Women who deal with vaginal adhesions may suffer from extreme discomfort and experience sandpaper-like sex. One of the most practical solutions to this problem is undergoing a dilation therapy. However, this process can be uncomfortable all the same. Aquafit Intimate has created a new approach to dilators to address sexual wellness and intimate health in an enjoyable way. Joining Dr. Alyssa Dweck and Rachel Braun Scherl are two of the company’s Co-Founders, Rebecca Sternberg and Varda Messer. They share how they have made dilators more accessible through a hydrogel dilator, making this equipment less barbaric than static dilators. Rebecca and Varda also talk about their flexible marketing strategies that allow Aquafit to survive on a shoestring and how they navigate Google that constantly flags their content as explicit.
Listen to the podcast here
A New Approach To Sexual Wellness With Rebecca Sternberg and Varda Messer
Making Dilators Accessible
I‘m excited for people to learn about the two founders of Aquafit. It’s focused on being a flexible and useful vaginal dilator. What’s so interesting and common about so many people in this space is the overwhelming enthusiasm and passion to make things better. In certain cases, it’s based on personal experience but the energy, the drive, and the focus even when it’s hard pushing this boulder uphill is exciting.
I want to comment on two things that I’m seeing emerge in the space of women’s health or health and well-being in general. Number one is this magical ingredient, hyaluronic acid. It seems to be showing up everywhere. In the gynecology world, we have taken a lesson from those in dermatology in the use of this ingredient for health and wellness. Number two is the discussion about hydrogels, which are near and dear to my heart for various reasons, which we can speak about at another time. The hydrogel phenomenon is huge. These women have combined these two incredible ingredients to create a wonderful lineup of products.
We are so excited to have our guests, Rebecca Sternberg and Varda Messer, who are among the cofounders of Aquafit. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for having us as well.
Start the story. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be the cofounders of Aquafit, and first off, what it is and what it does. That will grab people’s attention.
We address sexual wellness and intimate health. It started from a personal story, as most good innovations do. In my background, I am a strategic designer. Nobody knows what that is, and neither do I sometimes, but it uses design to solve problems. It can be problems digital or physical. It takes the whole gamut of design thinking and usability. Years ago, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I initially was extremely healthy. I was terribly shocked undergoing this, and I had amazing medical care. I got a lot of pelvic radiation. With my release, I was told that I have to use a dilator. It’s a piece of plastic. It’s rigid. You have to put lubricant on it. The key is that it’s painful to use. I looked at my doctor and said, “This can’t be the interface for the vagina. It makes no sense.”
Stop there for a second and explain to people who don’t know what a dilator does. I‘m also curious about where you were in your fertility journey when you were diagnosed with cervical cancer.
In the end, I sued both the hospital that was doing fertility treatments for me and the local HMO because, as part of my fertility treatments, I had Pap tests. I had a false negative. Upon making it to my HMO because of the way healthcare is organized in Israel, you’re diagnosed at the HMO, but then you move over to the hospital system. The doctor said to me, “Why didn’t you come back in 2009?” I said, “Why should I have come back in 2009?”
He turned the screen to me and showed me that I had a positive Pap smear but the doctor had not pressed Enter. I immediately took out my phone and photographed that. He immediately switched it back, realizing that maybe he shouldn’t have shown that to me. As I was going through the radiation therapy, I was suing. That’s our startup money. We got further money, but we took that money and immediately put it into Aquafit Intimate.
Getting back to what is dilation therapy; dilation therapy is plastic. It looks like a dildo, typically. It could be a little bit soft or a little bit hard. It’s used for women who have gone through radiation to prevent adhesions post-radiation. If you have vaginal adhesions, you can’t get cervical exams, but you also can’t have sex. My sex life was dependent on this piece of plastic that was uncomfortable for my use. I was in a tiff, “What am I going to do? I can’t move from the small-medium to the medium-large.”
