2 Years Ago, These 2 Women Started the Tampon Revolution

Victoria Hoff
PHOTO:

Lola

Exactly two years ago, I took a meeting with Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman out of sheer curiosity. The pair was making the initial media rounds for a new tampon startup called Lola, which appealed to me mainly as a subscription delivery service. (No more late-night emergency runs to the CVS feminine care aisle? Sold.)

But minutes into my chat with the pair of 20-something founders, it became quite clear that they were onto something far more consequential than sheer convenience. While looking into manufacturing their product, Friedman and Kier discovered that no one could definitively identify some of the chemicals in a variety of brand-name tampons—ultimately shedding light on how little the FDA regulates this highly intimate (and highly necessary) health product. Lola would be different, they decided—and two years since they launched their company on that M.O. of transparency, it's only one of the many ways Friedman and Kier have upended an industry in sore need of disruption.

"While we did recognize at the time that it was a game-changing idea to introduce a feminine care company for women, by women (especially in an industry where most large legacy brands are helmed by men), we didn't anticipate the scale of impact we'd have on destigmatizing the topic of menstruation and initiating a national conversation on the importance of knowing what's in your products," Friedman tells me now.

In fact, when Lola was still in its fledgling stages and the pair was working with focus groups, they were struck by how hesitant women were to even talk about their periods. "But," Kier recalls, "two things happened: First, once women started talking, they often didn't want to stop. Until recently, women have never been given an opportunity, or never thought they wanted an opportunity, to talk about their periods—but that's not the case. Second, women realized they had never stopped to question what their tampons were made of. Once they were conscious of that lack of transparency, they realized they deserved more and wanted to switch to all-natural products. They left that day wondering why it didn't already exist." So did Kier and Friedman—and the decision to create organic, 100% cotton tampons was born.

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