Justin Timberlake may take credit for bringing “Sexy Back”, but Julie Sygiel and Eunice Png get all the credit and kudos for bringing Sexy Period™ to the women’s lingerie market. This problem solving product – fashionable, leak resistant underwear for that time of the month – was dreamed up by these two Brown University students turned product developers/brand founders after they ended up in the same entrepreneurship class during their Junior year. With the help of a textile expert, an inspirational professor, and endless meetings at campus coffee shops, Sexy Period™ was brought to life in 2008 and officially launched in January 2011. Here is the story behind the now thriving business and brand.
Julie & Eunice built Sexy Period™ on the idea that lots of women wind up ruining their underwear each month, compliments of accidental menstrual leaks, and often resort to wearing the dreaded “granny panty” to get them through Aunt Flo’s visit. Chats with female friends confirmed the young women’s suspicions that they were not alone in their underwear issues. Their solution to this seemingly universal, female problem was functional and fashionable lingerie. Feeling like they were on to something, Julie & Eunice took their idea to one of their professors. While he advised that the best businesses arise from solutions to problems, he wasn’t convinced the problem of menstrual leaks even existed (insert WYSK sarcasmhere… shocking that a man didn’t know this!). He told the women to do some market research and to come back and convince him.
So, Julie and Eunice created an online survey and taped questionnaires in the stalls of campus restrooms. “Does your period suck?” they asked. Students responded – often vehemently. Their favorite comment: “Holy Shit. Please make these!” Their research results showed that 60% of Brown University women were ruining their underwear at least once a month. With that “The Underwear Girls” (as Julie and Eunice had become known around campus), wrote a business plan for Sexy Period™. They went on to win the 2008 Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Competition, were finalists in the 2009 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, and graduated from Brown in May 2009.
After two years of product development – 40 combinations of fabric tested and upwards of 200 prototype pairs of panties mailed out to testers – “The Underwear Girls” designed their patent-pending, Sexy Period™ undies made of a leak resistant and breathable combination of fabrics. They held an initial Preview Sale of 500 pairs on January 31, 2011 at Style Week Providence, which all sold out soon after.
Sexy Period™ fabric consists of 3 layers: 2 absorbent layers (closest to your body) and 1 leak resistant layer (furthest from your body). Put those fabrics together and ta-da! Sexy Period™ underwear. The makers say you will never have to worry about stains because the inner fabric layers are black and all underwear is machine washable. But, as they advise on their site, “We’re here to save the day, but our fabric isn’t designed to stop waterfalls! Always wear Sexy Period panties as period BACKUP with your normal sanitary pad/tampon/panty-liner routine.”
Want to give Sexy Period™ underwear a try? What we love is their no risk, “love-at-first-wear” approach to retailing their product. If your order the wrong size or don’t like the style the first time around, the Sexy Period™ Team is happy to send you a brand new pair for free. Since they are a new company and this is their first ever line of underwear, they also love hearing feedback and suggestions on how to improve the line.
We can always count on women to solve a problem, even when it’s a problem the rest of us may be too embarrassed to admit we have from time to time. Thanks Julie & Eunice. Brava!