Ep. 524 w/ Lauren Wang CEO & Founder at The Flex Company

At Flex, we're creating period products that are healthier for people and our planet.

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Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show today. We have Lauren Wong. She's the CEO and founder of the flex company. Lauren, welcome to the show.

Speaker 5: Hey, thanks so much for having me. I'm stoked to be here.

Kevin Horek: Yeah, me as well. If you're, I'm really selfishly fascinated to learn more about your journey and what you are building at flex, because I'm curious. I probably pretty, I don't really understand, like I understand the space, but I, it's kind of outside of my comfort zone, so I'm excited to have teach me and the listeners some stuff today. Before we get into all that, let's get to know you better and start off with where you grew up.

Speaker 5: Yeah. I grew up in sugar hill, Georgia. It's about an hour outside of Atlanta.

Kevin Horek: Very cool. Okay. Walk us through, you went to university. What did you take and why?

Speaker 5: Well, I ended up getting my GED, which is another story altogether. I was an AP student. I got my GED. I went to community college for a couple of years. At the same time I got a full-time job at IBM when I was 19. I was working full-time at IBM and going to community college at night. After a couple of years, I transferred to Georgia state university in marketing. I decided to do because that's what I was doing at work ironically. When I moved to Georgia state university, I also got a job at Coca-Cola. I was working in marketing at Coca-Cola and going to school at night. For me it was work was, to pay my bills. I thought I was going to be a lawyer after school, but it turned out that marketing paid pretty well and I was really good at it.

Kevin Horek: Interesting. Okay. So walk us through your career. Maybe some highlights along the way. Cause you worked at some well-known companies, obviously IBM and Coca-Cola are in that category, but you've worked at some other big ones too.

Speaker 5: Yeah. I moved to San Francisco after I graduated college. I was , excited to go into tech and I got this job at Autodesk doing marketing for their manufacturing software products. I learned all about how products are made, which I thought was really cool coming from a CPG company to kind of get a behind the scenes look on actually like what manufacturing's like from there. I worked at a non-profit for . I went to a, for profit and tech that was similar to the nonprofit it's called Upwork. Their mission is to really democratize work by allowing people to work anywhere, which nowadays people working remotely and gig work and contract work is pretty common. We have to remember that over the last 10 years, there's really been a rise in that type of thinking. Upwork was at the forefront, very advanced in how they thought about connecting the world through work.

Kevin Horek: Nope, totally. Very cool. I want to spend majority of the time on the flex company and what you're doing there. How did you come up with the idea and what exactly is flex?

Speaker 5: I mean, if you can talk about a hard left turn in terms of my career, you couldn't take a harder left turn than to get into a, being a startup founder and be having my startup be focused on ministration and creating totally new innovative products to solve people's major period problems. I, I say truthfully that I really had no desire to becoming an entrepreneur. I was getting yeast infections for 15 years of my life following every period. If you talk about entrepreneurs, starting companies because they had solid problem or how to problem, this is a very real, there's not a more real personal and at the time for me, very embarrassing problem than having an infection every month.

Kevin Horek: And you can imagine.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And, and kind of feeling like I didn't have any options outside of pads and tampons. The marketer in me would just, I would spend every weekend studying the space, trying to understand like, well, how, when did we start using tampons? When did we, pads come with that he's of, instead of those belts about things that I think our moms used to use and our grandmas used to use. And, and I just had a never ending list of questions and a lot of curiosity about the space, but still no intention for really starting the business and through. I was working my full-time job. Like I said, on the weekends, doing this research started having groups of women over to talk about their periods and talk about their period problems and kind of unbeknownst to me, like built this community of people that we now call today, the uterus, it Illuminati the uterus and these people were so thirsty to talk about their periods.

Speaker 5: Like these are women in tech for the most part, women living in San Francisco, working in San Francisco and 20 14, 20 15, I, they started asking me to make a product for them. After working on this is kind of a side hustle for a couple years, decided to go after it mainly to help other people that were like me that had a lot of period problems.

Kevin Horek: Okay. No, that makes sense. How did you decide and what was the deciding factor for you to say, like, what we keep talking about this, I need to be the one to actually solve this problem.

Speaker 5: There were a lot of little signs that happen along the way that kind of added up if you've have you ever read the Alchemist?

Kevin Horek: No, I haven't.

