At first glance, you'd probably think these fake stick-on nipples were simply, Just Nips, like the brand's name suggests. But after learning more about how the company came to be and where it's heading, you'll understand that the bold adhesives are much more than a fashion statement.
Molly Borman, founder of Just Nips For All, initially thought her biggest market was going to be for bachelorette parties. And while she does receive orders from her predicted buyers, she quickly realised the purpose for her stick-on nipples was much greater than she had expected. "From what I thought the company would be to what it has turned into . . . I totally thought this would just be a gag gift, and that's not the case," she told us. Though the idea of Just Nips stemmed from fashion — Molly liked the look of nipples protruding beneath tops — it became directly involved with raising breast cancer awareness. Molly always knew she wanted her company to be related in some way; I mean, they are the perfect pair (no pun intended), but she wasn't quite sure how.
"Lucky for me, it sort of organically happened," Molly said. "I would get people from the breast cancer community reaching out constantly, and immediately I'd ask, 'What's your address?' to send them for free. Also, please talk to me about your experience and how I can help. Right away, people were super-receptive and excited, and I ended up learning so much about breast cancer and the treatment process and breast reconstruction. What I didn't know is that a lot of women who go through breast reconstruction never get their nipples back."
As one of the first steps of the procedure, nipples are removed along with breast tissue. And once breast reconstruction begins, women have a few options: get their nipples put back on (which is expensive and therefore, rare), remain nipple-free, have a nipple created from another body part (usually skin from the back of their legs), or get a 3-D tattoo that resembles a nipple. Each one has its drawbacks, which is where Just Nips comes in. The one-time-use adhesive offers a very low-risk and pain-free alternative.
Since launching in October 2016, Molly has been donating batches to various organisations and groups every time they reach a certain number of orders. "I ask people who are interested in it just for fashion to help us get Just Nips to people who really need them," Molly said.
The products are medical grade and totally check out with doctors, also. The absolutely safest adhesives are used, especially since many would be sticking them on top of an incision.
Molly recalled one particular touching story that confirmed the direction she had to take with Just Nips. After being featured on a promoted post on Snapchat, orders were coming in at a faster rate than she could handle. An email came in from a man who kept telling her that her site wasn't working. "I sort of dismissed him and wrote back 'Should be fixed, we're all good!' and he wrote back saying 'I still can't place an order, I don't understand what's going on on your site,'" she said. After going back and forth, he finally asked if he could order over the phone, so Molly instructed him to give her a call between 9 and 5 the following day.
"8:59 the next day, he calls me and I answer the phone, and it's this 85-year-old man who wanted to get these for his wife," Molly said. "He couldn't figure out the website and I burst into tears, I felt so bad. He explained that his wife had gone through three reconstructions after having breast cancer, and he thought she'd really appreciate this and wanted to get it as a gift to surprise her." Molly of course sent plenty over to his address, free of charge.
"I just knew I had to go down this path instead of you know, like couture, even though you can definitely have both," she said. But for me, this is where it's going, and I'm really proud of it."
Just Nips is working hard on including printed self-check breast exam instructions in their packages. "When you're using this product, you have to touch your boobs, and while you're there, please check," Molly urged. "And I know sometimes I forget, too, but with so much information now, we need to be checking, and I want to give women the proper tools to do so."
Whether you want to purchase your own pair for fashion or for cause, they're available online in two colours and sizes ("cold" and "freezing"). Look out for Molly and Just Nips this coming October for their one-year anniversary and of course, breast cancer awareness month.