It’s not your mother’s tampon.
Ever since the tampon was invented in 1931 to contain menstrual flow, its design has remained largely the same.
Until four years ago, Stanford classmates and Sequel co-founders Greta Meyer and Amanda Calabrese introduced their new spiral tampon – with diagonal grooves — as a class project.
After receiving $5 million in funding and FDA approval, Meyer and Calabrese are ready to market Sequel as an “enhanced product experience” for all menstruating people.
“The intention behind our design, which has a spiral dimple on the outside, is that these grooves are meant to lengthen the flow path and therefore increase flow velocity [the tampon] absorb more easily”, Meyer said NBC News on Friday.
The FDA’s declaring Sequel safe for consumers was a “big milestone for the company,” Meyer continued, but there’s still a long way to go.
The menstrual product industry has historically resisted interference. Although a handful of startups have focused on sustainable alternatives in recent years, Sequel is instead trying to differentiate itself through product design.
As a Calabrese told the Wall Street Journal“[Investors] Make sure there are players that have dominated this industry since we first launched this product… and that they are not being challenged at the actual product level.”
The Sequel co-founders hope to partner with boutique gyms in the coming months before selling spiral tampons online in late 2023.
In 2022, tampon maker Proctor & Gamble accounted for nearly 40% of domestic tampon sales.
To shake up the industry, the Sequel co-founders have focused on building a social media presence and visibility at festivals like South by Southwest, where they hosted a panel titled “Periods on TikTok?!”. Shatter stigmas with content.”