SALT LAKE CITY -- What started as a class project for a group of women at BYU, has turned into a warehouse full of product, ready to revolutionize the way women treat menstrual cramps.
“This is where the magic happens!” Taimi, Abby and Zoia shouted simultaneously as they stood in the garage-door entryway of a warehouse in Salt Lake City.
Look around, you’ll see boxes stacked neatly and taped shut, each one filled with new product that is still wrapped in plastic, and piles of un-made boxes which read, ‘YOU GO GIRL.’ On the top flap.
From the onset, it looks like a typical warehouse – however, the items inside will probably spark a conversation you aren’t expecting.
“Every month you’ll go, ‘I can do this!’ when your hands are covered in chocolate and you’re crying,” Taimi Kennerley, said laughing as she clutched one of the small white boxes.
Take a closer look at the product and some clever marketing should help bring you up to speed.
“Every period is red, we just thought it was hilarious,” Taimi said as she pointed to a small red punctuation mark on the box.
Taimi, Abby and Zoia are known as The Girls… the period girls.
“There’s always the initial like, ‘We’re the period girls!’ and there’s always the *gasp*,” Taimi said.
Each white box is a special delivery, coming to you once a month, every month.
“So we put them in these mailers and then take them out, we’ve got the box, da da da!” Abby said as she pulled a completed and filled box out of a mailer covered in cartoon palm trees.
But, unlikely women’s other monthly visitor, these girls are trying to make you feel better.
“Our thing is, ‘You’re a crampion!’” Taimi said. “Like you’re a champion of cramps! We think we’re so funny,” she laughed.
Underneath the #crampion instruction booklet, a white nylon band about five inches wide, four packets of ‘hot stuff,’ and a colorful, floral sticker promoting the company.
“So, this is the band,” Abby said as she opened the first packet. “There are three pockets in the front and back, then we have this clasp and it’s similar to the clasp you would find on a bra and it has three levels so women can decide how tight they want it,” she said as she demonstrated how to properly use the band.
The band is made of a soft nylon material that provides compression; a silicon-type strip is secured along the top to prevent slipping. The band is meant to be secured at your natural waist, then the ‘hot stuff,’ thin heat pouches, can be added to the pockets to target pain -- Think of it like a hand warmer, but it is thinner (just 4mm thick), gets hotter and lasts longer (between 6-10 hours).
The item is so thin, it can be worn under clothing undetected.
“It feels like a warm hug for your uterus, that’s the best description ever,” Taimi said as the girls laughed.
After the ‘hot stuff’ loses its heat, they can be thrown away with the garbage. Subscribers will then receive a monthly package, replenishing their heat supply for about ten dollars.
The girls admit, even though it’s a natural human function, the topic of menstruation makes many people uneasy.
“It’s a really uncomfortable topic, I think throughout time we’ve been taught to be embarrassed of it,” Abby said. “In reality, it’s just a part of life.”
“Our overarching goal is to be able to change the way we talk and think about periods and get rid of that stigma and just allow people to be comfortable and allow women to keep doing all of the amazing things they can do even when they’re on their period,” Abby continued.
However, creating the business didn’t happen overnight. For these three women, this is the payout a year in the making.
“When we were putting together our boxes on Friday, I was like, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this, a year later putting these together,’ It’s been such a long time coming,” Zoia said.
It all started when the three met as strangers, paired together for a project in an entrepreneurship class at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
“We were asked to find a solution to a pain for a specific audience, and we were all passionate about women,” Abby said.
After conducting a series of interviews, they said they realized women wanted a solution to cramp pain.
“We just wanted to find out if heat worked to alleviate cramps because currently, the solution was heating pads you had to plug into a wall, or rice packs, but they’re all stationary type of heat where you can’t go anywhere with it,” Zoia said. “It was a very tedious process where we would like test something, see what the results were, analyze and then change for the next one to see what people said.”
Before they knew it, talking about ‘the time of the month,’ turned into a year-round job – it even broke down the uncomfortable walls surrounding menstruation.
“The more open we were, even men would be like, ‘My wife has this problem,’ or, ‘My girlfriend has this problem and we want to talk about it,’” Taimi said.
Following many failed prototypes, The Girls Band was born, providing discrete, pressure and heat for pain relief.
“The fact that we get to do something that feels important to people and helps people,” Taimi said. “That just makes us cry, I don’t know.”
Ultimately changing the way women view their periods, one little white box at a time.
“We’re the girls and we believe your life shouldn’t stop when your period starts! Period!” The girls said as they shouted their company motto together.
Since the project’s inception, The Girls have won three collegiate competitions, totaling almost 45-thousand dollars in prize money (about half of which has been used to bring the product to market).
The girls opened sales on their online platform this week and have a patent pending. They said they will graduate from BYU in April and keep their company going -- hopefully, one day giving back to women in need of feminine hygiene products in developing and third world countries.