From Taboo To Business, You Can Do It Too

It Is Okay For It To Be Taboo

Chia Chia Sun is the CEO and founder of Damiva that develops all-natural, over-the-counter women’s health and personal care products. Thanks to her guest blogger appearance at Women 2.0, we have a more in-depth look on how you too can start a business from something that no woman likes to talk about but need to.

As a female entrepreneur in menopausal health — and developing a natural, vaginal lubricant — I used to question myself every day. I would get frustrated because our PR agent would get great leads that wouldn’t materialize because what we focus on — vaginal dryness and sexual health after menopause — is not very sexy and downright awkward. It’s such a white space that when I went to set Facebook advertisements earlier this year, the word “menopause” isn’t even an interest (even though the male equivalent of menopause, which is andropause, is indeed listed.)

It turned out that it wasn’t all in my head. Menopausal health is indeed a huge opportunity. Our business model has been validated by our rapid sales launch across Canada and the United States within an 18 month period.

1. One Must Do Research

When I first researched the problem of vaginal dryness, I wasn’t aware so many women have the problem. I spoke to as many menopausal women as I could. Every woman would say something equivalent to, “Of course, didn’t you know?”

Articles I came across listed the number as low as 6 percent to around 35 percent of affected women. When I finally found a definitive, prospective epidemiological study that examined a cohort of over 1,000 women over a five year period, the true numbers were revealed: 85 percent of menopausal women suffer from vaginal dryness and 40 percent from painful intercourse.

I realized the earlier publications were flawed because of societal taboos (!) and cumulatively, thousands of women across many countries were under-reporting their symptoms.

2. Its Okay For It To Be Taboo

We took a calculated risk with our marketing, using phrases such as, “Drier than a British comedy,” or “Enough beating around the bush, let’s talk about your vagina.”

We agonized about it for months before launch. Would this be good or bad for business? We went back to our mission of empowered health and just decided that we had to call out the taboo, rather than suppressing it. It was the right decision and our campaign has sold many retail chains.

3. Embrace Education as a Marketing Tool

The most powerful marketing tool over the long-term is online education. While this is yet to be proven in my business, I believe that education of women 40+ is the most important marketing and social effort that our company can deploy.

To this end, we are developing a digital health platform focused on menopause. Women aren’t aware of the fact that perimenopause and the onset of menopausal symptoms typically begin at age 40. Many women think that their vaginal dryness is their own fault, not a normal aging process. We need both product solutions and education to advance the health of women as we age.

If you have a differentiated product, service or platform that no one is talking about, don’t worry. It’s not all in your head. It just needs a lot of high-quality, hard work and passion to get everyone else talking about it too.

Source: Chia Chia via Women 2.0