Cherry Blossom Intimates in the Woodmore Town Centre in Largo, Maryland, was bustling Saturday as ladies looked over an assortment of bras and lingerie.
But the day was about much more than romance or post-Valentine deals.
“We are actually standing in both a medical facility and an intimate boutique,” said Jasmine Jones, one of the business partners of Cherry Blossom Intimates, which she says is the first of its kind in the country. “We build prosthetics for breast cancer survivors and we do it in a boutique atmosphere.”
Jones, a former Miss Black DC USA and Miss DC USA, said she was moved to partner with Dr. Regina M. Hampton, a surgeon at Doctors Community Hospital specializing in breast cancer surgery, because she lost her own grandmother to breast cancer and was aware of the difficulties.
“I remember her struggle in finding prosthetics and bras,” Jones said. “Three years later, this is the result.”
Hampton said her goal goes far beyond selling intimate and prosthetic devices. Her goal is to work with women to help them heal physically and emotionally in terms of loving themselves and in the African-American community, that has been challenging in years past.
“As a breast surgeon, I would refer women to get their breast products and they would have to drive about 20 miles out of [Prince George’s County] to get these products,” Hampton said. “Having my career in the county, I just wanted women to have a place where they can be here in the county and support local business.
“In the past, we have focused so much on the treatment aspect that we don’t focus on what happens after the treatment and what is going in women’s lives,” she said. “I really want this to be a place where women can jump-start their lives and realize that they don’t have to feel separated from other women in their bra shopping and intimate experiences. I want them to care for themselves and feel beautiful and intimate despite having one or both breasts removed.”
March is Women’s History Month and Jones and Hampton are part of a network of women working to improve the quality of life of all Black women. Hamilton said it really is about developing a self-love for those recovering from a very serious moment in their lives.
“The root of intimacy is self-love and what better way to love yourself [than] to have a great foundation under your clothes?” Hampton said. “When you love yourself, you are going to project that to others.”
Lauren Poteat, chair of the WIN (Women In NAACP) Committee’s D.C. Chapter, said, “I am so impressed with the work that Jasmine and Regina are doing. … This is a great opportunity for women of all background to come together to celebrate who they are.”