I was 48 at the time. I was like, “My sex life is over. This cannot be.” Immediately, at that point, my entrepreneur gene came into play, and I said, “It cannot be that there can’t be a better usability interface for the vagina.” Moments before, we showed our product and talked about it. As part of my reboot, I was doing triathlons. I needed a third partner for the triathlon. I do running. I persuaded my brother’s daughter to swim. I needed a biker. That’s how I met Varda. Varda was like, “I’ll bike.” We didn’t know.
I didn’t know you could do it that way. I would be happy to do a third. I didn’t think I could ever do all three pieces.
Sometimes divide it into three. Immediately upon the first connection with Varda, we were no-nonsense. She was like, “Do you want to meet before we do it?” I’m like, “Pick me up at 5:00. We will do it.”
We didn’t speak. At 5:30 in the morning across from the municipality, I picked her up. This woman entered the car full of vibrations. She doesn’t stop speaking. I said, “Rebecca, let me wake up.”
I’m with you. I don’t want any vibrations at 5:30 in the morning. I don’t care what I’m doing.
Varda asked me what I’m doing. I said, “I’m thinking about a sexual wellness startup.” She was all-in from the beginning and has been the biggest emotional asset to Aquafit Intimate ever since. Varda is now 60 but at the time was 55. She was menopausal. She has a healthy sex life.
I’m married for many years with 3 kids and the full monty.
Sex is like having sandpaper in your vagina. Immediately, she bought it. The first thing we did is that we partnered with Vered, our third partner. She is an advanced chemist. She’s one of the leading applied chemists in Israel. She was a client of mine for 3D printing. The first thing we did is move from plastic to what we call a gel stick, which is a gel in a stick. Moving from something inert to something that suddenly is very similar to vaginal tissue opened up a whole world of intimate wellness for us.
We didn’t intend to enter that space. We wanted to make a better dilator. Most women don’t talk about their vaginas in this way. One is that the vagina is a muscle. You have to work on it. It’s got a mechanical aspect. The second side of it is that it needs lubrication. We know this. In the past few years, there have been amazing natural lubricants in the market that have improved women’s lives. The third thing is vaginal pH, which is vaginal acidity. That’s what we have put together in one simple hydrogel.
The other thing that was super important to us is that it not be painful. You take the hydrogel, dip it in water, and it activates natural lubrication. You can already see it’s very soft. It has tensile strength and also mechanical strength. We developed this notion of an intimate gel stick and intimate training. While working with the vagina, we’re doing three things at once. The first thing is we’re working the muscle. The second thing is that we’re massaging any plant-based ingredient into the vaginal wall. The third is we’re managing the pH.
Can I ask one thing? I‘m not sure that everyone in the audience knows what hydrogel is. Can you start with that and also review the ingredients that provide these three indications to be addressed?
It’s very interesting. We know about gels. They’re in a liquid state. If you think about hydrogel, it’s like jello. It’s a gel in a solid state. What’s interesting about a gel in a solid state is that you can think of it if you were to imagine it as almost a 3D structure or a 3D web that captures water. Conceptually, it’s a chemical mesh. It can also capture other active agents. We will talk about them. People are familiar with contact lenses. Contact lens is a hydrogel. It’s a hydrogel uniquely designed for the eye. What it’s doing is that it’s allowing air, oxygen, water management, and light rays to the eye. What we have done is we have developed a hydrogel that is almost like a penis made out of gelatins.
If you think about it, it’s better than the real thing.
It feels better than the real thing because it doesn’t deliver diseases. It’s the reverse. If we go back to the contact lens analogy, it’s using vaginal triggers. We didn’t know any of this when we started. As we’re going, we’re learning. The vagina has a unique pH. For most women, a healthy vagina is a little bit acidic. It’s somewhere between 3.8 and 4.8 or 5. The way we release active agents into the vagina is a responsive hydrogel in the sense that because we’re the first to put something like a human tissue into the vagina, it can, by osmosis, sense what the situation is in the vagina.A healthy vagina is a little bit acidic, with a vaginal pH somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5. Click To Tweet
I want to pontificate on this a little bit more. What can we do for our vaginas? We can squirt a vaginal gel. It’s simply called an applicator. That’s almost as primitive as telling you that your oral health is to squirt toothpaste into your mouth. One option is squirting something with an applicator. The other option is to have a suppository in which you can’t have sexual activity with a suppository. Its experience is a little bit of leakage as well. You can have a low-release tablet like hormones.
