Ep. #1042 - Revolutionizing the Period Care Industry
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, all women rejoice as someone is revolutionizing the period care industry! Lauren Conaway welcomes Drew Jarvis, CMO, and co-founder of Sunny Period (Menstrual Mates, Inc.), to the podcast. They aim to break the stigma surrounding menstruation. And give you tips on how to take on challenges and solve problems in whatever industry you’re in.
Covered In This Episode
As a society, we need to talk more about the issues revolving around the period care industry. Only then can we establish a more supportive and accommodating environment for menstruators. This alone can be considered the primary takeaway from Lauren and Drew’s conversation.
These industry leaders also look at the improved user experience provided by Sunny Period products. And they delve into how Sunny got the correct user information and turned it into actionable business-growing insights.
Keep tabs on the developments in the period care industry. Jump into this Startup Hustle discussion now.
- Drew’s journey into business (01:56)
- Why the conversation about menstruation has to happen (05:16)
- Does the stigma around menstruation affect Drew’s job? (07:18)
- Young menstruators and girls not having access to period care (10:55)
- Creating awareness through period pain stimulators (13:47)
- What is Sunny Period? (16:02)
- On leading a company that makes a social impact (18:44)
- Why is customer feedback important? (26:07)
- Getting the right information from users for product innovation (28:10)
- What is the greatest product development challenge? (31:41)
- What’s next for Sunny Period? (33:49)
- Advice for entrepreneurs who are achieving success (37:20)
I think a lot of people don’t realize how much of a luxury we make period products out to be when they’re not. Imagine being someone who’s not in the house. Someone who’s experiencing homelessness and not able to afford period care.– Drew Jarvis
We talked about menstrual leave. But that also goes into just taking time for ourselves. Creativity is sparked when we are inspired in our personal life.– Drew Jarvis
I don’t know if the founders don’t want to impose. Or if they want everybody around them to see that they’re thriving and wait, #winning. I don’t know what it is. But I do think that entrepreneurs often struggle to ask for help.– Lauren Conaway
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we’re back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about today’s episode sponsor. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. We know that. But Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform available to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. All right, friends, today we are going to be talking about some stuff that people don’t tend to talk about a lot. And I’m really looking forward to it. We have with us, Drew Jarvis. And Drew is the CMO and co-founder of Sunny Period. And is revolutionizing a product industry that is really, really important to some of my favorite people, women, and men. Streeters and individuals who have to deal with their monthlies. And I’m just really, really excited to talk about innovations in this space because you don’t see them come along too often. But we have Drew here with us. And Drew is leading the charge. Drew, welcome to the show.
Drew Jarvis 01:15
Hello, hello. How’s it going?
Lauren Conaway 01:19
Good. So tell us about your journey.
Drew Jarvis 01:25
Yes, I’d love to sew. Oh, there’s so much. But how can we start? I guess I’m actually a recent college undergraduate myself. I studied marketing and international business and have been in the pure care space, actually, since high school. So back in 2018, when I graduated high school, right before I graduated rather, I entered into a business idea of pitch competition with my idea for a reusable menstrual cup that inserts like a tampon. I saw a flier one day for this competition. I’d always been kind of entrepreneurial, like, I’ve always been interested in creative outlets and projects and knew I was going to business school. So I thought this would be a fun opportunity. And as I was looking into different things that I cared about, like safety, privacy, and health, I came across menstrual cups for the first time when I’d actually just started using one myself. And that’s when I realized they are a little bit tricky to use, at least the traditional ones. But it’s so much better for the environment. You have so many benefits that you can wear them for a lot longer than tampons and pads. And, I mean, any mentors out there know better than anyone that’s like, it is not a time when you want any more complications. Like you don’t want your period product to be the thing that puts a wrench even further into your week.
Lauren Conaway 02:52
When you’re dealing with, you know, you have PMS, and then yeah, instead of menstruation, you often experience other symptoms, like you’re already kind of feeling shitty. And now you have to deal with this piece of apparatus that, let’s face it, you know, not not the easiest, right?
