There has not been much innovation in the period industry in the last eighty+ years. Considering that more than half the planet is female, and women get a period once a month, for about forty years - one would think there would be more options for period care. Not so, until now.
Meet Cindy Belardo (left) and Drew Jarvis (right), the cofounders of Sunny Period. Cindy Belardo serves as CEO and directs sales, operations, and the company’s overall vision. Drew Jarvis, serves as CMO and leads product research and development, marketing strategies, and company partnerships.
Cindy received her BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Back in 2018, she won a "Project for Peace" grant that allowed her to led a team to India to introduce women to menstrual cups. On that trip, she learned about period poverty and the taboos many women associated with getting their periods. (She spoke about her experience and research at a TEDxOU.)
Her commitment to de-stigmatize period culture and provide accessible education to girls and women about body positivity and period care led her to start this company.
Drew learned about menstrual cups in preparation for a business idea pitch competition at her high school. By chance,
she connected to Cindy and joined her as cofounder. Drew will complete a BSB in Marketing and International Business in 2022 through the IU Kelley School of Business. She spent the summer of 2021 as a Brand Management Intern for Procter & Gamble.
Tell us about Sunny.
Sunny is a self care brand passionate about simplifying menstruator's monthly flow while reducing period pollution. We deliver the best period care, honest education, and global giveback. We created the Sunny Cup and Applicator, a reusable menstrual cup that inserts like a tampon. Sunny ends the fuss of inserting a menstrual cup while working to end period poverty through our global give back program.
What exactly is a menstrual cup and how do you use it?
Menstrual cups are a sustainable alternative to disposable period products. They are typically bell-shaped, made of medical-grade silicone and placed in the vaginal canal. They can be reused for over a year, worn for 12 hours at a time and save you over a hundred dollars a year.
There are dozens of options, and choosing the right one for you can be difficult. However, our cup, is the most innovative, user-friendly option.
There are a lot of period products in the market. Why update the menstrual cup?
Tampons and pads are unsustainable, costly, and often contain harmful chemicals. Traditional menstrual cups are intimidating and messy, causing a low adoption rate. Sunny Cup eliminates the intimidation caused by other cups. It saves users time and money, is sustainable, safer, and is derived from a socially and environmentally responsible brand. 88% of our beta testers would use the Sunny Cup over any others.
How did you go about designing and prototyping a new kind of applicator?
After speaking to hundreds of menstruators across the globe, we learned that 73% of tampon users are interested in making the switch to an eco-friendly period product alternative if it were easy to use, comfortable, and effective. That’s exactly what our design goals were in creating the Sunny Cup and Applicator. We partnered with our product engineering firm, Glassboard LLC, to design, develop, and iterate our product.
What are the pros and cons of switching from tampons to menstrual cups?
Thank you so much! We are looking forward to our current community’s engagement. We plan to target our Gen Z tampon user audience through direct channels via our website and social media accounts. but they’re unfamiliar and have a steep learning curve. Thus, over 60% of people still use tampons and pads.
Are you familiar with the term "period poverty"? One in four people around the globe cannot afford to purchase period supplies. Believe it or not, too many girls miss out on going to school and other activities for days each month. Some women have to miss work or Temple and/or avoid making food in some cultures. A product like this is much more affordable and provides girls and women with the freedom to life their lives without restriction.
3.9 billion women live on earth, so the total addressable market for this product is very large. Which demographics of women will you focus on first?
The Global Period Care industry is worth over $38 billion annually. The Menstrual Cup segment is growing 2x faster than tampons and pads combined at a 5.5% CAGR. After conducting consumer surveys, engagement tests, and reaching over 50,000 potential customers, we found that our primary target segment is Gen Z Tampon users, age 16-26, who are looking for an eco and user-friendly alternative.
The total US opportunity represents a reach of 55 million customers ($2.2BN in revenue opportunity). This demographic spends $4 billion annually on personal care items. They are most reachable on Instagram and TikTok, with 65% of this demo purchasing items from their mobile phones. E-commerce continues to grow over 44% year over year. They are primarily looking for brands with transparency, sustainability, and give back efforts.
Congrats on going viral on Tik Tok! How will you market your product to your target audience?
Thank you so much! We are looking forward to our current community’s engagement. We plan to target our GenZ tampon user audience through direct channels via our website and social media accounts.
We just launched pre-orders for the Sunny Cup + Applicator is a reusable menstrual cup that inserts like a tampon. The applicator is reusable and very easy to clean. Both the cup and applicator are made from biocompatible materials.
The set is only $30 and includes shipping. The average cost for just a menstrual cup ranges between $25-$40 without an applicator. We're saving women lots of money and providing the latest (and we think most comfortable) design on the market.
Female founders are grossly underfunded, yet you’ve had a lot of success raising pre-seed funding. Tell us about the wins and your challenges.
We have learned a lot during our fundraising process! To date, we have raised $220,000 through investments and grants. Expanding our network is so important. Being an eco and socially conscious brand in the CPG/FemTech/Medical device space has helped open us access more opportunities in a wider range of categories. We have also seen more crowdfunding and grants open up for minority and female-owned businesses. However, as a FemTech period care company we have certainly struggled to find early-stage investors in our space who understand periods, tampons, menstrual cups and thus, our product’s value.
Check out Cindy’s pitch at The Startup Ladies' program: Startup Investing 101!
What’s next for you?
If you or someone you know is interested to learn more about our investment opportunity, please reach out to email@example.com. If you are a self care brand interested in partnering or collaborating with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.