That’s the three mechanisms that we have. What we’re doing is we’re saying, “If we could come back to a 3D object that is working your muscles like a penis but is sensitive to the tissue and can release water and also any other active agent, we have a new interface for the vagina.” Let’s go back to the active agents. Our first product was Aquafit PRÉ. It has hyaluronic acid as its main active agent and vitamin B3.
This is also super interesting because hyaluronic acid is coming out to be a huge hit in the cosmetic industry, but what it’s doing in the vaginal space is that a dry vagina has cracks. If you massage the cracks with your hyaluronic acid, you’re smoothing out the surface and making the surface more comfortable for penetration or also anything else. The mechanism of massaging the hyaluronic acid into the vaginal wall is also something that only we can do because this is the nature of how we’re doing it.Hyaluronic acid is becoming a huge hit in the cosmetic industry. It smoothens out the dry surface of the vaginal space to make it more comfortable for penetration and everything else. Click To Tweet
For readers who can’t see this incredibly cool–looking device, it almost looks like a teeny 3D pyramid or cone. It narrows at the top, which would make insertion easier and more comfortable than a static dilator. It’s also a little bit pliable. It doesn’t feel or look as firm as the plastic dilator that seems so barbaric that you were given at the beginning of your treatment. To edify the audience, the dilators typically come in multiple sizes so that you start with the one that’s super narrow and then slowly progress up in circumference, but in this particular case, it looks like it’s more of a one–size–fits–all or maybe a two–sizes–fits–all based on your product or selection.
You had mentioned that the original intent was for lesions, but we have had other conversations. I want to ask Alyssa in terms of people that she sees in her office. There are other reasons that people would have painful penetration. I‘m curious if you could share what some of those are and how a dilator might help in those circumstances as well.
I see that your product seems to cover multiple indications, which is something to discuss. Number one would be what you’re calling sandpaper sex or the dryness that occurs as a result of diminished estrogen usually due to hormone changes, which could be due to menopause. It could be occurring during perimenopause or the years leading up to menopause. It also could be caused by medication that might cause dryness or lactation because during lactation, your estrogen levels are pretty low, and vaginal dryness can occur.
There are multiple reasons for dryness. Using a moisturizer of sorts, whether it’s in the form of hyaluronic acid, which is a super popular ingredient, or in the form of estrogen replacement, which some people will use as a minimally absorbed form of estrogen in the vagina, or using another over-the-counter moisturizer made with other ingredients are often turned toward.
The other issue that you mention is pelvic floor dysfunction. What can happen are multiple things. You can get the narrowing of the vagina due to various issues in your particular case. I‘m so glad you seem to be feeling and doing much better after that terrible and difficult journey. What happens is that in accommodation to the anticipation of pain with anything being thought of going into the vagina, the muscles of the pelvic floor tighten and become what we call hypertonic.
They tighten and almost even can spasm as a result of the thought of anything even penetrating the vagina. This can cause pain. Using a dilator or, in this particular case, the Aquafit device helps the mind to tell the vagina, “Do not tighten up. This is not going to be painful.” It trains the vagina in that way so the muscles don’t tighten.
Third, we’re speaking about vaginal pH, which is the natural acidic pH that occurs in the vagina as a result of the balance of the microbiome. There are many organisms in the vagina that help to maintain an acidic environment, which is a healthy environment to prevent infection, discharge, odor, and itching. Using a product that helps to facilitate a good acidic pH is helpful. Your device seems to address any or all of these issues of concern.