Speaker 5: Okay. There's this fiction book called the Alchemist and it's almost like a parable, but this young guy is getting signs all along the way who are kind of messengers. Tell him what path that he should be on in his life. I read this book around that time and I think it opened up my eyes to obvious different messengers that were in my life. One for example, was this guy who asked me to be the CEO of his company, that he was starting. He didn't want to just be of it. And, I thought like I I'm, I like, I've never been a CEO before. I don't understand like how this person could ask me, but he really believed in me and he really wanted it. That gave me the confidence to do it for myself. I felt that the time the market was also right by just how, like I said, thirsty people were to talk about administration and talk about periods and talk about their period problems.

Speaker 5: I knew that there'd been no innovation in this space for over a hundred years and the actual, Yeah, while that we're still using the same period products that our grandmothers used and the FDA changed their regulations to say that they wanted to see more innovation in period care products. They loosened up, I mean, I say loosen, but there's still a very high bar for making medical devices that are FDA regulated. However they did somewhat loosen their requirements. It was kind of a combination of a lot of those things that gave me the confidence that a, the time is right. B that I was the correct person to do this.

Kevin Horek: Okay. Obviously not having a background in, making physical products, how did you start with the first kind of versions of these products and what exactly was the kind of prototyping and journey like the beginning.

Speaker 5: It's, going back, it's probably a comedy of errors, just like a lot of failing, really hard feeling quickly. The tricky thing about making a physical product, if it's never been made before is well for a medical device, for example, you can't 3d print something and ask somebody to put it in their body.

Kevin Horek: Totally well. Yeah. And like, yeah. Like you, yeah. Okay. Keep going. Sorry.

Speaker 5: Yeah. I, I was a person that was blind, like blindly feeling around in the dark and anything that I could feel I grabbed onto. I'd made a list of the things that I didn't know how to do. I didn't know anything about the FDA, so it's not really long time studying that and talking to other people that had made other types of medical devices that had nothing to do with period. That was one, I talked to other people that made lots of physical products, again, not products that go inside of the body, but then the closest I got to was someone that was designing sex toys. I'm like, okay, great. You've like, I found someone that makes something that actually goes inside of, and then Straters body. Perfect. You understand anatomy, like let's have a conversation. How much space do you have in there? Like what's the variability between different people, like, help point me in the right direction.

Speaker 5: I would actually cold call manufacturers to try to get a better understanding of what manufacturing process like, Hey, what manufacturers were in the, in north America, because I felt very strongly. I wanted to make the product in either the United States or Canada, but B which one of those were FDA registered. That I would know that they would be safe and could make medical devices, but see actually have the manufacturing processes or capabilities to be able to build custom tooling and not just do something off the shelf. Like I wasn't going to go and buy a tampon and put my name on it, white label it and call it a flex tampon. There's nothing wrong with that. That's not what I was trying to do. I was trying to come up with a totally different form factor. It was combination of those different things. Combination of looking at old innovation that people had tried launching and failed and looking at what actually was out there and markets all over the UX.

Speaker 5: Just, it was a messy, hairy inelegant process is what I would tell you.

Kevin Horek: Okay. But you figured it out. You eventually got there, but how did you decide and what products do you produce today? Because eventually you had to obviously try these out, right. There's gotta be a bunch of failures along the way. Like, hopefully you didn't have to go to the hospital, get it removed or something. Right. Cause that's part of the challenge with all this stuff. Is that fair to say,

Speaker 5: No, that's fair to say, no, we still, to this day, I've had no reported instances of TSS. That part is never been linked to TSS. It's not linked to infections. Part of that is there are very well known medical grade materials that are used in all different types of hospital environments and medical devices that are approved for use inside of the body. That was one of the main choices that I made in the beginning was whatever we make needs to be an inert material that doesn't promote the growth of bacteria, harmful bacteria or yeast, or disrupt the pH of the vagina. We make two, we make a number of different products. Like the two products that we're best known for are the menstrual disc. I coined that term in 2016 and then the menstrual cup, which were not the first people to create the menstrual cup.

Speaker 5: I think the best known brand and the U S and Canada is diva cup. Although now, as of two years ago, we saw more product than diva cup, which I'm very proud of because they're the Kleenex of.