Drew Jarvis 03:08
No. So like, I am such a heavy-flow person. Like since middle school. My period was 10 years old, which is Oh, wow. Yeah, so fair. And I always had the worst cramps. Even in middle school, I would go through a superfluous tampon in a, you know, 55-minute class period, and I was the cat. You know, I constantly have to go to the bathroom. And it was just, it was horrible. There were times I was like, stranded during a passing period, in the bathroom, out of period products, whatever. So finally, senior year of high school, I learned about menstrual cups. And I’m like, alright, this thing is so cool. I’m like, I can wear this for 12 hours instead of like one hour. And you know, people say so much about all this stuff. So many great benefits for the environment. I started getting into more sustainable things like environmentally sustainable practices, whatever. So I tried the diva cup. And I was sitting in the bathroom for probably at least 20 to 30 minutes trying to figure out how to put this thing in. And I was like, doing this weird mix of laughing and crying just like, what the hell’s going on? Like, how do I get this thing inside of me? Like, I’m not trying to leak through this. And after, you know, 30 minutes, I finally figured it out. And I was like holy shit, there has to be an easier way to do this. Like there has to be something out there. That is just as eco-friendly as all the other benefits.
Lauren Conaway 04:36
I really do want to talk about the solution. But the first thing I want to do is I want to set the stage a little bit because you know, we have a lot of folks who listen to the show, and many of them may not be demonstrators. And so I want to kind of explain why this is important. By the way, this whole conversation, like, there’s a very big implication, and there are some very, like, micro impacts that we’re talking about. So yeah, I want to set the stage a little bit here. Because culturally, the kind of work that you’re doing with Sunny Period right now like we don’t talk about menstruation. And I mean, I can point to any number of coworkers, classmates, like folks that we have these secret private conversations about, hey, you know, I have my period, and I feel like shit right now. But we can’t express it to the larger community. Like we have to keep it quiet. Or you know, every single man straighter I know carries around a tampon or some kind of something with you at all times in the event that not only do you need to use it, but you might need to share it with someone else, but you like tuck it up into your sleeve when you go to the bathroom like to pass offs, where you can’t say it out loud. Here’s your tampon go, you know, go with God, have fun. You can’t do that publicly. You can’t talk about these things. Because there’s this deep societal shame and stigma that is attached to menstruation and it drives me insane. There is no other, maybe with the exception of poop. But there’s no other bodily function, the natural body mechanism that occurs that you have to be so silent about is there. I just want to make sure that we’re setting the climate for this whole conversation that we’re about to have. How do you feel about that, Drew? And actually, the question that I have for you is, does that make it more difficult for you to do your job?
Drew Jarvis 06:38
Oh, my God? That’s a wonderful question. I think it’s true. I mean, I started getting into like the logistics of, you know, finding the right period product for you. But it does, if you back up even further, is like that’s truly where I got my start is like, being someone at a very young age, getting a period being the first person I knew had a really horrific period, and not really being able to talk to anyone about it, except for my mom. And it was just, like, kind of what set the stage for my interest in the topic at all. But I mean, pureed products themselves are just one part of it. Like the tampon in many period products were invented by people who don’t have periods, they were invented by men. And that’s why the lack of open conversation around the products and periods themselves, is why there’s been so little innovation over the past hundreds of years, right? The menstrual cup itself was invented in the 1930s. And, like, the 30s. Wow, like it didn’t become popularized because people didn’t know about it. Right? Like, it’s just now that we’re seeing this huge, like menstrual movement, where people are starting to open up, not necessarily in every part of the world, not in every culture, but we’re seeing interest in many cultures of like, opening up talking about like, Hey, I have these really bad cramps and learning Oh, that’s actually not normal. Like you shouldn’t be going through cramps like here’s some like some medicine or some you know, tactics or stretches or whatever you could do to help that, and here’s period products that are actually better for your cramps are better for the environment. And why do we spend so much money on these things? Because they’re cuz, like, in some states, they’re still taxed as luxury items. Yeah. And like there’s just there’s the conversation so much bigger when you’re absolutely right.
