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Naked Prosthetics’ European Expansion: Tears of Joy are a Universal Language
Recently, Naked Prosthetics’ (NP) Director of International Business Development, Drew Leininger and Clinical Director, Aislinn Wyatt, returned from a six-week launch of NP products into parts of Europe. Building on NP’s global mission, which already includes the U.S., Canada, and Australia, the pair gives us a summary of their time, through a diary-style recap, and an intimate interview. Read on to learn more.
We toured with our preliminary partner Pace Rehabilitation. We started in Manchester, England and throughout the week worked our way toward London. We gave eight symposiums, evaluated several patient candidates, and introduced our technology to over 200 medical professionals, solicitors, and insurance representatives.
At the 14th IFSSH and 11th IFSHT Triennial Congress we met with nearly 4,000 hand surgeons and hand therapists from across the world! Aided by the help of two patient ambassadors, our booth was one of the busiest at the show with genuine interest from all global markets. The connections made at this trade show will help dictate our next targets for expanding into new international markets.
NP Ambassadors Nick and Erik in Germany.
We spent four working days with Loth Fabenim touring through the Netherlands and Belgium. We performed seven symposiums in these four days and completed the evaluation of the first order to come from Belgium!
Weeks 4 – 5
In our two weeks traveling with Protheseus GmbH we gave seven symposiums and met with key customers, doctors, and patient candidates from Graz, Austria to Nuremberg, Germany to Hamburg, Germany. We drove a few hours each day to get to the next stop. We met with at least a dozen patient candidates and trained over 200 medical professionals in these two weeks. The first two device deliveries happened in Germany while we were there, and we are happy to report both deliveries went extremely well!
In Spain we met with our partner Emo and spent the week in their hometown of Valencia. We gave a symposium to 30 experts in upper extremity prosthetics from across Spain. We visited two main Orthopedics customers in the Valencia area and trained the internal clinical team from Emo on our policies, processes, and products.
Aislinn, left, meets with Pace Rehabilitation.
Naked Prosthetics: What were some of the more memorable moments of your trip?
Aislinn: My favorite memory comes from the patients we fit with demo devices. Maybe they had heard of our products or seen them on the internet, but since it had not yet been available in Europe they hadn’t had the opportunity to try for themselves. It was so great just watching their faces light up, and witnessing them get emotional when they started to realize how much benefit these devices would be able to provide. You could just see the gears turning with them picturing how they’ll be able to get back to some of the things they had been struggling with.
Drew: I enjoyed the experiences where we got the ‘eyes wide open’ response. Presenting this novel technology to people who clearly understand the need for it, and then know immediately that this is an obvious solution for the population they’re dealing with, is incredible.
Naked Prosthetics: What was an unexpected difference in medical or social culture, or something that surprised you?
Drew: I was pleasantly surprised to see their integration of health care—doctors, therapists, and prosthetists—all working together very closely. My understanding is that this approach produces a very solid result for the patient. It was nice to be able to present to the entire care team at once.
Aislinn: I think I was most surprised by the reactions of people when they saw the design. People seemed to understand the complexity of the devices on a deeper level than we sometimes see.. We often hear a reaction along the lines of, “Oh this is so simple; I can make this.” Whereas while in Europe we were more like to hear, “Oh this is so simple, what kind of crazy engineering went into this to make it appear so simple?” I think people had a good understanding that it may look clean, but it’s incredibly complex.
Drew: There was also something really cool about seeing expressions without knowing their language, too. All you can go off is facial expressions and body language. Seeing happy tears is pretty universal; seeing goosebumps, those kinds of things traverse cultures.
Emotional moments were had by all.
Naked Prosthetics: Speaking of different cultures, what was your favorite meal?
Drew: My most memorable was Squid Paella!
Aislinn: The food in Spain in was really good. I loved the Jamón ibérico. Ooh, or the rock salt fish filleted right in front of us. Everything was delicious.
Naked Prosthetics: What are you most looking forward to now that these partnerships are in place? And what’s next for international growth?
Drew: It’s now about getting custom made devices to these patients and getting real outcomes and testimonials from these areas. I’m excited to see that in action.
Aislinn: Yeah, I agree. We’ve seen it, and we know it. We’re confident in how our devices work, but it will be cool for the distributors and prosthetists to have those experiences with their patients.
Drew: We’re continuing to capture new markets, launch in new areas, and grow relationships. We’re passionate about providing function to people with partial digit loss and it’s so cool to be able to do that across the world now. I will be traveling somewhat frequently, and we plan to be at OTWorld in May.
Naked Prosthetics: Anything else you’d like to add?
Drew: Thank you to our distributing partners for hosting us and showing us their culture! Each of our partners went out of their way to show us the local scene and talk to us about their way of life and we are very grateful for that opportunity.
Aislinn: Yes, everyone was very gracious and incredibly generous hosts. They gave up a lot of their time to make sure we were well taken care of (well fed, of course), and comfortable wherever we went.We definitely want to extend a very large thank you to each of our partners in the EU!
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