City Social Magazine

SEP 2014

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Page 27 of 59

28 r e A d u S o n l i n e A t w w w . C i t y S o C i A l . C o m 28 Kristen Airhart, a local entrepreneur and founder of Barola, Inc., has recently partnered with a New York City designer and manufacturer to create Barola Bras, a special line of bras she designed to help women with breast cancer. After Kristen's mother died of breast cancer and her cousin was diagnosed with the vicious disease, Kristen decided to combine her motivation to start a business with her desire to help breast cancer patients. She wanted to create a new, innovative product specifically designed to help women with breast can- cer. She decided to name the company Barola, which stands for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kristen drew upon personal experience from a genetic imbalance as her inspiration behind her brand and product. She said, "I had used various shoulder pads acting as a prosthesis with molded cup bras and bandeau swim tops during reconstructive surgery procedures." At the time, padded sports bras were not an option for young, active females. From here, Kristen researched sports bras and decided to create a pocketed bra for breast cancer patients to use with prosthesis. Kristen discussed the idea with family and friends and soon discovered that Dr. Everett Bonner, who spe- cializes in breast cancer surgery, was married to a member of her supper club. When she first met with Dr. Bonner, she only had a sketched design and a few fabric samples. After working closely with the doctor and his staff, Kristen has received valuable feedback to guide her in creating two different styles of bras. She said, "Both styles will offer many beneficial features to women who have undergone surgical procedures due to breast cancer." Kristen said the bras are made with anti-bacterial fabric, a front closure, along with inside pockets that can be worn with or without prosthesis. The bra straps are adjustable from the front, and the bras are made in the USA. Dr. Bonner described the bra as a "great product invented for women by a woman with a personal interest in breast cancer." He said, "My patients are going to love this bra." The first style features a zipper on the front, whereas the second style features hook-and-eye attachments to adjust band sizes for women who fluctuate breast sizes during treatment. Kristen plans to add more products to this line in the future and has decided to start with these two styles, which will each be available in three different colors. According to Kristen, these bras are not only ben- eficial for breast cancer patients; they can help women with mobility impairments and the zipper version is also convenient for nursing moth- ers. Kristen has been speaking with venders and hospitals in Louisiana, Texas and Florida, including M.D. Anderson, and seeks to sell her products nationally and eventually spread her business inter- nationally. She said that retailers such as Total Woman Boutique in Baton Rouge have helped her tre- mendously by giving her detailed feedback on the design of the bras. The bras should be available online and in stores as early as this fall. For more information about Barola Bras, visit Barola Bras For Breast Cancer Kristen drew upon personal experience from a genetic imbalance as her inspiration behind her brand and product.

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