Kevin Horek: No, totally. Yeah. Very cool. Well, congrats on that. That's awesome. Do you maybe want to cover quickly for people that don't know probably what the disc is and maybe what the cup is just so people have some reference and how is that? How are those similar and different to like a tampon I guess is probably the best comparison or like.

Speaker 5: Yeah,

Kevin Horek: Yeah. Whatever you think.

Speaker 5: Yeah. That's a good champ. That's a good analogy. Tampons are worn inside of the body pads or a period underwear or worn outside of the body. Menstrual discs and cups are worn inside of the body. They are shaped differently. The desk is shaped like a disc it's flat, it's circular. The cup is shaped like a bell. And our cup has a unique design. It has a very soft stem that adjusts in length. It fits more variety of different body types than any other cup brand because that's just, Horek cup was designed and it's patented. Anyway, both products, the cup and the desk can be worn inside of the body for up to 12 hours. With the desk, you can empty it during the day just by going to the bathroom. If you go to the bathroom to urinate, for example, the desk will self empty over the toilet while you're bearing down, it will not empty during the day when you're like running around.

Speaker 5: Or if you're like me and you go to the gym and you do squats, it's not going to empty, but you're ready for it's empty. So it's important to know. Otherwise we would have no customers, but you wear it for 12 hours. You can't feel it. It, people say that strongly reduces cramps because of where it sits inside of your body. It just collects blood for up to 12 hours. At the end of the day, you have a disposable version, you throw it away and you put in a clean one. I do it in the shower for the reusable version. You take it out, you Vince it again. You can do that in the shower if you want, when you're at home. And then you put it back in. So that's the disc. The thing that the disc probably went viral for in the first place is that you can have oral or penetrative intercourse while you're wearing it on your period.

Speaker 5: So it box odor. You can't feel it because it sits around your cervix, the cup. On the other hand, there only, it only comes in a reusable kind. Okay. Basically like our design is such that the pull tab on it, that adjustable stem that I talked about, it breaks the seal for you. People are often worried that their menstrual cup is going to get stuck. This is designed to overcome the challenge.

Kevin Horek: Okay. Interesting. Nope. That's, that's fascinating. Okay. I'm curious then how did you come up with the idea of the disc? Because it like nobody else did it before you, correct?

Speaker 5: Nope. There was a disc created in the 1990s that had, I think they were really too early to market and it required, they didn't call it a desk. They call it something totally different. Before I started the company, actually, when I was in that R and D process, I came across their product design. I didn't even see their actual product. I saw an old patent that they had and realized that the product was like still in the market. I contacted them and asked to work for them.

Kevin Horek: And.

Speaker 5: They said, no. I said, okay, well, I'm going to go make my own version of this as newer materials. They were okay, whatever, like, okay, random person with a Gmail account looks like your background is in tech. Like, I don't know what you're talking about. Anyway. I ended up buying that company a couple years later. So yeah, it's also their product. And I saw our product. The benefit was I got access to the 20 years of R and D that they put into their desk. Essentially fast forwarded our R and D process pretty significantly by being able to improve upon the materials.

Kevin Horek: Interesting. No, I, to be honest, I think that's actually really good advice for people like that or similar to you where they obviously don't come from a medical background and are looking to get into this space. Right.

Speaker 5: Totally. I think that for any product,

Kevin Horek: Yes.

Speaker 5: Any, yeah, you can always learn. I mean, unless it's tack and you're building some new kind of machine learning algorithm and that definitely needs to be your own unless it's open source, I guess. But yeah. It, any way that you can kind of work backwards from things that have already been out there. A product designer from apple was the one that taught me that, because that messy feeling around in the dark process that I was telling you about, wasn't getting me anywhere. It was literally getting me nowhere. I decided not to do the co. I was like, well, I'm not cut out for this. Like I I'm a marketer. I'm just going to shelve the idea. I met this product designer from apple and my girlfriend was with me and she begged me to tell him about my idea. He said, maybe just go and look at other things that have already been manufactured.

Speaker 5: I'm like, I have like the d****s that looked at diaphragms, it looked at everything. There's nothing, there's nothing, nothing out there. I had something in his conviction, gave me one more and more weekend to go and look and see if I had missed anything. That's when I came across that old patent in contact with the company.