First of all, you have said this better. You hit all the cylinders. I want to talk to the women themselves. Our users are exactly manifesting these three different groups. We started our pilot sales in Israel. Israel is a little bit peculiar because we have a large community of Orthodox youngsters. They’re not consummating their marriages. We’re getting calls from the husbands who are like, “We can’t consummate our marriage,” but we’re also seeing vaginismus, endometriosis, and also what I would call a subcategory of vaginismus because a lot of young men are being educated on porn.
If a young woman has a bad experience the first time she experiences penetration, she’s highly likely to develop some form of vaginismus, maybe not full-blown. We’re seeing a lot of women from those categories. This mind-vagina connection that you mentioned is very interesting because most of the young women are reporting, “I’m in control.” Only inserting the tip and beginning to work with yourself makes a dramatic change. We have had about a 98% success rate in this age group with intimate training for 6 to 9 weeks.
This is amazing because the sex life of this young group of women is ahead of them. They can be educated about their vaginas. I’m not saying that menopausal women can’t be. We will get to the menopausal women. We’re unfortunately seeing women stopping to have sex in their 50s and 60s, and then interestingly boosting back to it in their late 60s and 70s with a new partner. This is interesting. For young women, it’s vaginismus. It has been very successful with them.
Here’s the Hot Flash. We have discussed vaginismus on the show before. The definition is the tightening of the vaginal muscles involuntarily, causing pain. Did you know that 53% of complainers of vaginismus are between the ages of 26 and 35 years old?
I want to mention vaginismus again. It’s a complicated term to mean the tightening of the vaginal muscles, whether it’s due to emotional input or because something is being trialed to be inserted, and it might be painful. I want to understand more about the study you’ve done. Is this an experienced trial or a study of another nature? Can you talk about that a little?
It’s both in a sense that during COVID with the rest of the world, we were looking at an Israeli company that had developed a conversational bot to report COVID. They did it in three weeks. I looked at them and said, “If they can put this up in three weeks, can’t we do a self-reporting conversational interface to educate women? They’re at home. They’re not making it to the gynecologists. Can we start developing that?” We did. At the time, we were covered by a branch of the Israeli government.
We put out a digital interface that allows a woman in three minutes or less to self-assess herself and then get help. I say this is in three minutes or less because, unfortunately, we are also hearing that women typically experience fifteen doctors before their vaginal issue is fully diagnosed. Some of this has to do with the different age groups and indications.
Unfortunately, unlike you, Alyssa, a lot of doctors are uncomfortable having conversations about sexual wellness with women and menopause as well. There’s a lot of limited knowledge about what the options are for women. We love doctors, but at every interaction, there was a missed opportunity to explain. We use a conversational bot to let a woman, first of all, understand herself. It’s completely free. We also worked with Dr. Amy Kesselman. She has a sexual wellness clinic, much like yours.
What we’re doing is we’re monitoring the number of uses, the responses, and under the medical side, the length of time from start to finish among young women because, for menopausal women, this is a change of routine for the rest of our lives. The young group of women is the prime category of women that she works with in her clinic. It’s not a clinical trial. It’s a marketing trial. Sitting next to me right here is Varda. We started in a Hebrew-speaking country. Our bot is English. She operates as the Hebrew conversational bot.
I say this with a huge smile because we also learned the behavioral changes that a woman needs to buy this. This is something so interesting. First of all, our landing pages have two buttons on them, Speak with a Doctor for Free or Speak With Us. We were astounded to find out that most women or 90% prefer to speak to us rather than speak with a doctor. Part of the reason is that they don’t often know what to ask and don’t want to sound ignorant or stupid. We’re getting so many questions, “My sex life has been fine since I was 50.” Our collective mission is to educate women on the estrogen story.