Lauren Conaway 08:23
And they’re, like, we’re talking, we’re talking about the economics of silence here. Because when I talk about like the far and wide-ranging implications of this stigma, like we’re, it’s not just the economics that affects you personally, it’s, you know, somewhere in this world there are girls who aren’t going to school because they don’t have any kind of mechanism to I don’t know to clean themselves up you know, they don’t have hygiene products available to them or culturally you know, they’re unclean or what have you, you know, here in the states we have luxury taxes that are implemented the pink tax on these very very tended historically feminine driven products and things that deeply impact women and other individuals of marginalized gender experience. So you have all of these like really deep problems Oh, funding is a huge one. You know, so many women deal with adverse effects during their menstrual cycle. And because we don’t talk about it, these issues are woefully underfunded. We look at endometriosis, we look at PCOS, we look at all of these that you help, and we look at PMS, which, let’s face it, is a bitch. We have all of these health issues that are not being addressed because there is a gag order on them. Like we can’t talk about them. I can’t go into a professional environment until my boss is like hey, I’m gonna take it easy today. I might leave a little bit early. I feel cuz I have my period. You have to like the bench in these euphemisms. Sorry, I just wanted to make sure that we, you know, talked about the bigger aspects of this conversation now.
Drew Jarvis 10:15
Yeah, absolutely. And something you touched on, like, you know, there are young men shooters and girls alike missing school because of not having access to affordable and proper period care items. And my business partner actually did research in India with a team of people actually the topic and heard about people’s experiences of the first time using a menstrual cup, just their period care experiences in general. And we heard some really, really interesting and kind of sad things about the stigma in other countries. But to a lot of people’s surprise, one in five young American men, Streeters in the United States, are missing school because they don’t have access to proper period care. Like it is an issue that is in our backyards. And I think a lot of people don’t realize like, how much of a luxury we make period products out to be when they’re not, like, imagine being someone who’s not in the house, someone who’s experiencing homelessness, and not being able to afford period care when it comes to feeding your children. Or buying yourself beard care products. Or when it comes to yourself. Like, it’s like, what are you going to sacrifice, and unfortunately, a lot of times it is period care, which is creating a wider gap in education. For people with periods, it’s creating a wider gap in the workforce, especially like you mentioned, like, just being able to talk about it openly, like periods can be really debilitating for some people, and like that’s why things like menstrual leave should be tucked into people’s pay time off and like well, so that’s something we do at Sony and like, like is for sure.
Lauren Conaway 11:48
Oh my god, I love that. Okay, sorry. I just got really honestly like the fact is like if you’re a min straighter, and another like really quick caveat, friends, I’m specifically using the term men straighter and not woman because hey, hashtag. Not all women have periods and not all period havers, administrators or women don’t. Yes, we’re here. I just want to, you know, pop that out there, but we are very specific. We’re using that term very intentionally. But then Streeters, you know, they’re, they’re dealing with all of this stuff. And it but the fact is, like, you’re gonna have a shitty two days, on average, you know, two, three days, every single month, if everything is proceeding as normal, and I mean, really, you want to have that experience every month because that means that you’re healthy and that your body is ridding itself have detritus and all the you know, it’s cleansing itself. So your menstruation is inherently a good thing for your body. But it really sucks for two to three days on average, some people deal with more, some people deal with less, you know, but it’s really difficult. So I love that you’re creating grace and space for your employees for that that will lead the way.
Drew Jarvis 13:07
Have you seen those videos online of the like, like period pain, stunts simulators? Yes.
Lauren Conaway 13:17
Or like these videos, if you go to YouTube, I swear, if you wait, if you search for period simulators, you’ll see like all of these dudes. Like it’s an app, or, or at least the ones that I’ve seen as an apparatus where it likes, sends me electrical current that would mimic a menstrual cramp. And then you see these, these, like, people who’ve never experienced mental menstrual cramps just like doubled over in pain. And I’m just like, I’m so sorry, man. I’m so sorry. I just feel like it’s not it’s not a good feeling.
Drew Jarvis 13:46
My favorite, my favorite are the couples and it’s like the, like, a woman she’ll, she’ll be there and they’ll be like, What do you think the skills like one to 10 on pain? And they’ll crank it up to 10? And she’s like, Yeah, I mean, this doesn’t feel great, but kind of just feels like my period. And then they like a boyfriend or husband, whoever will put it on and they’re like, dying, like a level.
Lauren Conaway 14:11
It’s like I’m not proud of it. Like, don’t judge me. I know that it’s not good. But I’m just like, yeah, now you understand why Auklet and multiple baths at the end are like putting it into perspective for people who don’t have periods and honestly watching those I was like, holy shit, like, my period is that painful?
Drew Jarvis 14:23
Like we just live like that we deal with that and we expect to go to work and we expect to live wisely and in many cases, like, like, nothing is wrong.