Kevin Horek: And that changed everything. That's, that's awesome. That's fascinating. No, and really good advice. Okay. So I think you've covered. Okay. You get these products and created, but at what point are you, like, I really need to make this a business and do this thing. Full-time like, how did you make that switch? Or when did you make that switch?

Speaker 5: Well, I made this switch after we had made a prototype because, building a physical product is of a chicken or an egg problem because you need, manufacturing, tooling, unless I'm going in. Like, again, let's just say buying tampons, let's say, I want to make an organic tampon. There's like, let's say three to five manufacturers in the world that make them there's three that are willing to do business with a small person like me at the time I go in, I, I, I say, okay, I want this tampon. I'm going to put it in my box and you get this, like, this is what I'm going to pay you for that. I turn around and I mark it up and I sell it online to consumers. I say, here's my organic tampon that's out, like a lot of consumer products work. You can buy, I think most co most brands have a store brand of something, right?

Speaker 5: That's like the manufacturer's brand, there's no marketing behind it. They're competing on price for if you're making something totally new for the first time I needed manufacturing equipment to the tune of 1 million plus dollars for our first manufacturing line. And it was all custom. I had to go to investors and say, Hey, I want to make this new thing. They said, how do I know anyone's going to want to use this? You crazy person with a Gmail account, go prove to me that people are actually going to like, use this thing that you're inventing out of your brain. And, oh, by the way, I told them that there's another company that I tried doing this before and they had failed. Like, why should you more in long be any different? Yeah, I had to figure out a way to sell pre-orders and to demonstrate that this isn't the end people are really going to want.

Speaker 5: At the same time, I had to figure out from the manufacturer how much it was actually going to cost so that I could build a financial model to show, to investors to say, here's how I'm going to make money. Here's how I'm going to return your investment to you many times over. It was of a necessity. I think I had bootstrapped the company as long as I could until I almost bankrupted myself. I would say like take on capital when you actually absolutely have to take it on. In the life of the company, I've raised very little capital because I've tried to be like, self-sustainable, not having to rely on that next dollar to come in the business.

Kevin Horek: No, I actually think that's really good advice in itself. From what I remember is you had a crazy challenge actually raising money for this. And let's be brutally honest here. Most investors are usually male. It, it seems like we're getting more female VCs, but the ratio is still mostly males and obviously pitching female products to males as you'd probably tell me, and I would probably guess is extremely difficult. So, but you did it kind of a different way. Do you want to talk about how you kind of overcame that? Because I think that's really good advice for people,

Speaker 5: For sure. I mean, the landscape has changed a lot since 2015 when I was out there fundraising for the very first time. Thankfully not just in terms of the ratio of male to female investors, but just, there's more CPG investors. Generally. There are other period companies that have come after us and then there's like supplement companies and menopause companies and all different types of things focused on women's health. There actually are quite a few investors out there nowadays that you could talk to at the time I was talking to people that were like,

Kevin Horek: Yeah,

Speaker 5: We literally never invested in anything like that. It took thousands of notes, honestly, like it was so brutal, but I know this one insight from working in marketing and working in B2B marketing, B2B sales for so long, like you in a sales situation, you gotta get the other person nodding their head in the very beginning. If you walk in and you start talking about something uncomfortable, like periods that the other person can never relate to, they're going to naturally be resistant to hearing whatever else it is that you have to say. You have to find a way to kind of emotionally meet them. So, certainly you can start with something like, wow, it's a beautiful day outside nod. Wow. Your office is very cold. Like you don't want to talk about stuff like that. Like, okay, what is the emotional thread that I can pull if I'm talking to the person that's never mentored before?

Speaker 5: I would try kind of the angle of, oh, do you have a person in your life? We care, are you married to a woman? Yes. Or do you have a daughter? Maybe that's still wasn't personal enough or close enough for them. Because then I was opening the door to them saying, well, my wife doesn't want to try a product. I'd say, well, your wife wasn't really in my demographic. Right? Like she's so that didn't work either. I found a new tack where I realized that one of the main benefits of our first product, the disposable menstrual disc was that you could have sex on your period with no mess. I would ask these guys, do you enjoy having sex with women nod? Yes. Great. Have you ever been rejected because your partner was on their period? I get another nod. I'm like, okay, this is a product for that solves that problem.

