Listen to how her breast cancer recovery project became a stylish mastectomy swimsuit and bikini brand.
Clover Lewis studied fashion design and worked as a costume assistant everywhere from opera houses to music tours. But it was after Clover experienced breast cancer that she was inspired to launch her own business – a stylish mastectomy swimwear brand for women who’ve gone through breast cancer surgeries. She shares how she turned a recovery project into an inspiring tale of business success on Monocle 24 Radio:
“About a week ago I received a call that went like this:
‘Hello Clover... what are you doing tomorrow?’
‘Hmmm. Well, I am putting the finishing touches to a new mastectomy swimsuit for my next collection. Why do you ask?’
“Would you like to come on Monocle 24 international radio for an interview to inspire others with why you started Clover Lewis Swimwear?”
“Sure! Why not?”
Well, how could I say no? Monocle 24 is the round-the-clock international radio station of the refined design & lifestyle magazine, Monocle.
I'm a listener, so it was exciting to get an invitation to record a Eureka broadcast! Eureka is a spotlight interviews on the inspiring stories of business founders. The weekly show is hosted by Daniel Giacopelli on Monocle 24's weekly business programme The Entrepreneurs.
I arrived at Monocle Magazine’s HQ at the deliciously stylish Midori House in Marylebone, central London. I was greeted by Daniel, who invited me into the Monocle 24 Radio's hi-tech recording studio. He immediately made me feel comfortable; soon we were chatting like old friends. Shortly afterwards, I was sharing the inspiring moments that led to me starting my post surgery swimsuit and bikini brand.
So what lead me towards setting up a post surgery swimsuit and bikini brand? How did I make the transition from being a young woman with breast cancer to mastectomy patient to mastectomy swimwear designer who designs her entire collections? And why do I strive to support women like me to feel amazingly stylish and dignified whether in the water or poolside?
Listen to my Eureka interview to find out.
Compared to the time when I was first diagnosed, I feel a lot stronger now.
Strong enough to go on radio and speak about how breast cancer has impacted, no, totally transformed my life. I have a greater sense of self acceptance that come with having time to process what happened to me.
That doesn't make speaking about my personal experience easy. This is an uncomfortable story for me to share. But if one woman hears me, and starts to believe she too can achieve her dream or aspirations after dealing with breast cancer, then I'm happy to have opened up and shared.
A few takeaways from my visit to Monocle 24 are:
#1. Enduring breast cancer has been life-changing and at times very traumatic. However, for me it has been transformational too. I am very grateful for being able to find silver linings in the clouds, and opportunities to spread inspiration. This interview was one of them
#2. Interviewers have great jobs - listening to people's stories! Everybody has a story: you probably have many extraordinary stories to share. By voicing your life struggles and victories, you may just inspire another person to say 'Hey, I feel like that too!' That in itself can have real impact
#3. I loved thinking back to my ‘eureka‘ moment on the beach in Bali, wearing my first mastectomy bikini. I felt amazing, empowered, beautiful. Thinking back reminded me of one of my favourite quotes:
I hope you enjoyed the interview, and feel inspired to be bold - in you own unique way.
Special thanks again to Daniel Giacopelli and Toby Hamand of Monocle 24.
With warmth, Clover
About Clover, Creator of Clover Lewis Swimwear
Clover started designing mastectomy swimsuits and bikinis after struggling to find a stylish, beautiful post surgery bikini to wear on her first holiday after a breast cancer diagnosis. The holiday? A trip to Bali to overcome her fears by learning how to scuba-dive.
She made her first mastectomy bikini, got her PADI diving certificate wearing it, in that moment personally realised the connections between body image, clothing confidence for women with breast cancer
So despite the expectation to carry on with “life as normal” her experience had a profound effect on Clover. It became the fuel for her mission creating beautiful swimwear for women to feel good about their bodies so they can swim again.
Through Clover Lewis Swimwear, Clover helps women feel body confident… and feel like they belong on a beach.