Tell us about your background before starting Warrior Wear Inc.
I attended American University in Washington D.C. and completed both a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Communications in 1985 and a Masters Degree in Public Administration in 1987. I have happily worked in the non-profit sector for 22 years, primarily for Jewish organizations. I was a Vice President for the Jewish Federation of Broward County, Director of Development for the Jewish Community Foundation of Broward County, Miami Regional Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Florida Foundation Director for AIPAC.
I retired in April of 2006 after my mother’s passing 5 months earlier from Breast Cancer. One month after retirement, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.
Warrior Wear Inc.
What inspired you to start your own business?
After completion of 6 months of chemotherapy, a 13-hour surgical mastectomy and reconstruction, radiation and severe shoulder issues, I became a warrior on a mission to educate women about risk reduction and living a healthier life, mind body and spirit. One year after diagnosis I had to summon my warrior mode yet again as I got lymphedema, chronic swelling in my arm as a result of surgical removal and radiation of my lymph nodes
Did you want to have partners or do it solo? Why?
I needed to summon my Warrior mode and it was my girlfriends and now business partners, Lauren Aron and Jolene Paul who convinced me to do something about my ugly compression sleeve that I had to wear every day.
I needed to cover them and Jolene designed protective yet fashionable covers for my compression sleeves. I wore them to all my speeches and even in my yoga classes. I felt confident, sexy and I didn’t feel like a cancer patient with lymphedema.
Lauren, Jolene and I started Warrior Wear, Inc. to produce Arm Candy, protective, fashion wear for compression sleeves. As far as we know, we are the only company to manufacture covers for compression sleeves and we now sell Arm Candy to wholesale Durable Medical Equipment companies, Recovery Boutiques, Amazon.com, internet companies and lymphedema therapists in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and the Ukraine.
How have any outside advisors made a difference in your company?
Many people have inspired us and have helped us grow Warrior Wear, Inc. We have relied on lymphedema therapists to help us with design that doesn’t compromise the medical compression and the kindness of doctors and fabric manufacturers to assist us in providing the best product possible. Our biggest inspiration comes from women like me who want to feel sexy and look good even with lymphedema. They are truly our heroes.
Tell us about Warrior Wear Inc. and its mission.
We believe that you have to make the best of every situation.
That’s why we started Warrior Wear, Inc. Our goal is to provide quality fashion products for women who are undergoing treatment for cancer and/or are survivors and have lymphedema.
We pride ourselves on providing customers with the best quality products and personal service. You can order from us using our online catalog, order over the phone, or visit one of the retail locations that carry our products.
What were the most difficult challenges you faced as a business owner?
Every business owner has a unique set of circumstances for starting their business. Ours was to help women like me. Our challenge is recognizing that Arm Candy is in demand and in order for us to continue, we need to make tough decisions regarding the expansion of our line, as well as creating and marketing new products that we will launch this year. We have to decide where to allocate our profits and where it would be the best utilized for our customers. 30 % of women who had breast cancer will get lymphedema and it can strike at any time. There is no cure and women like me want something better than what the market offers. Our biggest challenge is marketing Arm Candy and educating women on how to lower their risk of lymphedema.
What are your plans for the future?
Warrior Wear, Inc. is testing new products for breast cancer survivors and those currently in treatment.
What do you find most rewarding as a business owner?
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your product on store shelves and on the biggest internet sites in the world. Knowing that you have created something others want and need is pure satisfaction.
Your journey is really inspiring, and you are a true warrior. What advice would you give someone, going through difficult personal challenges, who wants to start a business?
Winston Churchill wrote. A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
You have a choice: to find the hero within, or to give up. By choosing to uncover your own courage, strength and determination, you become a role model for others.
For more information about Carolyn Newman and her business, please visit http://www.warriorwear4u.com.