Speaker 5: And then they're leaning it. Tell me more. I'm like, great. Now I have my foot in the door and then I can talk about, oh, by the way, there's been a lack of innovation for over a hundred years. Oh, by the way, I'm known as on any individual innovation in this space at all are, design is covered by intellectual property. Here's my go to market. It's a multi-billion dollar opportunity. You have them nodding all the way to the check.

Kevin Horek: Smart, interesting knots. No, that makes a lot of sense. No, I think that's actually really good advice, right. You have to come at sometimes pitching your company from a different angle than just kind of straight at the point. Like you can get to that eventually, but you need to come at it kind of from a different angle, which is I think really good advice.

Speaker 5: Yeah. It's just about finding commonality and having empathy for the person on the other side of the table, whether like they ended up writing you a check or not just, I think people where they're at is really important on the flip side though, there is a pitch that I was in. It was like a big demo day pitch. There's a reporter from tech crunch in the audience, which I did not know he was the lead editor at the time. He wrote a feature article on the homepage of tech crunch that was live for 48 hours. The main slot that was like, there's this new product from us free period sex. We went viral all over the world. Tech crunch said that was the internet.

Kevin Horek: That's amazing.

Speaker 5: Because tech crunch had never been about periods before either because no at the time had an editorial role that they weren't allowed to write about periods. It was like a really historic moment, but I ended up catching a lot of heat from feminists because people, yeah, because people were like, how could you shame women for their periods? I mean, that is the opposite of who I am or what my message is. Like, I don't want to shame anyone for their period nor do I want to say that period, there's anything wrong with period sex. You just need to understand like the context where my words are taken out of a pitch to pupil that needed to, I needed a way in, but my big takeaway is like, it's just, it's like testing a landing page. You just got to keep testing different layouts and different messaging and positioning.

Speaker 5: You find the thing that's actually converting for you. It's the same thing for pitching your company. Just you to take the no's and really learn from them.

Kevin Horek: No, that's actually really good advice. And I agree with you. Okay. But why is it so uncomfortable? Because the cure your feminist common a second ago is you got to tack for something, but you got to tech for something that you weren't doing at all. Like, if anything, you were trying to do the exact opposite. They were like, so how does, why is it so uncomfortable and why is it so kind of miss represented or like, why don't we talk about the realities of some of these things that we deal with in life. Maybe this is a good reference and it's one thing. You can tell me if it's stupid or not. It's like, I remember when my wife was like first trying to like breastfeeding it's either seems to be like the easiest thing in the world or the most like complicated, hard thing in the world.

Kevin Horek: Nobody ever talked about it until you actually have a kid and a baby and you're like trying it. And, but if people knew that it was complicated going in, I think people would be a lot less stressed out about just doing that. If that's the route they choose to go, like, is that a fair comparison that we just don't seem to talk about? These things that majority of people will go through, whether it's them or with somebody that they end up with, is that fair to say, or do what I'm getting at there?

Speaker 5: Yeah. I can understand what you're getting at. I do think that's a very interesting analogy that I hadn't heard of before. I'm a mom and I'm actually almost seven months pregnant right now. Again, you're talking about breastfeeding and my brain is starting to wonder. Yeah, it's a fair comparison. I think that part of why it's so uncomfortable for people in the us in particular is because people aren't learning about their body parts. I mean, more than 50% of the U S public school system does not have any type of sexual reproductive health education. I'm just talking about like bare bones here, the body parts, here's how they work. I'm not talking about gender or sexuality or anything else like that. I'm not talking about safe sex. I'm strictly talking about just the anatomy and how it all works.

Kevin Horek: Wow. That's wild to me. That makes absolutely no sense to me, but okay. That doesn't matter. We don't need to get political.

Speaker 5: Yeah. There's nothing political.

Kevin Horek: About, I guess.

Speaker 5: What's your body parts are being able to name them, understanding how they work. In my view, I don't, I I've never met anyone on any side of the spectrum thinks that's that's taboo, but in any case, so you have half the population that isn't learning about it at all at school. Parents might assume that their kids are learning by at school, or they may not have even learned about it at school themselves. How are they supposed to be able to educate their kids about it? Right. Kids are finding out about things on the internet, who knows what they're hearing or reading or watching. The other 50% of kids who are getting that education are being separated. Like boys and girls are put into different rooms. The girls are told very clearly not to show their power, their tampon, or to tell anyone what's going on.

