Women, and especially women of color, have been traditionally excluded from medical product development and testing. So, it comes as no surprise that there aren't a lot of options available for period pain. People seeking alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals are left to fend for themselves or make do with a product that isn't necessarily right for their body. Semaine Health, a brand founded by sisters, is looking to fill that gap in the wellness space.
After years of suffering from excruciating period pain and endometriosis, twins Lauren and Catherine Lee took matters into their own hands, along with Lauren's husband Matt. "We couldn't find a natural option to help us through our painful periods and endometriosis. We were searching for something that didn't just mask the pain, but instead supported our bodies through the inflammation spike that naturally occurs the duration of our period," they explain. The pair embarked on a journey to find their own solution to replace traditional options—like Midol and ibuprofen—that failed to provide much-needed cramp relief.
Lauren’s husband, who had been working at the University of Washington Medical School as a research scientist, developed Semaine Health's formula. He spent hundreds of hours researching and testing a combination of plant ingredients proven to lower inflammation. Eventually, he found a combination of ingredients, including curcumin, milk thistle, and Boswellia, that helped with Lauren's pain. She started adding natural formulas to her morning smoothie. "After about 3 months of testing, I had a pain-free period, and I couldn’t believe it," says Lauren.
"I never thought I would ever experience a truly easy period and I never believed that plant-based ingredients could work so well," she adds. After six months of comfortable periods, Lauren shared the breakthrough formula with her sister. Catherine was so impressed that the three of them decided to launch Semaine Health.
The brand clearly fills a need in the wellness market. Only a year after launch, the company is debuting at Target stores nationwide. "Launching at Target has been a dream come true! When we started Semaine, we never imagined that we would be in one of our favorite retailers," Lauren adds.
Semaine Health's Plant-Based Menstrual Relief Pills ($11) are now available to shop at the multi-brand retailer, in-store and online, which makes all-natural pain relief accessible to a large customer base at an affordable price point. "We never wanted to be an exclusive and expensive wellness brand. We believe that great quality supplements should be available to everyone," Lauren explains.
This success comes as a bit of a surprise. "We never dreamed we would become entrepreneurs! Every day, we're driven to keep going on this start-up rollercoaster because of the positive feedback we hear from our customers and the connections we make with them," the twins explain. However, it's a testament to what happens when companies solve a problem for those who are usually overlooked. Here's to more naturally pain-free periods.