We Don’t Hate Our Periods. We Hate our Products. But That’s Changing.
The Flex Company was born out of a personal problem: my vagina was out of commission for nearly 50% of my life.
25% was spent on my period.
25% was spent nursing a yeast infection.
Like most people, I accepted an uncomfortable period as a fact of life.
It wasn’t until a nurse practitioner mentioned that my cotton tampons could be to blame that I even considered the menstrual products I was using to be both impractical and harmful.
As a tampon user you already know that they:
- Leak 100% of the time
- Don’t allow air to escape (making your cramps worse)
- Have to be changed frequently during the day and night
- Leave a wet string hanging between your legs all day
- Disrupt the pH of your vaginal canal helping causes yeast and bacterial infections — and worse — toxic shock syndrome, which unfortunately is still “a thing”
Oh, and tampons were invented by a man in the 1930’s to stop the bleeding from bullet hole wounds in WWII.
What other product is so personal, so deficient, yet so ubiquitous?
I realized that we don’t hate our periods. We don’t hate our bodies. We hate our products.
When I realized this, I was living in Silicon Valley surrounded by people solving challenging and worthwhile problems. So, why wasn’t anyone working on something that affects half the people in the world?
If men had to use tampons, we’d be on the Mach 9 of menstrual products.
Through extensive market research, product testing, and small focus groups, I learned that women were quite literally aching for a better product. Something they can wear all day. That didn’t enhance bacterial growth. That was conveniently disposable. And most importantly, was comfortable. Unbelievably comfortable. Like you’re-not-sure-if-it’s-even-in-because-you-can’t-feel-it comfortable.
This was the product design challenge we set out for ourselves.
What was also striking about this process was seeing how embarrassed women were to even talk about these issues and sometimes even afraid to demand something better.
This product journey suddenly wasn’t just about our product FLEX but also about addressing stigma head on through our content and our platform.
Because we believe in a world where every woman loves her body.
Introducing The FLEX Menstrual Disc
Softcup is a product that was developed by a female triathlete who, like me, was dissatisfied with the menstrual products on the market.
The FLEX product design is in many ways inspired by her original vision. With our acquisition of Softcup, The Flex Company is the new global leader in a new menstrual product category: the menstrual disc™.
What is a Menstrual Disc?
A menstrual disc is a disposable feminine hygiene product made of a medical-grade polymer blend. Medical grade polymers are used in all types of products that are approved for use inside the human body, including surgical tools and stents that live inside the heart.
It’s shaped somewhat like a diaphragm with a flexible outer ring and a soft, collapsible center.
It’s worn inside the vaginal fornix (located around the cervix) to catch menstrual blood for up to 12 hours. When the user is finished wearing, the product is discarded. Most women use about 8 per cycle, compared to about 20 tampons per cycle.
Unlike a tampon or cup, a menstrual disc leaves the vaginal canal unobstructed, which helps alleviate cramps and makes the product undetectable to the wearer.
There’s generally one size of menstrual disc and is designed to fit most women, including mothers, but is not suitable for juniors.
What’s the Difference Between Softcup & FLEX?
- Material Design: We used the latest technology for FLEX to formulate a proprietary blend of medical-grade polymers that use the body’s heat to get softer once inserted; it molds to your body for leak-free protection and enhanced comfort and fit.
- Purchase Experience: FLEX is sold exclusively online through subscription or as a one-time purchase at flexfits.com. Subscribers never pay for shipping. Softcup is available for purchase in the U.S. in mass retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger, and Whole Foods.
- Customer Service: Because FLEX is sold online, we provide phone, chat, text or FaceTime support (really), we have a board certified OB/GYN on staff to help answer questions, and we offer free shipping to the U.S. and many European countries.
This new product, plus our superior customer experience, together deliver on our vision for The Flex Company to be the leader in innovation for feminine care. And menstrual discs are just the beginning.
If you’re interested in following our journey, you can subscribe to our Medium blog, The Fixx, where we write stories that amuse us.