When you’ve got a good idea, things can move very quickly. That’s exactly how breast cancer survivor Emma Conyngham has ended up starting a business selling temporary nipple tattoos in just three weeks.
“I’ve been run off my feet. I’ve had orders from America and requests for samples from medical professionals in Europe,” she says.
Her Nice Nips tattoos work just like the temporary tattoos we all played with as kids, and they’re incredibly detailed. Shaded on the lower side, they’re very convincing, and they last up to a week depending on how much you exercise. While some cancer survivors end up getting permanent nipple tattoos, these stick-on versions are a great option to bridge the gap.
Named for various baked treats, Conyngham brings a sense of fun to her tattoos. Are your nipples more of a chelsea bun, or a Belgium biscuit?
Conyngham isn’t the only person making temporary tattoos for mastectomy patients, but she thinks she might be the first to custom print them from photos of someone’s own nipples. For survivors who have only had a single mastectomy, that’s key. Retaining some symmetry can make a big difference.
What sets Nice Nips apart from other tattoos is quality. When Conyngham was told she would need a double mastectomy, and retaining her nipples wouldn’t be an option, she wasn’t initially worried.
“I didn’t blink. I thought, I’ve got cancer. Do what you need to do,” she says.
On the other side of surgery, though, she was surprised by how different her breasts looked without nipples.
“You look a like a Barbie doll. I wasn’t bothered by it,” Conyngham says, but she was curious. When she ordered some temporary nipple tattoos online, they weren’t exactly impressive.
“I just thought, I can do that better than that,” she says. It hasn’t been perfect timing – Conyngham was going in for a reconstruction on Tuesday morning – but the response has been huge.
“I’ve been thinking, ‘Oh my god, why did I launch a business four days before having surgery?'”
Priced from $19.99 for the pre-made set to $75 for a custom pair of nipples, Nice Nips tattoos can help survivors reclaim their bodies. Cancer can make breasts into medical problems rather than a part of you.
Her next step is expanding the range of skin tones available. Since things have moved so quickly, Conyngham hasn’t yet worked with any Indian or Pacific Island models. She has photographs from one Maori woman, but would appreciate more volunteers.
If you’re keen, her contact details are here.