How One Woman Defied Medical Tragedy

...and made sustainable menstrual products a convenient reality.

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I want to introduce you to a friend of mine who inspires me to meet adversity head-on with her creative and compassionate entrepreneurship. Arion Long is the founder and CEO of Femly, an innovative company that produces and delivers sustainable menstrual cups, pads, and panty liners.

Long started college at 15 years old—an accomplishment in itself, but she didn’t let her barrier-breaking end there. By 17, she had nurtured an interest in science, genetics, and molecular structure to the point that she was able to decode the genetic makeup of anthrax. Even when she faced a disheartening medical diagnosis, she didn’t let fear get the best of her. Instead, she decided to focus outward, developing a solution for the countless other women she knew shared the same diagnosis.

At 28, Long survived a traumatic stillbirth. As a result of this event, she was diagnosed with a cervical tumor.  Doctors linked the genesis of the tumor to exposure to additives present in typical menstrual products. In the wake of this diagnosis, she was inspired to become a different kind of CEO. As Femly’s Chief Estrogen Officer, Long leverages technology to decrease maternal/fetal outcomes and provide healthier alternatives to toxic personal care products that can be delivered to customers quickly and conveniently. Long elaborates, “I was motivated to start Femly when I couldn’t find a simple, one-stop solution to many of the issues that I faced,” says Long. “I want to empower people to take charge of their wellness. I’m excited about the ability to change lives!” When such empathy and problem-solving combine, you know you’re in the presence of strong leadership.

In addition, Long’s scientific know-how is immediately apparent when looking at the products Femly produces. The company’s signature product is the reusable Femly Cup, a BPA-and-dioxin-free menstrual cup that is constructed from 100% medical-grade silicone. Even their single-use products are good for both women’s bodies and the environment.  Unlike most menstruation products, which can take up to 120 years to biodegrade, Femly’s line of organic pads and liners is eco-friendly and chemical-free. In addition to being a good investment from environmental and biological perspectives, Femly products are convenient too; they can be delivered straight to the consumer (they’ve even worked with the postal service to insure no contact deliveries during COVID-19).

Long is enthusiastic about the All Rise Factory’s fundraising model and understands the benefits of being part of a cohort: “I’m excited because EnrichHER provides access to the capital, resources, and connections that I need to scale. Very few organizations back their words by actionable steps, and the EnrichHER network is unmatched for founders of color like myself!” She understands that, especially in our current uncertain environment, when one person rises against the tide of economic inequality, we all rise. To support her and the other founders of women-led and Black-owned companies that make up the All Rise Factory, create an account and donate here. If you’d like to attend the upcoming All Rise Factory Demo Day to hear presentations from all the cohort companies, you can register to attend here.

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