming up with the name was another challenge. I listed all kinds of words and started putting them together. I first wanted to call them "Special T's" becasue if you flipped the original style over it has a T shape. Before submitting the name to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, I had more then one name searched so I put my name Pam and the word Bra's together as one. The word search on Special T's was used so many times I opted out of that name. However, the name Pambra's was not used anywhere... Tadaa we had a name.

Next was to design a logo. I knew I wanted the "s" to curve under the entire name. My investor drew up a logo with two little humps under the name. Well lets say it looked like two breasts. I was so glad the graphic designer we hired came up with what I have now, a nice smooth ribbon going under the name. Oh and talk about a color scheme. The investor thought black and gold " it looks rich and sexy" he said. He's such a man! It's not about being sexy as it is about being comfortable. I love emerald green and pink. So we now call it "Pambra's" pink. I wanted feminine colors. We have also submitted these for trademarking.

How many were we going to put in a package? Well one is not enough, you have to have at least one to wear and one to wash and a spare in the drawer. I was thinking something like panties and socks; they come in value packs. That was what we wanted to offer- VALUE. We offer three to a package. We will never have to offer buy 2 or 3 and get one free! We give the value from the get go. Within the first year of business, I had gained 15 catalogs and 85 stores. That's saying something!

Life can turn around in an instant!! My dear sister, Patty,
was misdiagnosed with breast cancer. For a year her doctor, Dr. Frank Bivens(Heber Springs, AR) told her the lump she had was an infected milk duct. It didn't show up in the first mammogram and no biopsy or ultra sound was done. She was on Aleve for pain and various antibiotics for a year. She had even gone to other medical professionals who told her she needed to listen to her Doctor. Then one dreaded day, the local health department sent her for a new mammogram. 2 hours later, she received a 3 way call from Dr. Bivens and the mammogram clinic stating she had stage 3a breast Cancer.

I immediately shut down my business and started commuting 8 hours one way. I would stay a full week, and then go back home, another 8 hour drive. Stayed for another week, and this went on for 5 months. I lived in two locations- Heber Springs, AR and OK. Eventually, I was forced to move closer to her in Arkansas to care for her and her family full time. My husband and I received guardianship of her two girls ages 11 and 12. Patty showed such bravery throughout her entire struggle.

Three years of battle came to a close the day after her 46th birthday. We were so close, and it was absolutely devastating to me to say the least. We were 11 months and 2 weeks apart in age. I knew as I watched my sister struggle with the effects of the chemo and radiation that I had to find a way for Pambra's to help. Her pain was endless. How can so many women go through the same thing with little to no comfort? One of the effects of the chemo and radiation was the lack of hormones, and so sweating became a real problem for her.

I give kudos to Dr. Dana Abraham of Baptist Medical center in Little Rock, AR. She was the ONLY professional who would acknowledge my sister's pain from her breast cancer. I will never forget our first meeting and Dr. Abraham telling Patty that" 7% of women have pain associated with their breast cancer" and you are one of the 7%. She held my sister and let her cry. She validated something my sister had been trying to say for over a year. I love Dr. Dana Abraham; she is a true Doctor with a heart.

I eventually designed the two mastectomy styles that Pambra's now carries. I am excited that the Unilateral and Bilateral liners are used in Hospitals, surgical settings, and are sold in Mastectomy and bra shops all over the United States. Having had several lumpectomies of my own, the liners truly help protect sensitive scar tissue. Pambra's also carries multiple Doctors Recommendations.

The newest item I have designed is the Tummy liner. For many years now, a few of my catalogs have requested we create an item such as this. Well, it's here and on the market. They are selling so well. I don't know why it took me so long to get this simple design down. When ever there is skin on skin, there will be perspiration.

This morning my thoughts went over all the opportunities we have had in 21 years: TV News reports, magazines, newspaper articles, QVC deals (which we opted out), Buy outs from huge companies (which we said no to- we even had to defend why we would not sell!). Guest appearances on infomercials and The Balancing Act, Tyra Banks Show are some of the other things we have said NO to. It is my desire to continue on with production, not to let it get in over my head.

Things are growing every day. I love it when new company's call us and say they "saw Pambra's in another account" and they want it too. It thrills me to know that more and more women will be getting the comfort they so desperately need.

Last year, Pambra's partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Ozark) and we give back a portion of ALL our sells, not once a year or on select items. We give back on EVERY thing, all items sold. This is important to us. This year we are a major Sponsor in our local walk, so this is very exciting. I would rather put money on supporting Susan G. Komen, then on advertising for our own gain. Because for me, it's about the Women and their comfort. It's not about how much money I can make. This is something that I have believed in since I started 21 years ago. If you do the right thing, the blessings will follow.

I pray one day a solution is found for Breast Cancer. I do not want anyone else suffering the way that Patty had to. Did you know it cost about $200.00 for a mammogram in some areas? With just a few orders, we can help pay for one of these mammograms. I think that is the best thing that Pambra's can do to help other women.

I am BLESSED and I hope you are as well!!!

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