From period products to sex toys and condoms, women-owned brands are breaking barriers when it comes to “taboo” topics in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. The stigma that these products are somehow “dirty” or “gross” runs deep within societal and retail norms. In reality, these items support fundamental parts and functions of the human body, and as the stigma around these products dwindles, many brands are launching merchandise that was once not openly talked about. More and more retailers such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Target, and Bloomingdales have embraced this booming category known as sexual wellness.
One of our goals at RangeMe is to showcase diverse products to retail buyers and get these products into consumers’ hands. Supporting women-owned sexual wellness brands is a vital piece to this. We had the pleasure–no pun intended–to interview a handful of women-owned and -operated brands on RangeMe that are breaking these deep-rooted stigmas within retail. Read on to learn how these women entrepreneurs are conquering taboo topics in retail.
FemmyCycle was created in 2013 by a women’s health doctor with a desire to make women’s lives easier, safer, and more sustainable. Their ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life during menstruation and provide an eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. Their product line includes the award-winning FemmyCycle menstrual cup, available in three sizes. At the time of its inception, all menstrual cups had a nearly identical look and feel, and there was a huge gap in the market for the innovative features that were later put into the FemmyCycle cup design.
Here is what Monica Chinisaz, Vice President of Operations, and Chris Petty, Director of Business Development at Femmycycle, had to say about their experience launching a product in the women’s health industry:
RangeMe: How have you seen a shift in the “sexual/women’s wellness” product category and how has this shift impacted your business?
Chinisaz: In general, the shift in the women’s wellness market has been much slower than it should be, but is significant nonetheless. The taboo nature of menstruation specifically created a unique obstacle to overcome when speaking to our customer base, mainly due to the decades of negative societal pressures.
Petty: Before FemmyCycle, I was a stereotypical male who saw periods as an “icky” topic. That mentality changed as my business partner and leader (Monica Chinisaz, who is also my fiancée), took the time to walk me through menstruation 101 throughout the early stages of the business. My eyes opened to all of the external, internal, and unnoticed pressures society creates, which only adds to the emotional, mental, and physiological effects experienced by 800 million menstruators each day.
RangeMe: Given period products are considered “taboo,” how do you start conversations with retailers, retail buyers, and consumers about your products?
Petty: While the true experts are the amazing women leading the company’s efforts, our approach is unique in the way that a company utilizes a male ally who is openly putting himself out there to learn and work together alongside all the other pioneers in the industry.
“We want our global Femmy family to know that no matter where you live, how old you are, what language you speak, or how you identify–we all bleed the same hue and are bonded through a shared experience. We want everyone to challenge the traditional social norms and stigma surrounding menstruation through education and awareness.”– Monica Chinisaz, FemmyCycle
RangeMe: How do you use RangeMe as part of your retail strategy?
Chinisaz: RangeMe built a platform with a unique reach that offers small businesses like ours the opportunity to get global visibility by some of the world’s most reputable retailers. As we prepare our organization for growth in the upcoming year, RangeMe will be vital in our approach to getting our products on the shelves of respected retailers in the world.
Are you a buyer on RangeMe interested in FemmyCycle’s products? View their profile here.
Good Clean Love
Good Clean Love started in 2003 after founder Wendy Strgar began experiencing irritation and reactions from conventional lubricant products on the market. Frustrated and needing a product that worked for her body, Strgar started experimenting with natural ingredients in her kitchen. From there the Good Clean Love lubricants, oils, moisturizers, wipes, and more were born. She has since partnered with scientists from Johns Hopkins University and devoted herself to studying the science of the vaginal biome.
Read on to see how Summer Fouché, Sr. Sales Operations Specialist at Good Clean Love, summarized their experience creating sexual wellness products:
RangeMe: From your team’s perspective, how has the sexual wellness product category shifted and how has this shift impacted your business?
Fouché: While it was already on the rise, the pandemic environment has brought a major spotlight to sexual health and products that support it. This means there is currently a lot of innovation and newcomers to the space. There are also a lot more naturally focused brands than ever before.
