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02-03-2020 Ten Years: Love, Nipples and a Business Born!
February 2010 was an exciting time.
I had already gone through the hardest stages of breast cancer...the shocking phone call with biopsy results, initial surgery and the wait for reports on how invasive the cancer was. We'd done the research and decision making on treatment and reconstruction. My delayed unilateral breast reconstruction was finally complete and to top it off, my husband (Brian) had developed a nipple prosthetic for me that made me feel more restored than I had ever hoped or dreamed. Examining MDs questioned if I'd even had a mastectomy. My plastic surgeon was thrilled with what Brian had created and assured us there was a need for this product. He invited us to have an exhibitor table at a Miami international breast surgeon conference in February 2010. Naturally Impressive, LLC was officially founded and launched.
The glittering, early morning stars; warm Key Biscayne breeze and sense of anticipation as we headed out to set up for the conference was a memorable, milestone moment in our lives.
The enthusiasm and interest of the breast surgeons at the conference surprised us. They were AMAZED how real Naturally Impressive nipples looked and felt. One MD told us "I do a pretty good job with nipple reconstruction, but I couldn't provide anything as good as that."
We never aspired to become nipple prosthetic specialists...it just organically happened. Brian had a bent to be an entrepreneur, but mostly we were swept into it by the enthusiasm of world class breast surgeons who loved the quality of Naturally Impressive nipples and knew that they filled a need.
Through our clients, we gradually learned more about the frustrating obstacles for women to get a good nipple solution. Surgical nipples often flattened (some of our clients have had four failed nipple reconstruction surgeries!), nipple tattoos faded and the only prosthetic nipples available looked very fake and fell off unpredictably.
At a second conference, some of the surgeons let us know that, in addition to producing nipples that looked real, we needed to make sure they stayed on securely. We received some specific design tips towards that goal. "Nips that stick" became a core value for us.
We have learned SO much over the past ten years!! Brian is an incredible innovator and problem solver. We've come to know various experts who have guided our path. We keep in close contact with clients and take their feedback very seriously to keep improving the Naturally Impressive experience.
Our growth has been slow but sure. Our clients share with their MDs / NPs how life changing Naturally Impressive nipples have been for them. It's fun to hear (through our clients) about the excitement these providers had to see a product they (often) didn't even know existed. Most are happy to have an option to offer women who don't want any more invasive procedures, yet long for the sense of completion that nipples bring.
Satisfied clients become enthusiastic salespeople on social media and in their support groups. We have no sophisticated business plans. Brian avoids advertising, sales or publicity...but the simple business plan of making an excellent product at an affordable price along with attentive customer service is working well for us.
In addition to the gift of nipples that Brian gave me, the ongoing gift of getting to know so many of you through Naturally Impressive is dear to my heart. I'm blown away by how much many of you have been through. We've laughed and cried together. A few are no longer with us...so sad. The depth of your appreciation overwhelms us.
Thank you all for being part of a beautiful silver lining to my breast cancer diagnosis.
Free Naturally Impressive nipple demo and brochures are available to MDs / Nurse Navigators upon request.
This blog article was written by Randi Johnson. She is a nurse, breast cancer survivor and co-founder of Naturally Impressive, LLC. Her innovative husband developed Naturally Impressive nipples for her after her unilateral mastectomy in 2007.