June 20, 2018
Two brave women build businesses that might make you blush. What is it like to launch a product that you can’t talk about in “polite company”? Meet Julia Rose, founder of VaGenie, and Melanie Cristol, founder of Lorals. They’ve developed products for women’s health and pleasure–one a high tech “wearable” game, and the other a special kind of apparel. We’ll let them explain the rest. We talk about what it’s like to raise money, find manufacturing partners, and market a “taboo” product. Further, Melanie has Tourette Syndrome; we explore how it’s had a positive impact on her path to founding and running her business. Julia and Melanie didn’t know each other before today’s conversation, so it’s fun to share notes on their common experiences. Neither one of them have an engineering or product background. We learn how an actor and a lawyer became manufacturers: the inspiration, the steps they followed, and the surprises they met along the way. It’s not always easy, but they are making it happen.
Vagenie website: vagenie.co
Lorals website: mylorals.com
Social: @mylorals, @melcristol
About Julia Rose
With a strong international perspective, a background in marketing and entertainment, and passion for women’s health issues, Julia Rose and her team at Kalikha Inc. are creating the VaGenie, a smart biofeedback pelvic floor muscle trainer and menstrual cycle tracking solution destined to break taboos around a vital health concern that effects 2 in 3 women worldwide: weakened pelvic floors. A combination device and app, the VaGenie helps women strengthen their pelvic floors by allowing them to play video games controlled by pelvic muscle exercises (Kegels).
In addition, armed with a mission to normalize conversations around women’s health, Julia uses tools such as her “VaGenie Martini Party” events as well as VaGenie’s “Free the V” community to bring awareness to a variety of critical women’s issues. Julia is the mother of 2 young boys and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She received her degree in Diplomatic History from the University of Pennsylvania.
About Melanie Cristol
Melanie Cristol, founder & CEO of Lorals, is a former consumer-products and healthcare attorney and a Columbia Law School graduate. She is a passionate advocate for sexual health, having worked with Lambda Legal, the Columbia Sexual Violence Response Team, and the National LGBT Task Force. Melanie’s expertise in this sector has earned her international attention and accolades, and she has been featured in various media outlets speaking about tech, manufacturing, and sexual health.
The views expressed on The Art of Manufacturing podcast are those of the guests, and not our sponsors or partners.