This has shifted the way we translate our proposition to the consumer and retailer so they can easily understand Good Clean Love’s unique product value. Our formulas are salt, pH balanced, and contain ingredients like lactic acid and essential ions like calcium and magnesium to help the biome thrive and be as healthy as possible.
RangeMe: Given women’s sexual wellness is still “taboo” in retail, how do you start conversations with retail buyers and consumers?
Fouché: Starting the conversation with an introduction of what an optimal vaginal biome looks like and what it needs to stay balanced is an easy entry into explaining how our products fit into a healthy maintenance regimen.
Another entry point is mentioning the similarities that a vaginal care regimen might have to a skincare routine. People wash, moisturize, and care for their facial skin every day, and the vaginal area deserves the same attention.
“After all, 50% of the population has a vagina, and 100% of us know someone with one, so it shouldn’t be taboo to talk about.”– Summer Fouché, Good Clean Love
RangeMe: How does RangeMe fit in your retail strategy?
Fouché: We primarily use RangeMe as a digital product catalog and information hub. We will often submit to special sourcing announcements or review options when a new retailer joins RangeMe. It’s been a great tool to receive messages from buyers interested in samples of our products!
Are you a buyer on RangeMe interested in Good Clean Love’s products? View their profile here.
Lovability is a women-owned wellness company that empowers identifying women to take charge of their sexual health. Since its start in 2014, the company prides itself on being a safe and approachable platform for the sexually curious and dives into topics around vulva care, pleasure, as well as inclusivity and equality. The brand is driven by three founders–Maureen Pollack, Kamini Sharma, and John Paul Basile. Lovability’s products should be seen as a must-have for at-home and on-the-go wellness products that can be accessed just as easily as lip gloss, deodorant, and moisturizer.
Lovability’s most popular products include The WaterSlyde, Buttercup Condoms™, HALLELUBEYAH®, Bomb Balm Arousal Balm™, and the newly released ThreePlay™ Massage Candle.
Maureen Pollack, Co-Owner of Lovability, provides insights on their unique journey within the retail industry.
RangeMe: Women’s sexual wellness is slowly breaking its “taboo” stigma and becoming a booming business. How have you seen a shift in the sexual wellness product category, and how has this shift impacted your business?
Pollack: Historically, the sexual wellness space has long been dominated by men and has targeted men. We are noticing a shift in normalizing and breaking down stigmas. More and more retailers are adding sexual health and wellness products to their offerings, but we still have a long way to go.
We have seen more women owners and creators at the forefront of this industry and a shift towards tasteful packaging. We’re all supporting each other—there is a genuine sense that all ships rise with the tide. We’ve grown a lot and have received wonderful feedback from customers, partners, and retailers.
RangeMe: How do you start conversations with retailers, retail buyers, and consumers about your products?
Pollack: We need to be creative and remind everyone, whether they are our retailers, buyers, or consumers, that sexual health and wellness is an integral part of our overall well-being.
“An early tagline for WaterSlyde was ‘loved by grandmas, doctors, and porn stars alike,’ which means it’s for everyone. This is what happens when women create things.”– Maureen Pollack, Lovabilitly
RangeMe: How are you using RangeMe for your retail strategy?
Pollack: RangeMe has become a gem. I didn’t realize how powerful it would be. In “startup puberty,” it’s challenging to put on a lot of hats, and though I love sales, there just simply isn’t enough time in the day.
RangeMe removes the dynamic of potentially bothering buyers with cold-calls and creates this beautiful mutual level of consent to engage. Lovability is very grateful for RangeMe!
Are you a buyer on RangeMe interested in Lovability’s products? View their profile here.
Brands can hear from Maureen Pollack during our Female Founders in CPG: What it Takes to Run a Thriving Business panel discussion. Watch the recording here.
As reflected through the successes of our women-owned suppliers above, the global sexual wellness market is growing in popularity and acceptance across retail. The increase in focus on health and wellbeing throughout the past few years is providing opportunities for sexual health brands to cater to a larger customer base and RangeMe is excited to help demistify these once taboo topics and provide health and wellness products equally and seamlessly to retail buyers looking to grow this category.