Lauren Conaway 14:36
Okay, all right. This was like, I knew that I wanted to talk about it. But alright, we have established that periods are not always fun. We have established that there are some pretty deep systemic issues that we have to deal with. And one of the first ways that we deal with it is by talking about it. Now, you made an excellent point Drew. You know, the fact is, we haven’t seen a lot of innovation in menstrual hygiene products over the course of centuries, you know, for since the time of the Egyptians, you know, they, they, we had individuals using papyrus and just kind of cramming it in there. And now we see your version of that because it comes with wings. And you are, so you’re leading something of a social movement, as well as a business and a product. So I want to talk to you a little bit about that. First things first, I want to talk to you about Sunny Period, like, what specifically is your period cup reusable applicator like all of these things? What does that user experience look like?
Drew Jarvis 15:48
Yeah, so I guess at a high level, yet, we’re in the Sunny Period. And we really focus on three main things. And that is the sustainable and innovative products like I talked about. And I’ll get more into that in a second. But then also the inclusive and honest education just being like, Hey, this is like, basically, everything we just talked about is what we’re trying to talk about on a daily basis. And then the last thing is that global give back. And that kind of goes into the conversation we had about people not having access to affordable period care. So like you said, like, we’re trying to create a whole menstrual movement that is so much more than the products and everything to do with erasing the stigma, you know, donating period care products, and what have you. But we created this Sunday cup and applicator, which is a reusable menstrual cup, like I had sort of mentioned before. But it inserts with a reusable applicator, like a tampon style applicator. So basically marrying the sustainable like environmentally sustainable and economic benefits of a menstrual cup with the user friendliness of the tampon.
Lauren Conaway 16:53
Okay. And I mean, as a hygiene products user, like that sounds super intriguing to me, because as you said, like the first time you tried to use a menstrual cup, like it’s not, it’s not the most intuitive process, like you kind of have to play around and mash mash things around a little bit in order to, and it’s not. It’s a little weird, I’m not gonna lie, like you’re in a bathroom stall, or you’re in your bathroom. You’re just like, what, what is this? Anything make that process easier? I’m gonna be like, yes, full. Family. Yeah. And so you’re giving, you’re giving women back a little bit of agency, you know, you’re making a process that can potentially be very complicated. You’re making it easier. And that is fantastic. You know, talk to us about this, this revolution, that you’re kind of, you’re leading a company with social impact. And so talk to us about that, like how you’re kind of in it not only innovating with the space, product wise, but also kind of trying to change hearts and minds and attitudes. I would love to hear more about this.
Drew Jarvis 18:04
Yeah, so it all starts with education, like and educating ourselves and others. So like I mentioned, in 2018, when I entered into that business idea of pitch competition, I actually ended up winning $25,000. From that, went to college and took that money to start working on the prototyping and product development of the Stanley Cup and applicator. And we talked to hundreds of administrators and you know, try to understand like, what do you need? What do you like, what could be better for you? And just starting by opening up the conversation and educating ourselves. And then we went through hundreds of iterations of prototyping for the product. And we’re like, okay, cool. Now we have this product. But how do we get people to understand it? Like, how do we sell a product that people don’t want to talk about in the first place? Like, there may be people listening to podcasts right now that are like, what, what even isn’t menstrual?
Lauren Conaway 18:56
I’m sure that all of you were just like, no growth.
