Remarkable local women with local businesses you should know about.
“You can always make something basic better!” Carina declares as she begins to explain how she took one of the most ordinary – albeit always disdained and oft dreaded – objects in a woman’s day, and gave it a ‘lift.’ “
I studied Japanese history at Cornell and I started my career in the renewable energy industry – co-founding a company that turned cooking oil into biofuel… but I was always interested in innovation, never imagining that would lead to launching a bra company!”
Carina’s husband, Dr. Anthony Cahan, is both an inventor and a breast surgeon specializing in breast cancer, who has dedicated his career to helping women care for their breast health. For years, he heard common complaints of discomfort and back pain, and saw the results of rashes and marks that mar women’s bodies as a result of their bras. Carina understood the problem first-hand. So the two set out to do something about it. Based in both physics and real-world testing, Anthony developed and patented a new technology to transform the support system in a bra.
The pair have reinvented the outdated underwire bra with what they call the Waveform insert. The new technology provides unique support, which redirects weight to the back rather than the shoulders, eliminating the discomfort and irritation of underwire and straps that dig into the skin. Carina sits at the helm of their revolution, “We created something that I really believe in. More comfortable than an underwire but more supportive than wireless, our bras are designed to hold and support you and be the ultimate in comfort. That is the solution we created and evolved.”
Carina has always been interested in unique garments, even taking over a bedroom in her 18th century Pound Ridge home and turning it into a dressing room to hold her collection when she moved to Westchester to live with her husband 19 years ago. But she’d never worked in the apparel industry. So while her husband was fine-tuning their invention, Carina went back to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan to learn how she could take Anthony’s creation and make it a retail reality. “I was the oldest one in my class, but I wanted to get this right. I hired my bra class instructor, a seasoned pro in the industry, and found a Manhattan-based manufacturer so I could have complete oversight in the development of the product.” Carina holds the finished product as she explains, “It’s a technical garment, but it doesn’t look that way – I wanted the product to be beautiful, too.” It was also important to Carina that the bra be manufactured as sustainably as possible. She says, “The fashion industry can be harmful to the environment, so I was intentional in reducing our footprint, and carefully selecting vendors and mills who share our values on the environment and labor standards. Our fabrics are sourced from Italian factories with fair wages and high standards. And our packaging is recycled and recyclable.”
Although the bra looks like a t-shirt bra, and has a molding and lifting effect, it has no underwire and no underband. At $145, the price point is accessible for a Cobalt Rose Bra. And Carina is just getting started. The line launched in September 2021 and is already into sales. Taking her husband’s patented technology, she is expanding the Cobalt Rose line to include new bra designs - like a lower cut option, new cup styles, and other colors – matching underwear, and a sports bra that’s currently being prototyped.
“I’m excited about what we’re doing and want to bring true innovation into foundational garments women wear every day. The bra was in need of a revolution. Most women can’t wait to get home at the end of the day to take their bra off… The Cobalt Rose bra is the one women will want to put on in the morning.”