It seems men around the world will always lend a lady a helping hand especially when boobs are involved. Conceived in the Las Vegas party scene, MyFreeImplants.com allows women to crowdfund their own breast enhancements. It’s like Kickstarter but for boob jobs where thousands of women since 2005 have met their financial goals needed to feel more comfortable in their body. With an established network of plastic surgeons to choose from, women can sign up to receive free support (in more ways than one) from both men and women all around the world in exchange for messages, photos, and “everlasting gratitude.” Both highly praised and criticized, the breast enhancement business attracts women who choose to change their image whether they just desire a bigger bosom or to cope with the after effects of breast cancer; others argue that this business redefines the image of a woman’s body. We were able to catch up with the founders of MyFreeImplants over email to share their story of helping women in this most noble of causes (insert winking smiley face).
First tell us a little bit about your background and how you came up with this idea.
The founders are Jason Grunstra, a self taught web guru and Jay Moore a classically trained MBA. Jay and Jason grew up together and partnered on several startups prior to their success with MyFreeImplants.com.
MyFreeImplants.com started in early 2005 when a bunch of friends were attending a bachelor party in Las Vegas. During the course of the party a conversation started up about how our hostess had the most perfect set of breasts. She told us how she had just recently “gotten them done.” Her beautiful friend chimed in and mentioned that she wanted to get hers done but could not yet afford the $6000 price tag. One of us yelled out “I got $5 on it” and then someone else offered $10, and then $20, and then $50. By the time we done there was a verbal commitment amongst all our friends to pay for 20% of her implants!
With that initial brain storm and proof of concept we set out to actually raise the rest of the money needed for a full procedure. We came up with the name MyFreeImplants.com and put together a quick website and started spreading the word online. It was an instant hit and donations poured in from all over the world. Within 4 months the remainder of the money was raised and a woman’s dream of bigger breasts was achieved.
From there we took the concept to the next level and expanded the website from helping out just one lady, to an entire community of women. In July of 2005 the community version of MyFreeImplants.com launched. Within the first couple of weeks the traffic to the website quadrupled and people were creating accounts left and right, eventually forcing us to purchase more bandwidth and faster servers just to keep up with the demand!
Four months later the next success story emerged when a girl named Angel from Texas reached her goal and received a free breast augmentation — paid for by a group of people world wide all chipping in a few bucks.
Tell us about how the business has been growing. Why do you think it has been so successful?
The business has grown from just a hand-full of success stories to nearly one woman per day reaching her surgery goal. The growth is partly attributed to the increase in use of social networks and the public acceptance of crowd funding. Although, we believe a larger percentage of our growth is due to the fact that breast augmentations are a hugely popular procedure, yet banks have tightened their approvals on traditional forms of financing a surgical procedure. These unsecured loans have increased in difficulty to obtain. MyFreeImplants therefore has become an attractive option to many women who want this procedure but cannot be approved or don’t want traditional bank financing.
What has been the biggest challenge in building your startup?
The biggest challenge for us in building this company is that there was no road map for success. No one had ever started a community like this previously. The term crowdfunding didn’t even exist back in 2005. We had to break new ground and overcome obstacles as best we could. That experience paid off as we were able to consult for a number of crowd sourcing businesses who needed our expertise in navigating this new industry.
Have you had any trouble having others take you seriously because of the nature of your business?
Yes, there have been both business partners and customers who may not have taken us seriously upon first seeing our website. The concept can be initially tough to grasp, or look too good to be true. Typically once we address these initial concerns, people see us as a prospering business and someone they want to work with.
Tell us about the most memorable campaign you’ve come across on your site.
We had a woman in the United Kingdom request to fundraise not for breast implants, but for helping other women remove their faulty PIP breast implants. The campaign raised enough funds to remove half a dozen PIP implants for UK women (they did not get these implants through our website). This was a unique campaign because we don’t typically allow fundraising for anything but breast augmentation procedures. That said, the PIP epidemic was so large that we felt the only responsible thing to do was bend our rules and help some victims out.
Tell us about the feedback you’ve received since launching your site
We’ve received a lot of positive and negative feedback since we launched our site. MyFreeImplants definitely falls in the category of controversial, but that’s a big reason we’ve had success. There’s no such thing as bad press, right?
What do you say to those who criticize your company as being misogynistic or that it objectifies women?
These critics see themselves as the defenders of the women here, who are assumed to be mindless idiots who joined involuntarily and are being “exploited” by the company/male donors. What an odd kind of exploitation it is where money flows away from those doing the exploiting, hmm?
But strangely, I have yet to see a man being blamed whenever a woman suffers the discomfort of braces on her teeth. If we have pressured women into looking sexy, then surely we’ve pressured women into wanting beautiful smiles? We don’t like nasty teeth, so logically we must be to blame for orthodontics as well. In short: Blaming us for women’s desire to have breast implants is as dumb as blaming women for men’s toupees.
Finally, the funniest layer of bullshit is the brazen hypocrisy of the whole thing: If we were to ever say that a woman can’t be trusted with important decisions about her own body, these same agitators for equality would rip our balls off and throw them in a blender.
How long do you see yourself being a part of this company?
I see myself as being apart of this company as long as our doors remain open.
Where do you see MyFreeImplants in the future?
The future of MyFreeImplants is two areas.
1) Other surgical procedure: We’ve started a trial for past success stories to return to the website and fundraise for things besides breast surgeries. The “mommy makeover” is something a lot of women want and expanding our list of available surgeries would bring a lot more demand for funding.
2) Emerging markets: We’ve already paid for surgeries in 30+ nations. Focusing on new markets such as South America, Central America, Asia, Eastern Europe, etc is a must. Demand for cosmetic surgeries are booming in these areas. The reach of the internet is infinite and therefore our service has no geographical boundaries. Focusing on penetrating emerging markets will help grow our business even more.