Kim Newlen was afflicted with breast cancer at the age of 47. Following her mastectomy, she couldn’t find anything to wear that was comfortable and made her feel beautiful. Kim understood that a positive self-image is very important to help women emotionally heal post-surgery and was inspired to design the Look Better Than You Feel post-surgical camisole.
Following a mastectomy, a patient has drains fitted to remove any fluid collecting at the surgical site. These drains must be kept in place for 1-2 weeks, which adds to that trauma for patients trying to recover from an emotionally and physically stressful surgery.
The Look Better Than You Feel post-surgical camisole is a stylish, comfortable, and incredibly functional garment for breast cancer patients & survivors. It’s flexible, functional and fashionable. It can be worn anytime, anywhere and no-one will ever know it’s a medical garment. Kim coined the term “Medical Made Pretty” to describe her design. There is one issued US patent (7,396,272) protecting the product and registered trademarks on the “Look Better that You Feel” name and “Medical Made Pretty” slogan. Innovation Lab has partnered with Kim’s surviving husband and daughter to continue pursuing Kim’s mission to make this beautiful, yet powerful, garment available to women around the globe.
The inspiration for this product is best told by the inventor: My name is Kim Newlen, and I am the founder of Look Better Than You Feel. At age 47, I became a member of the “Bald and the Breastless.” After my mastectomy and dreaded drains, I wore my robe home from the hospital because nothing else hid my drains or could be put on comfortably. I did not want to leave the house because I had nothing to wear. I certainly didn’t feel like shopping. I ended up wearing an old swimsuit under a dress for my first outing. Even though I felt like I’d been in a war, I didn’t want to look like it. Without my hair, my breast, and my energy, I was desperate to find a way to feel a bit like myself again. And, I wanted to look better for my family too.
This product truly is “Medical Made Pretty” and has the potential to positively impact the lives of the many people enduring such significant challenges. Every year, there are around 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. This results in around 50,000 lumpectomies and mastectomies being performed in the US every year. Projected Net Proceeds from this product are $2-4M (10-year) and $5-10M (lifetime).
About the Innovator
Kim Newlen was 47 and enjoying life with her husband Mark and daughter Kali in Richmond, VA when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The experience of undergoing a mastectomy surgery led her to design and create the post-surgical Look Better Than You Feel camisole. Wishing to help other survivors, she spearheaded the effort to bring the product to market and make it available to women. Kim was successful early in this effort, selling product world-wide via her website and even managing to have several large hospital systems buy the camisole to gift to their patients following surgery. Unfortunately, however, Kim could not overcome her cancer and passed away in 2014. Her husband and daughter now wish to honor Kim’s legacy and continue her mission to make the product available to as many women as possible. The partnership with Innovation Lab aims to do just that.