Drew Jarvis 19:00
And that’s the first like part of it. Like we’ve had some real we’ll get to that we’ve had some really funny stories of people be like, What the hell’s going on. But once we had the prototyping, like completed, and we were ready to share this with the world, we posted a video on social media on tick tock actually, and ended up having it go viral. The very first time we actually posted a video of us demonstrating one of the prototypes. It got hundreds of 1000s of views followed by other videos with like, millions of views on Tiktok and Instagram, and people just being like, oh my god, like for a lot of people who are familiar with menstrual cups in the space they were like, a menstrual cup was an applicator does like why did I think of that? Like I’ve been doing this my whole life right, like it was so cool to see people just intuitively get it. Well, a lot of people, not everybody. We got so many people even like the funniest ones like Howie Mandel made a comment Then like reposted a video on his Tik Tok commenting art on our video, and he was like, What the hell is that thing is that a shot glass? Like, we’ve had just so many interesting responses. And that’s when we really had to take a step back and be like, Okay, we like where we have to be so much more than selling a product, like we need to explain to people what this is and why it might be beneficial to them. Like, we’re not necessarily trying to force everyone to use the Saudi cup and applicator. But we do want people to find the best product for them. And this might be that. So with all that being said, we’re in the pre order phase right now. And we’re still in the manufacturing process. So when it comes to the social gift back in education, we’re doing everything we can at the stage that we’re at. So we provide a lot of free educational resources, like talking about, like you said, like what is administrator, someone who has a period? What are period products like? What are your different options, and just opening up that conversation now that we started to build a social media presence for ourselves. And then the other part of that is like, partnering with nonprofit organizations to help donate like, we’ll do campaigns or, like, do different things where we’re donating funds to existing nonprofits. But eventually, we’d love to have a nonprofit arm of our own where we can donate our own products and, and really develop those partnerships.
Lauren Conaway 21:26
Wow, see, you said something that I’m going to drill down on just a little bit. But first things first, I do have to tell you all about today’s episode sponsor, I think you know, at this point that we are huge fans of Full Scale, they produced the Startup Hustle podcast, they are amazing friends, partners and allies. But one of the things that they do really, really, really well is they can help you build out your software team quickly and affordably. You know, everybody, every tech talent, I know, every startup founder, I know who is leading a tech enabled product knows that finding experts, software developers can be really, really difficult. You spend a lot of time and resources recruiting. And with Full Scale, you don’t have to do that. You can just reach out to them. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs. See what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team fully vetted, very talented developers visit FullScale.io To learn more like I just I cannot stress enough. The positive feedback I’ve gotten from Full Scale clients, like I just love hearing about the success stories. And I, I would love to see you want to be one of them. Alright, so now we’re going to drill down just a little bit into this, this conversation that is unfolding Drew. And what I want to know is this, you mentioned something about you reaching out to mentors, and you were like, tell us of your experience. What was the general feedback that you got when you were in the iteration product or iteration process with the product? What kind of feedback? What were you hearing from men streeters on what they were looking for?
Drew Jarvis 23:08
Yeah, so a lot of it was like, what I said towards the beginning of like, ease of use. And because people’s periods are already like such a horrible shitty time of the month for most people, not all people, but for the best. For me, it’s not been the best experience. So it’s like, what can I do to make this easier? And that looks like so many different things like easier, financially easier in terms of like, Why do I change my tampon every hour, this sucks easier in terms of like, I don’t want to have to figure out this apparatus and how to get it positioned inside me properly. And we really tried to take those most important components that I just mentioned, and marry them together. Of course, there’s like other benefits, like the environmental sustainability, like we talked about, but when we went to people and we were like, hey, like, how much are you spending on pureed products every year, like, up like hundreds of dollars 8000 Like over $14,000 in someone’s lifetime can be spent on period products and tax. The big tax does not and when people switch to a reusable product, you can save 1000s Over your lifetime because of menstrual health can be reused for up to a year or more. And so we just tried to keep going back to this reusability. The menstrual cup, like the menstrual cup, is the answer to so many of these problems, like hundreds of 1000s of tons of pureed care waste goes into landfills every single year.
Lauren Conaway 24:37
I use a reusable there’s a reasonable thing and the ensuing products that are problems that happen when people try to flush them billions and billions of dollars a year like it is crazy how much money is spent and how much waste is is out there because of peer to peer products and just the little innovation that’s been done to tampons and pads over the past like 100 years.
Drew Jarvis 24:42
And it all pointed towards reusable products. One of those is getting a menstrual cup. But then we had people try a traditional menstrual cup and they were like, yeah, no, this is not worth my time. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the day, if you’re like being more inconvenienced in your period, rd is like it’s just not worth it. And so we’re like, how do we get people to try this thing? Like how do we get people to feel like this is easy, and this is going to make their life better, but still have all those other benefits that you were looking for? And that’s when we came up with Sunny.
