Boutique designed 'Just for Women'

Friday, August 31, 2007

FARGO, N.D. - The Just for Women Boutique tweaked its business model recently, expanding beyond mastectomy and compression to offer products for all women.
The boutique now features a nursing line, swimsuits and hard-to-fit sizes for non-mastectomy patients. Retail items such as jewelry, baby gifts, candles and greeting cards round out the product mix.
So far, it's working, said Sheila Robertsdahl, department manager.
"People were saying a mastectomy lady does not want to stand next to a breastfeeding mom," she said. "We're all women here. We're here to support each other."
The boutique has a separate entrance from parent company MeritCare, a DME.
"Women didn't like coming into the big showroom and checking in at the front desk," said Robertsdahl.
The boutique is decorated in purples. Armoire displays, attractive shelving and wingback chairs complete the feminine feel and the shop offers more privacy for women needing prostheses.
Just for Women accepts private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Robertsdahl said many women don't know their insurance will pay for mastectomy products.
"We have ladies who haven't been refitted in 10 years because they didn't know their insurance covered it," she said.
A certified fitter, Roberstdahl said working sensitively with the patient is as important as the product offerings.
"The first time they come in, they are nervous and don't know what to expect," she said. "We visit with them before jumping into the fitting to understand their lifestyle. Nine times out of 10, they say, 'That wasn't so bad.'"
Robertsdahl is currently working with a radio station to brand the company.
"I want women, when they say, 'I need this,' to think of us," she said.