Speaker 5: I kind of made to feel like embarrassed, right? Like it's like the secret thing. And then.

Kevin Horek: To be embarrassed, interesting,

Speaker 5: You're taught to be embarrassed and the boys, like what's more salacious for little boys and all the girls being in a room and not being able to know what they're talking about. Just kind of creates this like shroud of secrecy. I think about, we catch spiders in my house and my daughter is almost two and my husband has gone the other day. There's this giant spider in her toy box. I was like trying to get it out. I finally got it and I let it free. She's like running after it outside. I told my husband and he came home. Like I caught this huge spider and it's really interesting. She was not afraid of it. And he's like, well, of course not. Why would a two year old be afraid of a spider? To me it's like periods administration at the same thing. Like we're taught to be afraid of it.

Speaker 5: We're taught to be ashamed of it.

Kevin Horek: Yeah. That's, that's too bad. I guess, and I always kind of hate the, like I have a daughter, so like, I care about this stuff, but I think in this case it's super important and I'm pretty like open. My wife's pretty open about like any questions I've had in the past, like she'll answer and whatever. Right. For people that don't have that, like what do you tell the dads of the world or the males of the world that are actually genuinely just want to not come into this stuff clueless, because I will have to deal with this directly or indirectly at some point in my future. I don't want to just be like, oh, like just kind of lost. Right? Like I would like to help out. And so it's not embarrassing for her. Right. Cause I'm not going to get embarrassed them like 39, like what or whatever.

Kevin Horek: Right. But you know what I'm getting at.

Speaker 5: Yeah. Well, I appreciate the fact that you care and I appreciate that. You're thinking about it already. It's really important to know that girls are hitting puberty and menstruating earlier and earlier. And doctor,

Kevin Horek: Sorry, sorry to cut you off. Cause like my daughter seven, just for some context, but what age roughly have you been hearing?

Speaker 5: It depends on a lot of different factors, but sometimes some and some demographics as early as eight or nine.

Kevin Horek: Oh wow.

Speaker 5: Not extremely common, but it still happens. Every year they're showing that the age is getting younger and again, scientists do not understand why there's lots of theories and theories differ in different countries. Even there was a theory that it was because in the U S because of childhood obesity, but researchers in Denmark actually think it has something to do with the products and endocrine disruptors that are in different products that we use. There's like lots of differing opinions and lots of controversy on this topic, but either way people generally agree that it's getting younger and younger. Asking yourself the question when your children are, 5, 6, 7, 8. It doesn't even if they're older, it's not too late either, but I think if it's a boy or a girl and especially a girl, if they're going to go through these things, you want to be able to be a resource to ask them questions.

Speaker 5: I think one interesting tactic is you could learn things together. You can open up a conversation and have it be an invitation to, go to the library, get some books and sit down and like read and learn about the process together so that it feels like a safe, comfortable environment.

Kevin Horek: Right. Okay. I guess, and is this like, or what should I learn as her dad that would help me, maybe if she's uncomfortable, when the time comes for her,

Speaker 5: Something I know a lot of parents do is they have a variety of different products that are ready, Probably starting with externally worn products, probably not internally worn, although every child is different, but I say, let the child lead as far as it comes to when it comes to what they're comfortable with and when they're comfortable with it. Having a variety of different pads on hand, having some period underwear on hand, which is basically like underwear with extra lining that can be washed and reused, having pantyliners available those types of things. Having tampons, having a menstrual cup, having a menstrual desk there as a part of the educational toolkit. You can talk about, these being other options and probably not the option that they're going to start with, but just having them understand like what, here's the process that your body's going through every month, every 20 days, whatever your cycle may be, here's the different, proper names of your anatomy.

Speaker 5: Here's when you know that something is going wrong. Like if something is like too painful or constantly painful, then let's talk about that. We can go to the doctor and diagnose, diagnosing something is wrong. Like you're not dying if you're bleeding, but if you're bleeding too much, that's something that you probably want to tell me or tell your mom, so that we can make sure that you're healthy and safe endometriosis PCLs conditions like that go vastly underdiagnosed or undiagnosed for years and can have longterm mental and physical health consequences, especially for black women and black girls. It's important to just educate yourself on not only like the F like share our products, but the physical anatomy and what's in the realm of quote unquote normal and what types of things would cause some concerns.