Lauren Conaway 25:27
Yeah, well, so. So I’m going really quick before we delve a little bit more deeply. I want to I want to bring up a, I want to bring up something it’d be important of customer feedback in the women’s space now Drew after that you remember this, but some of our listeners might not know that a while back, I think it was like a couple of years ago now maybe a year ago, there was a company that debuted on I believe it was Shark Tank, do you know what I’m about to talk about? Okay, I need to hear this. Okay, so I’m not gonna name the product like you can do Google searches independently want to, but it was a pink glove. Oh, my God, founded by to, to cisgender do is as far as I know, I, you know, do not believe that either one of them had ever had a period. And they developed this glove. And they made it pink because, you know, girls love pink dots. But they had made this glove, this disposable glove. And essentially, that’s what it was: a pink disposable glove. And you use it to take out your tampon or your diva cup, or what have you, and you to keep your hands clean, right? Because like it was, like on Shark Tank, I think it got funded, like it got funded. And it was kind of lauded as, oh, this revolution, but then it got out to the public and the public. And in particular men, Streeters were like, This has never been a problem. This has never been anything really like you do your thing. You wash your hands really well, like that’s as difficult as this process needs to be. And I just remember that, you know, because I’m just like, I wonder what would have happened, had those founders done a little bit of market research on the front end, and just been like, hey, maybe we should ask some ladies, maybe we should ask some traders. What do you think about this? Because they were mocked pretty hard on social media, and I would kind of feel bad about that. But that being said, like you’re you what you have done with Sunday period is you have taken user feedback and made it actionable with your product. And I love that. So what were some studying mechanisms? Did you do surveys, interviews, like how did you come to the product innovations or iterations that you were going to be working with?
Drew Jarvis 27:52
Oh, my gosh, all of the above, I mean, it started and I don’t think you necessarily have to have the problem yourself to create something really useful for others. But you do need to fully understand it. So luckily, for me, it started with me and me noticing an issue with myself and my own period. And that was my Launchpad. But from there, it went to really baseline. And I’m trying to keep this like really simple initially, because I want people to know that you could literally go do this and start something yourself. Like you don’t have to do super expensive and extensive user studies to start out with, like, talk to your friends, talk to your family and be like, Hey, have you tried this Avec for me? Have you tried a menstrual cup? Like what do you think about it? And then from there, when I met my business partner, Cindy, she had done research in India. So she had done some of that more like upscale research and had to learn very similar things to what I was seeing with my own friend groups. And then from there, we banded together. And we started doing just pretty simple surveys, like, you know, like survey monkey, whatever surveys, and then it got to the point where we had prototypes, we were doing several rounds of beta testing. We, as we were trying to figure out the main target demographic, we talked to everyone from like teenagers, to young adults to maybe culture and specifically with like this, or maybe moms would really like this because it’s an on the go type thing. And you don’t really have time to deal with her period. Maybe you know what I mean?
Lauren Conaway 29:19
Like two toddlers knocking on the door while you’re trying to go to bat to go to the bathroom, speed is an important factor.
Drew Jarvis 29:26
Right? It’s like, I don’t know what parent has time to like to change their tampon or pad every couple of hours, like a menstrual cup might be good, I might be the right solution. But what we found is that there is some interest across the board really with administrators. Now we do like we saw that it kind of skewed a little bit younger, because you know, when you’re in your 40s, and you’ve been using the same products for forever, maybe you’re not interested in switching, not everybody but maybe maybe you’re not. We saw that it skewed more towards people who were interested in the sustainability piece. And people who were interested in that, like saving money, or not buying boxes of tampons and pads every month? Um, but across the board, like, I think we got kind of lucky. And when we did our pre order lunch, because at this stage, a lot of men’s traders know what a period cup is. They know what a menstrual cup is, right? So we, when I started this back in 2018, I was like, oh my god, like we got to explain what a menstrual cup is, and then why they should use this better option of a menstrual cup. But at this point, a lot of people do know what a metro cup is. And that’s why we got that oh, yeah, da response when we posted the video, because they were like, oh, yeah, does an applicator tampons. Now Apple here with a menstrual cup? Like that is genius. Like that makes sense. All right. So because of all that research we had done, and the care we took with the time, the launch and all that we were able to get such a positive experience. And because we’ve beta tested, we know that people enjoyed the user experience that it really came down to communication.
Lauren Conaway 31:01
So what was your greatest product development challenge?
Drew Jarvis 31:06
I say this jokingly, but it actually is not a joke, that I have had hundreds of really bad prototypes inside myself.
