ContourMed reaches for 'the next level' with new vice president and foam fitting process
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Custom breast form manufacturer ContourMed has hired its first ever vice president of manufacturing, and with the additional executive muscle, the company plans to broaden its U.S. market presence and eventually expand internationally, said President Mimi San Pedro.
"There is a need out there and our company is growing, but we needed someone who has the knowledge and proven background to take a company like us to the next level," San Pedro said.
ContourMed currently provides products in 43 states. To grow beyond that, the company needed someone with additional manufacturing expertise and knowledge of materials that might be appropriate for future products, San Pedro said.
Enter Mike Thurman. The new vice president comes to ContourMed with more than 18 years of manufacturing experience. He has worked in management and engineering for companies like Mercury and Yamaha. He has a degree in naval architecture from Westlawn University in Stamford, Conn.
Thurman comes to a niche dominated by less-expensive off-the-shelf products. The market for custom products, however, continues to grow as more and more active women seek lighter, cooler and better fitting forms.
"You can't use (off-the-shelf) breast forms for swimming or hot tubbing," San Pedro said. "Even when my ladies run or play tennis, they feel like those breast forms are too heavy. We are always thinking of their lifestyle needs: What is something that they can use and be comfortable with, that is easy to take care of, easy to put on and take off?"
Custom breast forms cost between $2,000 and $4,000. Generally, insurance companies will pay for them only if a less expensive (on average $300) off-the-shelf product is not medically appropriate.
In addition to hiring Thurman, ContourMed in January improved its manufacturing process and can now produce a custom breast form within six working days of receiving the order and "we want to cut that in half," San Pedro said. The process previously took 15-20 working days.
The company also has begun creating foam molds prior to producing the final product. Women can adjust and make changes to the mold, and that helps create a more satisfying final product, San Pedro said.
When it comes to custom breast forms, women want a good fitting product ASAP. ContourMed's recent moves address those desires, San Pedro said.