Introducing Amanda Calabrese and her tampon brand, Sequel, aiming for advancement.

Introducing Amanda Calabrese and her tampon brand, Sequel, aiming for advancement.

Revolutionizing Menstrual Products: The Birth of Sequel

Image source: Fortune

Calabrese and Meyer, two brilliant minds, teamed up to address a problem that they personally experienced as female athletes. Calabrese had spent a decade competing for the United States in lifesaving, often wearing a blue bathing suit, while Meyer played lacrosse at Stanford in a white uniform. Both women landed on menstrual products as a focal point of concern. Motivated by their shared frustrations, they pondered upon the idea of incorporating design and mechanical engineering to create a tampon that could efficiently prevent leaks.

When they presented their concept in class, little did they know that their destiny was about to be forever changed. A guest judge, who happened to be their first angel investor, recognized the potential of their innovative idea. And thus, their class project transformed into the birth of Sequel.

The “Aha Moment”

Through extensive consumer research, Calabrese and Meyer discovered a recurring phenomenon they referred to as “the red line effect.” As they delved deeper into the experiences of tampon users, they encountered a common complaint: a visible red line down the side of the tampon, indicating leakage, while the core of the tampon remained relatively untouched. It was a moment of revelation, a fluid-mechanics epiphany. The realization that tampons were not effectively reaching the core led them to the idea of developing a tampon that would absorb evenly throughout its entire length.

Sitting in a dorm room, in the midst of their engineering musings, the women contemplated how to overcome this “red line effect.” Their engineering expertise ignited a spark of inspiration: why not design a tampon with a spiral or helical shape? By doing so, they could create a longer flow path for the fluid, ensuring more even absorption. The potential to revolutionize menstrual products had become their mission.

Challenges on the Path to Success

Launching a startup is never a smooth journey, and Sequel faced its fair share of challenges. Three major hurdles stood in their way:

1. Regulatory Approval

Tampons are classified as Class 2 medical devices by the FDA. This meant that before Sequel could enter the market, they needed to obtain regulatory approval. Calabrese and Meyer recognized the importance of ensuring their product met all necessary standards, placing regulatory compliance as a top priority.

2. Manufacturing

Finding the ideal manufacturer, one aligned with Sequel’s vision and quality standards, proved to be another obstacle. It was crucial for the company to establish a long-term partnership with a manufacturer capable of meeting their production needs and maintaining consistent quality.

3. Entering a Crowded Market

Entering a space dominated by industry giants like Procter & Gamble, who held a significant market share, presented its own set of challenges. Procter & Gamble had been driving innovation in the menstrual product industry with advancements like LeakGuard protection, braid strings, and anti-slip grip applicators. As a small fish in a vast ocean, Sequel needed to effectively convey their story and differentiate themselves from the big players.

Unveiling the Passion Within

Beyond the world of menstruation and entrepreneurship, there is much more to Calabrese that meets the eye. A fun fact about her that not many may know is her extensive sports background. She competed for 10 years on the U.S. national team in the sport of lifesaving and is a six-time national champion in the coveted event of “beach flags.”

The ANBLE Founders Forum, a community of entrepreneurs carefully selected by ANBLE’s editorial team, invited Calabrese and Meyer to participate in the annual Brainstorm Tech conference held in Deer Valley, Utah. The duo’s inclusion in the forum was a testament to the potential impact of Sequel and their commitment to empowering women through innovative solutions.

Sequel’s innovative approach to tampons represents a paradigm shift in the menstrual product industry. Calabrese and Meyer’s passion for design, combined with their engineering expertise, has paved the way for a new era of menstrual care. With regulatory hurdles being overcome, manufacturing partnerships solidified, and a compelling narrative captivating potential customers, Sequel is poised to make its mark and revolutionize the way women experience their periods.