It’s not only about estrogen. We are going back to the young women that have a life of sexuality ahead of them. They don’t know how to approach the thing that they are afraid of. Fear is leading them because once they have sex, it hurts them. It’s downhill. They’re afraid to do sex again. What they want is to release this fear. Once they train by themselves with a device that doesn’t hurt, and they can do it by themselves, they release the fear.
In all the conversations, it comes out. It’s the fear that controls you. If they are not afraid, they will be open. Who knows better than you? When you are open and not afraid, then everything works. They have to release this fear. Until they by themselves do the dilation therapy with a device that doesn’t hurt and feels very smooth, then they get over it and release the fear. It comes in all the conversations.
It’s also the conversations among menopausal women. I want to speak about this conversation because that’s another asset. We don’t sell a product that is on the shelf where you go to CVS and buy it because every woman has a conversation with us either through our digital interface or with us in person. These conversations are so essential because they’re educating us about what women need to hear from us and what they need to hear from themselves. This is an asset on its own. I’m not as emotionally developed as Varda, yet this has been the most interesting thing throughout our journey with Aquafit.
For instance, we had a super user. A woman had bought six units. She was working with us for a long time. I wrote her an email and said, “I would love to hear from you. I would love to hear your feedback. We released a new Aquafit BIO for pH balance and a digital interface.” She wrote me back, “I don’t need a digital interface but I have a few questions.” I thought to myself, “This must be an older woman.”
I returned and responded, “Can you tell me a little bit about your scenario?” This is a 73-year-old woman who reported directly openly that her husband has erectile dysfunction. She worked with Aquafit and him to time their sex life. I had goosebumps over this. She says, “Nobody in the medical field thinks I’m sexually active. I don’t exist for them.” Here, she’s finding someone to tell her to listen to her and also help her with a product.
The second group of women, which we also didn’t fully have on our radar is breast cancer recovery women. You were mentioning before the relationship between hormones and sandpaper vaginas if we can call it that. Women who are so thankful for getting hormonal therapy that is changing their lives and saving them are also blocking estrogen. These women are experiencing menopausal symptoms in a radical way.
They have it very suddenly. I want to jump in here because we have identified the young woman who is having difficulty consummating her marriage. We’re having breast cancer survivors and the menopausal population. How are you marketing your device and also the informational piece of your website? How are you doing that?
How are you doing that on a shoestring budget? That’s the missing component.
That was question three.
A young woman doesn’t want to hear the problems of a postnatal woman. A postnatal woman doesn’t want to hear about menopause. A breast cancer recovery woman doesn’t want to hear about any of these. What we have done is that we do different marketing pieces and educational pieces for each of these different audiences. It’s the same thing. The conversational bot is also very helpful in this because when you enter 34, you’re going to get different questions than if you were to enter 45 or 55.
Similarly also in the feedback cycle, a woman who’s 24 thinks that things should happen in two days. If she reports to you back, “I don’t want to do this. It’s not helping me,” we can send her a message that’s related to her age and say, “We’re sorry to hear it. You’re having a hard time but in 6 to 9 weeks, you’re out of this,” whereas a menopausal woman needs to be educated differently, “Don’t have estrogen. This is a new daily routine.”
This is also part of our learning curve. In the beginning, we started selling via Google using AdWords. We have a list of queries that we keep for each different age group. We also tightly monitor what women are looking for, which is the positive side of Google. You can look at every geography and see per geography how many women a week are looking for vaginal infections or dryness. We work tightly with demand and keywords that are targeted at different groups. In the beginning, Google blocked us.
That was something I was going to ask about because that seems to be a limitation for any product having to do with the vagina.
We were able to find small loopholes or cracks in the system. For eight weeks, we were rebutting. Google would flag us as pornography. If a woman types in, “Painful sex,” it’s pornography. In the eighth week, we made it to a human being. We showed the Google representative two different tables. One is how many women are looking for medical terms. As you said so brilliantly before, who knows what vaginismus is? Who knows that vaginal dryness is called atrophic vaginitis?
