Introducing Adapt Air: "We Want To Give Women Back Their Individual Body Shape"
Technical progress, the development of new materials and the improvement of production processes enable a more targeted approach to women’s needs after breast surgery.
In this interview, Claudia Reichl, product manager, and Nils Stelter, project manager in the development of breast forms, explain how Amoena takes women’s needs and translates them into innovative products in a complex development process.
Editor: Where does Amoena get its incentive for the development of new products?
Nils Stelter: It varies from case to case. Sometimes there are new technical possibilities or new materials that enable new or further development of a product. This means that we are able to serve perceived needs even better. Sometimes there are completely new product requirements, which arise from new surgical methods, for example. However, the needs of women after breast surgery are always at the centre of all our developments.
How do you learn about women’s needs?
Claudia Reichl: As a leading global provider of breast forms, we get a lot of feedback from women from different countries. As a product manager for our breast forms, I am always close to the market and I systematically assess this feedback with my colleagues.
However, we also very much value the feedback from specialist retailers and medical staff. They advise women directly and know about the challenges that arise when trying to find a perfectly fitting form, for example. We listen closely to find out how we can support their work too with product developments.
There is a large selection of breast forms these days. Is it that difficult to find a suitable breast form?
Nils Stelter: Every woman and every silhouette is unique. As an innovative company, it is a special challenge for us to constantly develop our products further. As previously mentioned, the requirements change, but the technical possibilities also change.
This means that we are able to offer better and better solutions even for special challenges.
How do you define “special challenges”?
Claudia Reichl: Some women have a very uneven, sensitive area of scarring, others experience intense weight fluctuations due to medication or actually need an intermediate size for their form. Lymphoedema in the breast area often changes the silhouette within a short period of time.
In all of these cases, a form that you can individually customise is beneficial. Most standard forms cannot offer this to this extent.
Nils Stelter: These are exactly the women who often struggle to find a well-fitting form. We have worked intensively on a solution in the last few years, and now we can offer a product range with our Adapt Air breast forms that provide optimal care for exactly these women.
What is special about this new breast form?
Nils Stelter: The new Adapt Air form has an integrated air chamber and a very soft, specially developed valve. Using a small, specifically developed pump, air is easily added to or released from the breast form. As a result, the medical supplies personnel can customise the volume of the form to the woman’s silhouette individually, which significantly shortens the adaptation process and delivers an optimal result. The woman can also do the same thing at home – at any time and very easily.
Claudia Reichl: The back of the form adapts individually to the chest wall and ensures a comfortably close fit. Temperature-regulating Comfort+ material prevents the woman from sweating under the form. Because of the air chamber and particularly light silicone, the form has a significant weight advantage over standard forms.
That sounds simple. Does the air not escape after a while?
Claudia Reichl: Thanks to the special valve, the air actually remains in the form until it is released again. Our test wearers also report that no air escapes and there’s no need to re-pump for months. Even when testing on an aeroplane, there was no noticeable volume change.
We have a prototype in the office in which the air volume has barely changed for 3 years.
Nils Stelter: The valve was also one of the greatest challenges in the development. Once we had developed the perfect prototype together with our test wearers, we spent almost another 2 years working meticulously on the development of the manufacturing process before the product was finally able to go into production.
So it’s the perfect product?
Nils Stelter: There are many women who are very satisfied with their previous form. And that’s how it should be. But for all those who have not yet found any well-fitting form or have very high requirements as to the fit of their breast form, we can now offer our Adapt Air series as an optimal and partially custom solution.
What development trends do you see for the future?
Nils Stelter: The Adapt Air is the only form manufactured in series production which is still individually customisable. The trend towards an even stronger individualisation, complete customisation – even of the basic form – remains a challenge for the future.
Claudia Reichl: In the future, we will also listen intently to the women in question and specialist retailers and continue to develop our product range constantly. When a woman tells me overjoyed that she can finally wear her favourite piece again thanks to one of our forms, that she can go through life with more self-confidence again, I’m touched every time. That is what motivates me in my daily work.
Claudia Reichl has been at Amoena for 18 years and as a product manager she coordinates all product-related activities for breast forms. She acts as the central interface, especially between product development, marketing and sales.
Nils Stelter has been with the company as a project manager in product development for more than 20 years. In addition to the development of new products and production of prototypes, the implementation of a well-thought-out production process is also among his tasks. In the end, he’s the one who enables a series production of new products.
Together with numerous colleagues, the two of them in close collaboration with test wearers translate customer needs into concrete products.
With these products, they want to strengthen the confidence of women after breast surgery and accompany them on their individual life journey.