De Lune, a Woman-Led Startup, is Taking On Midol

Over 90 percent of people with periods experience disruptive monthly symptoms — and it has consequences: estimates show that these period symptoms can result in a loss of nine days of productivity, per person, per year. Period pain is the leading cause of absenteeism in women under 30, and an article from the Journal of Pain Research reported that “at least one in four women experiences distressing menstrual pain characterized by a need for medication and absenteeism from study or social activities.” 

And the mainstream options for relief are lacking. Just ask Mimi Millard, the founder and CEO of De Lune. After taking a popular painkiller to relieve her own period symptoms a few years ago, she wound up in the hospital with an adverse reaction.

Frustrated with the limited number of relief options for such a population, she created a natural, research-backed formula, featuring only ingredients that have been studied at length through clinical research for safe and effective menstrual health. De Lune was born. Millard brought on fellow Cornell University graduate and registered dietitian Courtney Mayszak as her co-founder, and they’ve launched two all-natural products to date: one for period cramps, and one for PMS mood swings. 

“We want to shed a light on the period burden, and go beyond the status quo solutions that don’t work for everyone,” shared Millard. 

Bringing Periods Into the Conversation 

By “period burden,” Millard is referring to the fact that period symptoms aren’t often discussed in the workplace or even among family and friends. “Sufferers have to deal with these realities privately and without much empathy or support. It takes a real toll not only on one’s general health, but also on their self-esteem, finances, relationships, productivity, and quality of life. 

“We’ve encapsulated all these frustrations into what we’ve coined as “the period burden”: the burden of the symptoms (debilitating pain, discomfort, dstress), the burden of th the effects of the symptoms (loss of productivity and opportunity, financial hardship), and the burden of being dismissed (menstrual shame and silence),” she explained. 

They’re experimenting with fun ways to alleviate the societal part of this burden: you may have seen their viral video series, “Guys Try Period Cramps,” which has over 6.3 million views and counting. Made in good fun, it also has a serious intention: to help those who don’t experience periods understand that period pain is no joke.

This intention stands beside the De Lune mission of alleviating period pain. In fact, they’re hoping more people can look forward to their time of the month. 

“We know this is a radical statement, but we believe it to be thought-provoking, conversation-starting, and challenging to the status quo. We also believe it to be true and possible; we ran an ad that mentioned our vision earlier this year, and predictably, some people who saw it commented how crazy they thought it was, saying things like, ‘Never in a million years will I look forward to my period.’ 

“We then personally reached out to them and sent them our product, and in response they said, “I can’t wait for my period to come to try this!” Those people are now loyal De Lune customers,” commented Millard. 

The Importance of Natural Health

De Lune seeks to provide a drug-free option for those struggling with period symptoms and seeking natural relief. “Currently, the status quo treatment option for period pain and other common symptoms are over-the-counter painkillers, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which are used by an estimated 67% of menstruating women. Although these drugs are well-researched, they still demonstrate a 20% to 25% failure rate, have not advanced since the 1970s, and come with a host of well-documented side effects, some of which are potentially severe,” Millard explained.

“De Lune offers natural, no-nonsense solutions to period pain and PMS. We mindfully analyze the leading science for the most effective herbal and nutritional ingredients for period problems to provide safe and healthy options for all, so that drugs with side effects are not the only option.” 

As they continue to grow, investors are in full support of De Lune products, as they’ve partnered with lead investor and consumer packaged goods accelerator program Findaway Ventures, which has extensive operational expertise in the natural health and wellness space. De Lune has also secured partnerships with major retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Credo Beauty who are leading the way towards making natural menstrual health the norm.

Millard and Mayzak are leading the charge on more authentic period conversations and more innovative solutions — solutions that change lives through productivity and relief. 

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Jordan French is the Founder and Executive Editor of Grit Daily. The champion of live journalism, Grit Daily's team hails from ABC, CBS, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes, Fox, PopSugar, SF Chronicle, VentureBeat, Verge, Vice, and Vox. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur with one sale. Formerly an engineer and intellectual-property attorney, his third company, BeeHex, rose to fame for its "3D printed pizza for astronauts" and is now a military contractor. A prolific investor, he's invested in 40+ early stage startups through 2021.

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