PERIOD. BEGINNING OF STORY
In 2015, Kimmy Scotti, Production Management ’07, Jewelry Design ’04, was in the bathroom at her former employer, an investor and business incubator, when she realized her period had arrived—and “for the zillionth time,” she wasn’t prepared.
“I was living a pretty tech-centric life; I had an app for everything, a delivery service for everything,” she says. “But all the period-tracker apps looked like they were for little kids.” She suspected they were designed by men.
She called her younger sister, LisaMarie Lawrence, Interior Design ’09, and pitched her idea: a useful, sleekly designed period-tracker app and coordinated delivery service that sends a monthly box of tampons, pads, and liners for on-the-go millennials.
“Kimmy said, ‘Would you stop what you’re doing to help me build this company?’” Lawrence recalls. “I said, ‘100 percent.’ If it was my sister’s idea, I knew I could get behind it.”
They called it Monthly Gift. Scotti became CEO, Lawrence COO.
Between them, the sisters had all the necessary experience to launch a startup. Lawrence was a New York–based head of global sales and specifications (that is, product selections) for Kohler Co., the manufacturing company known for high-end kitchen and bath fixtures; before that, she traveled the country, designing dream renovations for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. And Scotti was an experienced entrepreneur and investor. While at FIT, she ran her own jewelry label that sold at Bloomingdale’s. She is a founding partner of 8VC, a San Francisco–based venture capital fund, leading investments in companies such as Blink Health, which provides access to low prescription prices; MakeSpace, a full-service storage company; and uBiome, which has developed key technology to sequence the human microbiome, the organisms inside our bodies that affect our health.
Fundraising for Monthly Gift initially presented a challenge. “Investors tend to be male, and they don’t really love spending their time hearing about period products,” Scotti says. “But focusing on the science of our product gets them excited.”
As it turns out, there is indeed quite a bit of science in the field of absorbent materials. Tampons are a class 2 medical device, regulated by the FDA. When Monthly Gift customers asked for an organic version, Scotti and Lawrence quickly discovered that conventional tampons already on the market were in fact safer and just as environmentally friendly. But they found a sustainable, nontoxic replacement for (or supplement to) tampons in Dear Kate, a washable, leak-resistant, stain-resistant underwear that Scotti and Lawrence felt was the best, most comfortable, and most stylish on the market. The absorbent, antibacterial polyester microfiber, originally developed as an HIV blood barrier, is made without plastic, so it’s light and breathable and doesn’t feel like wearing a diaper.
“You could blow out a candle through it,” Scotti says. The sisters purchased the company in late 2017 and have already delivered to customers in 70 countries.
“There’s such a stigma that goes along with period products,” Lawrence says. “But our customers cannot believe their period underwear are the sexiest ones they own.”