Reason #1: I hate tampons.
Flex was born out of a personal problem: my periods were very uncomfortable. For one week out of every month, I felt gross. Smelly. Crampy. Bloated. Itchy. Embarrassed. Frustrated.
For many years I accepted an uncomfortable period as a fact of life. We’re taught that periods aren’t supposed to be pleasant.
What’s worse: after every period, I got a terrible yeast infection, and no doctor seemed to care. My vagina was out of commission for half of my life.
One day, a nurse practitioner casually mentioned that my tampons could be to blame, and suggested I give menstrual cups a try. So, I did. In fact, I tried five different cups. While my yeast infections were cured (!), for me, the cup was harder to use, less convenient and more uncomfortable than tampons.
At the time, I had been living in Silicon Valley for five years, surrounded by people solving mind-bogglingly challenging problems. Why weren’t more people working on this problem? After all, it affects half the population for almost a quarter of our lives. I was puzzled (and infuriated) by a problem that was so obvious yet glaringly unaddressed.
Periods became all I could think about. I was obsessively curious.
I spent a year studying the market, testing products, talking to women, and hosting focus groups. I was heartened to learn that I wasn’t alone. Most women I spoke to were quite literally aching for something better.
Reason #2: Overcoming my own stigma.
I wish I could say that I’ve held the banner of feminism for as long as I can remember. But I can’t.
I was raised in a small, conservative town in Georgia, and talking about things like periods, menstrual fluid, vaginal distention, and toxic shock syndrome openly with women — let alone men — pushed the boundaries of my own comfort levels.
But something surprising happened: by talking about this deeply intimate problem every day, I found my passion.
Not only did these conversations help get me closer to a product solution, but they helped open up the minds and hearts of the people I spoke to.
People around me started to change their thinking and language around women’s bodies and the options available to them. Girlfriends, guy friends, and even male colleagues started to send me articles about periods, The process of discharging blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one lunar month from puberty until menopause, except during pregnancy., and feminine health in general. People weren’t just becoming more comfortable talking about periods – they wanted to talk about them.
What inspired me most? Women were starting to take matters into their own hands. To speak up. To demand solutions.
Reason #3: Menstruators want better products. Now.
The final trigger came when I received two separate phone calls on the same day from strangers asking me to order my product. They had heard about Flex by word-of-mouth through a fourth-degree connection. I didn’t even have a website.
But knowing that people were excited enough to call a stranger about a product they hadn’t yet seen motivated me to make sure that I would somehow provide it to them.
I decided that day to dedicate my life and career to helping women live healthier, more satisfying lives. So, exactly one year ago this month — after a year of research and development on nights and weekends — I quit my cushy job and started The Flex Company.
Our first product, Flex Disc, gives women a more satisfying period. It’s designed to be a safer, more comfortable and convenient alternative to tampons, pads and cups. And it works.
Oh, and as an added bonus? It allows couples to engage in mess-free period sex. Talk about changing lives.