Cheryl Schlote recalled her first mastectomy customer.
“I was working for American Prosthetics at the time, and a woman came into my office in need of a bra and breast form. She was very dejected, shoulders down, and she didn’t want to look at me,” said Schlote, a board-certified mastectomy fitter.
“We fit her with a bra and breast form, and when she raised her head to look at herself the transformation in her face was amazing. Her eyes lit up, a smile came over her face, her shoulders went back and her chest came up, and I thought, wow, I just did something incredible for this woman and I didn’t really do anything except get her into some garments and prosthesis.
“She was my hook, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
Schlote, a Lone Tree native, obtained her fitting certification in Des Moines in 1994, after choosing a career change from the banking industry. She worked for several other prosthetic companies until the opportunity to open and manage Décolletage Boutique arose.
The Coralville store opened in October 2012 to provide undergarments, prosthetics and compression products for post-mastectomy patients, along with comfortable chic clothing and affordable jewelry — drawers and drawers of it.
“I wanted this environment to feel relaxing, fun and peaceful for those who might be going through chemo and aren’t feeling so well, or are in need of that post-op garment,” she said.
Providing a large fitting room for their clientele was equally important.
“I didn’t want it to be a cramped little closet. I wanted it to be clean and bright with lots of room for people who might be in a wheelchair, or for people whose family members might want to come in during the process,” she explained.
The boutique also offers a massage chair.
“Our chair is free and we often put the husbands in there if they come along because they are usually a little nervous, a little more stoic and don’t want to talk or smile,” Schlote said. “But when they get in the chair it seems to help them realize that this is an OK environment to let their feelings down. It seems to ease everybody.”
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