We show them the numbers of women who were looking for common English words like painful sex, vaginal dryness, vaginal itching, and vaginal burning. We reneged on the blocking. There were certain keywords that they let go of and allowed us through. That’s how we discovered breast cancer recovery. They were our buying customers.
On images, it’s very peculiar. We went out for a photo shoot. Even though this looks highly phallic, the algorithm has no problem with this because it doesn’t know what it is. It doesn’t block images of the gel stick, but if you show skin anywhere in between the top of the breast with a bra and the underwear line on the panty line, that’s immediately blocked.
We’re steeped in this concept of how difficult it is. You come up with a great idea, you might even get it funded, and then you still have these barriers. I want to switch gears a little bit to talk about where you are as a business. Where are you available for sale? What are some of your plans? You talked about a new product. For the people who are interested from an investing standpoint and from a personal use standpoint, physicians, and a lot of our readers who are looking for new ideas, where are you? Where can someone buy Aquafit? Through what channels? What countries?
First of all, we have three products out to market. All of them have been regulated by the European CPNP. They’re cosmetic regulations. This was also a knowledgeable tactic. We’re available globally. We started in Israel to learn how to market. We opened globally. First of all, every woman who has a problem should reach out and try to do self-care, not instead a doctor.
A lot of self-care will bring us far. Unless it’s something chronic, we’re seeing that women can solve their problems on their own before reaching out to a gynecologist. We’re seeing pelvic care therapists who are asking women to come to the clinic with an Aquafit first. Our position is we would love every woman who has an issue to try us. That’s the first thing.
Go to the digital. The conversational assessment is free. Also, go to our website. There’s a lot of explanatory information there. It’s Aquafit-Intimate.com. We work closely with gynecologists and pelvic care therapists who are the most proactive on all of these things, at least in Israel. We found that in the UK, it’s typically primary care gynecologist. We’re selling to New York City, Chicago, and California to women who find us. This is Varda’s genius. In the COVID era, she found a loophole in global shipping. We make it anywhere worldwide in 3 to 5 business days. That part is also covered.
Investment-wise, we are on a shoestring. We received two grants. One is from the Israel Innovation Authority which brought us to about $450,000. We did everything that we have on that, plus another $150,000 from The Case for Her, which is a phenomenal investor in women’s health from Sweden. They’re incredibly supportive and very proactive.
To expand globally, we need investment, but we would prefer that women buy or doctors refer. We have products out to market. We are surprised that we’re breaking even. It’s a good business. We believe it’s a good business, but to make money, you have to invest more money in the Goliath, which is Google. I want to say this to all of the young entrepreneurs trying to enter this space. It’s a difficult space, but it’s a viable space. For every $1 that we put into Google, we take back about $2 to $3.
This is an amazing number. We also have a 44% return rate. That’s incredible. That means more than buying shampoo or checking out a shampoo and always changing month by month. We have made it to a 44% return rate, which is amazing. Investment-wise, we are looking for a seed investment of $1.25 million. Without investment, we’re looking for women to take care of themselves and learn.
You talked about the return rate. How long does a device last?
Aquafit is a consumable. It lasts typically for fourteen days from opening. It has to be refrigerated as well. Coming back to the initial part of the conversation, it’s a hydrogel. It has material strength. You use it. We think we’re a behavioral change company. I use it in the shower. Varda uses it after the shower for three minutes. You wash it afterward in water, put it back in its case, and put it in the fridge. You can think about a cucumber. When your cucumber is fresh, it’s nice and tight. After 2 or 3 weeks, it starts to wilt. Part of this is also a marketing decision. Women like to feel progress. They don’t like the problem on their face. It’s interesting. We are saying it’s two weeks. Each woman gets a different plan.
You can customize your refill rate or repurchase rate.
That’s also interesting because, as a behavioral company, you will see different behaviors among different women. It’s very much like Pilates or going to sports. Sometimes you’re like, “I purchased a membership for a seaside pool. I lost money on this membership because I never went.” With Aquafit, we’re seeing young women complete three months, but first, I want to come back to the menopausal women, the estrogen-depleted women, or the different groups.
