Published June 15, 2004
Volume 12, Number 6

Marzel's Offers a Perfect Fit for Breast Cancer Survivors
Jennifer Milne
Jennifer Milne provides a comfortable setting for her clientele, whatever their needs.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

In addition to all of the other trials and tribulations that breast cancer survivors must endure, finding clothes that others take for granted, like bathing suits and undergarments that fit, suddenly becomes yet another challenge to overcome. Marzel’s, in Suite 119 at 5980 Stoneridge Drive, seeks to make once unchallenging shopping trips a pleasant experience again in a friendly, supportive environment by providing post-mastectomy needs for women, including the fitting and sale of prosthetics. However, the boutique’s services go even further.

“We offer a full selection of breast care products for women who have undergone any sort of surgery. It doesn’t have to be a mastectomy. It could be a lumpectomy or a reduction or an augmentation,” says Jennifer Milne, who co-owns Marzel’s with her mother, Georgette O’Brien. “We can fit them with a garment that can be comfortable and help them with their healing before and after their treatment is complete. The other thing that we do is to fit women who need plus size bras as well as providing nursing and maternity products. We also offer compression therapy garments, which are garments that are specially made, and sometimes custom made, to help avoid heavy scarring after a procedure, an accident, or a burn and also to control edemas of the limbs. In addition, we offer swimwear and headwear year round, including hats, scarves, and wigs.”

Marzel’s was founded 26 years ago, providing lingerie and specialty garments for hard-to-fit women. As breast care became more of an issue, the company evolved to serve the needs of women undergoing surgery. “When my mother took over the company, she went in that direction full throttle,” Milne says. “She really emphasized the need for care and a comfortable place for people to go. When I came into the company a few years after that, we decided that we would branch out because we had women coming in with so many different needs. The company has gone from exclusively serving women who have had mastectomies to a broader client base because of the need for a variety of different products provided in the same type of warm and friendly setting.” Marzel’s has been in Hacienda since 1998.

While some department stores do offer services to the customer base Marzel’s serves, she feels that her boutique’s environment is much more relaxed. “This is what we do exclusively. My clients are my friends. It’s not uncommon for people to come in even before they’ve had a procedure just so that they can talk and see what products are available to them. We don’t charge for that. We just feel that we’re helping with their education and that’s really important.”

Along with selling products, Marzel’s often ends up being a place where people facing new challenges meet people who have overcome them. “A lot of times, somebody will give us their phone number and give us permission to share it with anyone else who could use someone to talk to in getting through the experience of having a procedure. We also refer people to support groups as well as speaking to them. We speak to physicians’ and nursing groups, we go on-site at hospitals to talk to the staff about the new products that have come along, and a lot of the vascular surgeons in the area are becoming more aware that we are doing the fitting of compression garments.” All things taken into account, Marzel’s can be considered as much a community service provider as a boutique.


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