The three sisters behind this swimwear brand want every body to be a swimsuit body, including those who have had traumatic surgeries as a result of cancer treatment.
“These swimsuits are for all women to help them feel comfortable and confident with who they are, how they are,” said Jennifer Anderson, co-founder of Lime Ricki, a swimwear brand based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lime Ricki was founded in 2007 by sisters Colette Callister, 55, Jennifer Anderson, 53, and Nicole Bruderer, 50.
“When we finally lived together again in the same state, as adults, we decided we wanted to do something that made sense,” Callister said. “It took a little while to convince my sisters to do it, but they agreed.”
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lime Ricki launched a “mastectomy-friendly” swimwear line called “Flourish and Bloom.” For each costume purchased in the special line, the brand donates part of the profits to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The collection features accommodating styles that include removable bra cups for prostheses and variable breast coverage for those wishing to cover scars from surgery or skin defects from radiation.
Inclusiveness is at the heart of Lime Ricki and an issue that is particularly personal to the family. Bruderer and Anderson are cancer survivors themselves.
“[Cancer] is something that has affected me throughout my life and now that I have three daughters of my own… It is something that is so close to our hearts in research funding,” Bruderer said.
Bruderer was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 21 and recently commemorated the 29th anniversary of her diagnosis this year.
“At the time, we didn’t really think we had a family background… So it was a really big shock,” Bruderer said. “And it’s definitely a diagnosis that shakes you up and changes your perspective.”
Bruderer said she battled cancer three times in her twenties, at ages 21, 26 and 29.
“I’m really grateful to be now 20 years from my breast cancer and healthy and strong, but I’ve had a lot of surgeries,” she added.
Almost two decades later, Anderson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She said the diagnosis came as a shock, but was grateful to have her sister who had set a good example of what looks like a survivor and gave her hope.
“It’s not a death sentence to be diagnosed with cancer. It’s a journey we go through in different ways,” said Anderson, who celebrated her 10th year in remission this month. “[Ovarian cancer] greatly increases the risk of breast cancer and so I opted for a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.”
As a result, Anderson said the swimsuit design came from a place of deep empathy.
“The suits are a lot about what my body has been through and the issues I’m dealing with,” Anderson said. “And then I have a 16-year-old daughter… This journey can continue with her too.”
The sisters said the cancer had largely affected their family history. They attributed it to the inherited BRCA1 gene which is known to increase the risk of developing breast cancer and several other cancers.
“[Cancer] has affected our family for generations and so it’s really near and dear and close to our hearts, the journey of cancer, mastectomies, finding clothes that fit when your body changes unexpectedly,” Callister said. “And so we feel privileged to have an opportunity to help this community of very brave, vulnerable and courageous women.”
To highlight the strength of survivors’ bodies, Lime Ricki chose four models who have been diagnosed with cancer and are at different points in their own recovery journeys, including a model who had her mastectomy three or four weeks before the photoshoot. .
“Right from the start, from the photoshoot we had with our four breast cancer survivor models, they loved the jumpsuits and felt so beautiful and confident in them,” Callister said.
Since its release in early October, the line has received positive reviews from women across the country.
“They just expressed their gratitude for being so happy there was an option or they could share this with a friend or family member who was going through this,” Bruderer said.
The sisters, who now have daughters of their own, stressed the importance of all women feeling good about themselves. They said they were happy that their swimsuits could help women do just that.
“Lime Ricki has always been a celebration of women and our bodies and has allowed women to go and make memories,” Bruderer said. “Sometimes we feel pressure from ourselves, or from society, that we have to look a certain way. This line is meant to celebrate the diversity of women, our bodies, our shapes, our sizes and our colors.”