Lauren Conaway 31:18
Not fun in the beginning, like, just so you know, that sentence is really disturbing. Like, I understand what you’re getting at.
Drew Jarvis 31:24
Yeah, like, I’ve had to, like, test out, like, prototypes that were, like, brittle. And so they like broke, when I was, you know what I mean? Like with the applicator, or like, cups that were really stiff, or cups that were really soft. And like they tore when I tried taking them out, like these crazy prototypes in the beginning, and just having to go back and forth. And then towards the end of the prototyping phase, it was down to the millimeters like how do we perfect this edge of the cup, or the thickness or thinness of this applicator or whatever, like it was down to like, how do we make a product that’s going to work for most people, because that’s the thing, every anatomy is different things that are tested, we have to go out and beta test because every person’s body is different, and everyone’s preferences are different. And so creating something that was universal enough, but different enough from what already exists was yeah, it was interesting.
Lauren Conaway 32:17
Well, because the ultimate goal is you want to create a product that people don’t even realize that they’re using, like once you set it and forget it, you know, once you get it in, you don’t want to know that you’re wearing a menstrual cup and, and or a tampon or whatever your hygiene product choices like you don’t want to be aware of it. And that’s the goal. And yeah, so So I love that you got to get so specific, like down to the, to the millimeter. That’s impressive. You know, trying to figure that out. But that’s it. That’s a consistently iterative process. And I mean, I’m sure that over time, new materials will be introduced or you know, you’ll offer maybe, I don’t know, maybe someday you’ll have different sizes, or different or whatever. So what is the future before Sunny Period? Like, I’m really curious. And I’m going to ask you a two-part question. So the first part of the question is, from a product standpoint, what is next? But then the second part of the question is what does that mean, in the face of the larger menstrual care hygiene products landscape? Like? What are you hoping to see? What direction are you hoping to go in? How do you plan to grow with the industry?
Drew Jarvis 33:31
Love that? Yeah. So first part of it. I mean, you touched on it. We want to develop other sizes and options for people because, like I said, everybody’s preference and anatomies are different. We want to also expand internationally. Right now we’re selling directly to consumers, like so online, just within the United States, we want to expand internationally. And then we want to continue product development, that kind of goes into your second question of like the future of period care. Like, I don’t want to have another 100 year stagnant period where I want to always be innovating, like this is a space that I think slowly but surely, we’re becoming more confident and comfortable as a society to talk about. And we’re allowing more space for women administrators to be the leaders of that conversation. And so every day I’m seeing, you know, new devices come out that are better for different people. And that’s why when I said we’re not necessarily trying to force anyone to use the Sunday cup applicator, we’re just trying to give another option, because we want like our ultimate goal is for people to have a comfortable period for people to be comfortable talking about their period. And if the Sunday cup is right for you, that’s great. If our educational resources are helpful to you, that’s great. If we’re helping people I donate products and money or whatever. That’s awesome, great like that’s why we do try to take this holistic approach to period care that’s beyond a single product.
Lauren Conaway 35:03
Those are some big dreams, my friend. I mean, you’re revolutionizing an industry, you are building a product, you’re building a client base, you’re doing that education piece.
Drew Jarvis 35:17
Oh, I was gonna say, you know, I’m like, I’m 23 I think I’ve got time and space to do this in the industry. And I think the big dreamers are like, those are the people getting stuck like this?
Lauren Conaway 35:31
Well, so that it actually leads beautifully into my next question. So thank you for that, you know, you’re 23 years old, and you have, you know, clearly you have a good head on your shoulders, you’re getting the one of the best Crash Course education’s that you get as an emerging entrepreneur.
Drew Jarvis 35:51
What’s next for you? For me, I mean, professionally, I think we’ve talked a lot about that. Personally, I’d love to live somewhere that is fun, adventurous and to travel. I think that as hard as I’m working, I want to have that much fun as well, I think, try to have that work life balance, for sure. Like we talked about, the menstrual leave. But that also goes into just like taking time for ourselves. Like, that’s when creativity is sparked when we are inspired in our personal life. So whatever that looks like, whether it’s spending more time outdoors or, you know, moving to a place that inspires me or expanding our team and, and getting other voices within Saudi, I think that’s, that’s what I’m looking forward to.