Kevin Horek: Okay. No, that makes sense. So, and maybe this is kind of a weird question, but what if, and this, like, I like obviously with the divorce rate being so high and I'm like, I'm lucky that I've been with my wife for over a decade now, but if, what if there wasn't a fee female in my immediate kind of family and okay, so I pick up some of these products, but actually using some of these, like, is there a good resources people could go to or use because obviously if, when they're kind of in the teens, I don't want to be like physically showing her what to do, but is there advice or resources that I could like say here, go read about, I dunno, like how to use one of the disks or how to use the copper, how, like, what I'm getting at?

Speaker 5: Yeah. Any of the brands are going to have videos that walk it through for anyone step by step. We have a whole YouTube channel and everything is illustrated. We use also like plastic anatomically correct models that you can kind of that are clear that you can see inside of the bodies to really understand like where a cover a desk sits. That's used by adults. I think any of the tampon manufacturers or pad manufacturers have similar resources on their website. Again, when they're trying something for the very first time, pads are usually the way that people go or period underwear would be the way that people go. You can always demonstrate that with not one of her pairs of underwear, but like buy a new pair of underwear that she doesn't have to use, that you're not giving to her. This is how take the pad out of the wrapper and put the pad on.

Speaker 5: This is the way that faces and there's instructions that come in the box. If you ever forget, you can always look in there.

Kevin Horek: Got you. No, I think that's really good advice and it's cool that you guys actually provide some of that educational content as well. I'm curious, and I think your marketing commercials and are, are actually really well done. I know obviously you come from a background, but I think the point I'm trying to get at here is you and the team have done a very good job at just not marketing these at just stereotypical male and female, because a lot of people identify with different genders these days. Actually one of my cousins was born a female and is transitioned to a male. And, and I obviously I can't fully relate. I think the closest thing is I've read about it. The band against me, their singer came out a number of years ago and read a book or wrote a book about, her struggles. I actually found it really fascinating, but you and the team had done a really good job at kind of being gender neutral.

Kevin Horek: Why do you think that's so important?

Speaker 5: I'm queer myself.

Kevin Horek: And.

Speaker 5: A lot of people in my community or friend group are. When I first started the company and kind of wrote down our mission and my vision, I cared a lot about sparking conversations around periods and menstruation, because there's so much missing. I cared a lot about making products that solve real problems. Like not just like putting something in a pretty box and making a cute commercial. The spoken conversations through all the conversations that how does my community and network really felt that the packaging, the names, the name of the aisle, feminine hygiene, or just like everything about it was designed to kind of make, not make the user of those products feel comfortable, even if you identified as a woman, or if you're a dad going to pick up the part for their daughter and it's in this butterfly packaging, maybe that's okay for some 14 year olds.

Speaker 5: Maybe it's not okay for her. I personally never felt comfortable with it. We wanted to build the brand that would really spark conversations and not in a way that's like, okay, we want to be really progressive and woke, but in a way that's like, we just want to make a part of the works really well, that anyone's comfortable buying,

Kevin Horek: Right?

Speaker 5: Yeah. That people feel included and seen, and they can see of themselves in the product because for too long, the products are just very pink and purple and girly,

Kevin Horek: Right? No, I, I think that's, that makes a lot of sense. Sadly, we're coming to the end of the show, but how would we close with mentioning where people can get more information about yourself flex and any other links you want to mention?

Speaker 5: You can find us on Instagram with, at flex and you can find my personal Instagram linked in the bio. You can find us on Twitter at flex on Facebook at flax and on Tik TOK is our only unique handle, which is weird flex, but okay.

Kevin Horek: Very cool. Well, Lauren, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to be on the show. When I look forward to keeping in touch with you and have a good rest of your day.

Speaker 5: Thanks Kevin. Ahead of last. I really appreciate your questions and your daughter is very lucky to have you as a father. He sounded very empathetic and caring.

Kevin Horek: All right, well thank you. Okay, bye.

Intro / Outro: Thanks for listening. Please visit our website@buildingthefutureshow.com to join the free community, sign up for our newsletter or to sponsor the show. The music is done by electric mantra. You can check him out@electricmantra.com and keep building the future.

Ep. 524 w/ Lauren Wang CEO & Founder at The Flex Company
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