Nicola Jane are the UK’s leading mastectomy and post-surgery bra and swimwear retailer.
About Nicola Jane
In 1984, Nicola Jane’s mission was to restore confidence and femininity following breast cancer surgery. At that time, mastectomy products involved seamstresses sewing pockets into standard bras not specifically designed for women after surgery due to breast cancer or to hold a breast form (breast prostheses) if required. Working with cancer charities and a variety of suppliers, Nicola Jane created a bespoke lingerie and swimwear range. Their first mail order catalogue launched in 1989: their Head Office in Chichester soon followed. Now, as one of the leading experts in breast care, Nicola Jane have been at the forefront of post-surgery products after breast cancer for over 39 years. Acquired by the Millbank Group in 2021, Nicola Jane is now 20 people strong, with a team of fully trained, certified breast care specialists operating clinics up and down the country.
I met with Sue Cooper, Nicola Jane’s North East Breast Care Specialist to find out more about her role.
“I’ve been in the lingerie business for over 30 years. Originally working for Warners UK as a mobile consultant doing fittings, merchandising and training in the North East. A sales rep role at Triumph UK followed, selling to independent retailers like Fenwick’s and Browns. When my daughter was born in 2003, I realised that job was logistically impossible for a working Mum. My friend worked in the holistic cancer care centre at James Cook and she suggested looking at breast cancer bras.”
Gap in the market
“Research showed that there was nowhere to go on the high street for products like that. Mail order was available but there was a distinct lack of specialist fitting services. After the support groups all agreed it was a great idea, the offer of a weekly clinic at the holistic centre came along and I left Triumph and started on my own. More clinics at other cancer centres in Northallerton, Bishop Auckland and Darlington followed. Loading my car up with stock and travelling all over the North East was a fixture of the next few years.”
“Nicola Jane became one of my suppliers. I got to know them and their products very well. The extent of their range of breast cancer bras included lots of pretty colours and lovely textures was always impressive. Recipients of numerous awards, Nicola Jane are recognised in the industry as specialists in post-surgery fashion mastectomy, lumpectomy and reconstruction. In 2016 I joined the Nicola Jane team after running my own successful bra company for over ten years.” As a Nicola Jane Breast Care Specialist for the North East I hold essential post-surgery fitting services for bras, swimwear and breast forms for women in the local area.
“Here on the Terry Dicken Business Park, I see ladies having all types of breast cancer surgery, at different stages. This includes lumpectomy, mastectomy, bilateral and reconstructive surgery. Fitting bras and breast forms is a very personal service. At Nicola Jane, we are wholeheartedly committed to seeing the beauty in every body. As a Breast Care Specialist, I help women find the right product, one that is perfect for their unique body shape, so that they look and feel like themselves again.”
Something for everyone
“Our customers are all ages, young to old. It doesn’t matter whether you’re pre or post-surgery, we can help find the right style. Recently a customer visited me prior to her surgery and was comforted knowing that the bras she’d be wearing afterwards would be feminine and colourful. Another needed to find the perfect wedding lingerie shortly after surgery. I’m very proud to say that I’ve never had a lady sat in front of me that I haven’t been able to find suitable items for.”
The Nicola Jane range
“All of our products are designed with comfort, security and fit in mind and are reasonably priced. As a result of listening to our customers we continually refine our collection to create a comprehensive range that delivers comfort and confidence, function and femininity for everyday and specific occasions.
All our lingerie is designed to fit post-surgery, this can include styles with preformed cups, designed to give a smooth look and even symmetry. Sometimes surgery is high up, so we have products with added lace camisoles for extra coverage. All bras are made with pockets to add a breast form if needed, if not the pocket will act as an additional lining. There are some super new styles to choose from in our 2023 range.
Our bras and breast forms are suitable for a variety of activities. Sports bras are made with a higher neckline to ensure the wearer is confident with the secure fit whilst exercising. Softer, beaded breast forms are designed for activities like yoga due to their more natural look.
Fashionably designed to where the eye naturally travels so ladies feel less self conscious. Often with higher neckline and underarms, each swimwear piece is designed to provide a secure fit and discreetly cover any scarring. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary in terms of style, just comfort and suitability. Forms are ergonomically designed for different levels of swimming: water naturally flows off.
Being committed to a more sustainable planet, our swimwear range is manufactured using Repreve, a high performance, recycled fabric made from materials reclaimed from the ocean. We’re also making the move to cardboard clothes hangers.”
Sue has definitely come to the right place. 2 Roseberry Court has just had new solar panels fitted on its roof! Was that the reason she came here?
“By 2022 I was ready to take a step back from the extensive travelling. I thought about Nicola Jane having a fitting clinic in the area which I could manage, so I approached Mark Dicken. My husband owns Roseworth Accountancy so I knew the park well. Sue from Catch Designs helped me with my website. At her regular Thirsty Thursday networking event, I talked to Mark about my requirements. Disability access and free parking was important. But I needed a space where my customers could feel at ease. The room is perfect. It’s calm, peaceful and very private. It has the luxury of a large, private changing room, a comfortable seating area and lots of space to showcase the stock.”
At Nicola Jane it’s more than making sure you have a good fitting bra. They want you to come away feeling good about yourself.
1-2-1 appointments are available with Sue in a comfortable, private space most Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Room 6, 2 Roseberry Court, Ellerbeck Way, Terry Dicken Business Park, Stokesley TS9 5QT.
Appointments can be made here