That is so interesting because we spoke with the leading HRT company in Israel. We made a mistake. Our SEO person put their product name upfront. It was trademarked. They called us up and told us, “Take that off.” We took it off. If you are taking hormones, which many of our users are also taking hormones, it takes about eight weeks to kick in. She reported that not only do women not know the role of estrogen in sexual wellness and also in contraception but that a lot of women in week number five give up. They have a lot of customer loss in week five.
What happens with Aquafit is that you can use it for two weeks in a month or every other day for a quarter. It’s a muscle. It’s improving you. You don’t lose it immediately. You don’t have to do it every day. I personally use Aquafit every other day because I’m addicted to the feeling. My vagina is happy. I’m addicted to the bio balance. We will see some women using it every quarter for a month and a quarter. We will see women using it systematically. We will see women using it for half a year and coming back another half a year. It’s very interesting.
The distance is less. The most distance that I saw is two months in menopause, but the nice thing about it is that it’s a muscle. It’s muscle memory. You don’t need to take hormones every day.
You bring up a good point because dryness during menopause is more of a chronic and progressive issue if it’s not addressed. I would like to ask what is coming down the pipeline if you’re free to share because your passion is contagious, infectious, and unbelievable. I’m guessing the wheels are turning with future thoughts.
It’s all investment-dependent. There’s the group that we discovered through Aquafit BIO, which is mainly lactic acid and approaches the vagina by not putting in antibiotics but by systematically balancing your pH for ten days, and then the body retriggers in. We suddenly started looking at the number of women who are looking for vaginal infections and STDs. Our next product is probably going to be in the STD range, not in antibiotics but how to naturally make sure that your vagina is on the good side of not getting infected by an STD. A lot of that has to do with pH. We have found plant-based seaweeds that also are anti-HPV and anti-BV. We’re looking into that space and the R&D.
On the digital side, we want to be a resource for anybody having anything to do with sexual health and behavior. It’s an open resource. We’re finding that some women are using us and having a discussion with their doctors because they download concerns. They can come to the doctor and say, “I monitored myself for three weeks. This is the frequency. This is what I’m experiencing.” We want women to start the conversation, not be passive about this. We’re also surprised at how hard it is to get a woman to do something for herself.
This is our biggest challenge. It’s three minutes. It’s last in your care. You do your hair and nails. You make sure that you have this and that. Your intimate wellness is such a key part of feeling amazing, whether you’re having sexual relations or not. They’re disconnected. It’s overly taboo for no reason. We’re optimistic and energetic about what we’re doing. If you asked us years ago if we would have known how hard it is, we couldn’t have imagined. I’m a privileged individual. I’ve never seen so many barriers from investors and doctors.Your intimate wellness is a key part in feeling amazing, whether you’re having sexual relations or not. This topic must not be overly tabooed for any reason. Click To Tweet
We never felt there was a bias. I’ve been in business all my life. I never thought people are discriminating against me for being a woman. All of a sudden, when I’m 60, I feel there was a bias. I don’t understand where it comes from.
It’s also the women themselves.
That could be an entire episode on its own. We want to thank you so much for sharing your journey. It’s incredible to hear about your passion. It’s infectious and contagious. We look forward to sharing the episode. Thank you for joining us.
Thank you as well. We know we have been at this for a long time from our respective points of view. It is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart. We’re thrilled to have people like you so focused on making things better.
What the two of you are doing is so important on the educational side and the conversational side. We can’t be more thankful for this opportunity. Have a wonderful 2023.
About Rebecca Sternberg
BA Social Studies, Harvard University, MArch Rice University, 25+ years experience in innovation, design thinking, usability, media, architecture and marketing. Educator and senior lecturer in strategic design for impact.
About Varda Messer
BDes Graphic Design, Pratt, NYC +25 years experience in design, international manufacturing and sales operations.