Lauren Conaway 36:40
Yeah, well, of course, I love all of that. I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask you to give a little of your treasure away, because one of the things that I love to do on my episodes of the show is I like that actionable advice. So not every one of our founders is really interested in doing work within the hygiene products, menstrual care space, and that’s okay. But to those folks playing at home, you know, what are some of your best advice? Isn’t that an entrepreneur, what would you tell them as a founder? Who is achieving success? You know, what is? What is one of the things that helped you on your journey? Or what are some tips and tricks that you can give them?
Drew Jarvis 37:24
I would say, I mean, this may have been overstated, but ask for help. Like you said, this is the ultimate Crash Course. I started this when I was in high school, and I didn’t know a damn thing about entrepreneurship or creating a medical device or manufacturing. Why didn’t none of that, and building a team of people around me who knew more than I did, like staying humble with understanding the things that I do and don’t know. And just building a team around me was, I think it’s the only way I could be successful, like, whether it was just really needing to lean on someone when I didn’t understand how to do something, or I had a final exam in college, and it was a really stressful weekend. So I need to lean on someone because I just couldn’t handle it all. Like, I think just ask for help. Okay.
Lauren Conaway 38:11
I like no, that is excellent advice. And I think too often founders, I don’t know if like founders don’t want to impose or if they, you know, want, want everybody around them to, like, see that they’re thriving, and wait, hashtag winning, you know, I don’t know what it is. But I do think that entrepreneurs often struggle to ask for help. So that is impeccable advice. And now, I’m going to ask you the human question, and I don’t actually know what it is. So I’m looking around for inspiration. And I’m gonna say, oh, okay, I’m going to ask you, who are some of your heroes? Just get it. Just give us a couple who are some of your heroes?
Drew Jarvis 38:48
Oh, my gosh, this is a good question. This is always a tough question.
Lauren Conaway 38:55
I always, like I always have like, 30 different answers at the reading. And I’m like, nobody wants to hear all that.
Drew Jarvis 39:00
I’d say nonspecifically just all of the incredible, like women and minority and LGBTQ plus entrepreneurs that are like, even in FinTech, like in the space that I’m in, and like seeing the incredible things that they’re doing, and being so like minded. That’s just like, it’s so cool to see. Like, of course, as entrepreneurs, we have a competitive nature. And we, you know, we want to be great in our field.
Lauren Conaway 39:39
But how cool is it to have people like Nadia Okamoto or like, you know, people like her who recently talked about her increased show prep friends, she’s another innovator within the period care space and one of my girl crushes I’m not gonna lie.
Drew Jarvis 39:48
Like, I can’t help but think I spoke with her a couple of times. Like I can’t help but think like, we clearly have similar goals and like interests in life. And I think that’s so special, and I hope that, as the younger generations are entering into entrepreneurship and the startup world we can, we can make space to work together and to be so supportive of the fact that we’re all just kind of working towards similar goals. So I’d say other people or other young women entrepreneurs in the space are super, super.
Lauren Conaway 40:20
Okay. And that is a great answer. And if you have a collaborative approach with a community lens. And that is beautiful, Drew. I can’t tell you this has been super fun for me.
Drew Jarvis 40:39
I have to admit there’s a little piece of me if it’s like I get to talk about periods forming a job every day.
Lauren Conaway 40:42
I appreciate that about you. And I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today. Drew, thanks so much for coming to the show.
Drew Jarvis 40:47
It was so much fun. Thank you.
Lauren Conaway 40:51
Good. All right. Well, and we, of course, have to thank you that today’s episode is sponsored by Full Scale. Do you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders? Let Full Scale help. They have the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. A whole team of them if you want. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Definitely check these show notes. Another thing you should check the show notes for, I mean, hey, you know, not even the show notes just go out into the digital space. And we want you to find us, listeners. One of the things that fuel us is hearing your stories and hearing your reviews, and hearing about how a founder’s story affected your approach and your feeling about entrepreneurship. We love hearing those stories, and we want your feedback. So make sure to pop into our group chat on Facebook. We’ve got a community on LinkedIn, you know, find us and let us know like you suggest founders. We just want to hear your voices and make sure that the show, Startup Hustle, serves you as an entrepreneur because that’s what we are here to do. So definitely do that. And definitely keep on coming back. We love that you come back and listen week after week. We are extraordinarily grateful, and we will catch you next time.