To gear up for our Summit21 Conference this year in Atlanta, 21Ninety has scored exclusive interviews with some of this year's participants.
Enter Co-Founders: Wendy Rose Berry (CEO) and Eugenia Marshall (COO) of conditionHER, a company that promotes only the best care for down there.
With their new intimate skincare line, they are also hoping to break down the associated taboos by sparking and elevating the conversation surrounding intimate care.
21N: Can you give us a little of your background? What inspired you to create conditionHER? What was the vision behind the name?
Wendy Rose Berry: Eugenia and I are both mothers and “employed entrepreneurs.” Eugenia spends her days as Director of Operations at a significant business management firm and I’m a Manager in TV publicity for a major entertainment company. We’ve always had entrepreneurial spirits and innovative ideas, most of which are still sitting in notebooks waiting to be activated, but the idea for conditionHER is one we just couldn’t let go.
Back in 2013, the idea started as a joke over glasses of rosé on a trip to Chicago with some of my besties. It was a classic girl’s night out, and after several drinks, the topic of bare vs. hair down, there was up for discussion. The question at the table… “Have you ever used your regular hair conditioner on your pubic hair to soften it?”
The truth is, a whole lot of us are doin’ it, we’re just not talking about it. For most, the hair conditioner is being used as a means to soften pubic hair or as a shaving cream for the bikini area. After the giggling, gasps, and guilty faces at the table, the dialogue that ensued is what inspired us to explore developing an intimate care brand. I can’t even tell you all of the crazy and ridiculous names we came up with, but a very good friend found out what we were working on, and immediately came up with the name conditionHER. It is the first of several products in the pipeline.
21N: How long have you been creating these menstrual and hygiene product products?
WRB: Intimate care is the product market we’re in, and the idea sparked back in July 2013. It took lots of research and more start-up money than we had at the time, but a chance encounter with a phenomenal female biochemist in 2016 was the game changer. Perseverance and dynamic partnerships have been vital for us, and we’re just getting started.
21N: What kind of work goes into the process of creating them? What ingredients are used?
WRB: The challenges you face when launching a product meant for such an intimate part of a person’s body can be daunting. We’re not gynecologists or biochemists; we are two creative business minds that had to figure out where to start in the development process. Initially, we sought out private label beauty companies that we thought could help us figure it out, but they were costly.
We also found another issue… everyone we spoke to at the private labels was men. As fate would have it in, I’d meet a female biochemist on vacation in 2016. With a Ph.D. in biochemistry and lots of experience formulating natural and safe products, she was the perfect missing piece to our formulation puzzle, and conditionHER became a reality! conditionHER is a daily-use natural moisturizing and conditioning cream for your external intimate skin and hair area. With delicacy in mind, it's specially formulated with safe and natural ingredients including Cotton Oil, Chamomile extracts, Shea butter, and Olive Oil, all selected for their broad range of benefits.
21N: Which ones were the most fun to create? Any customer favorites?
WRB: At this time, we only have an unscented version but don’t worry; we have some beautiful natural and safe scents on the way! We are currently testing various scents with men and women. The feedback is always exciting and insightful.
21N: What do you think makes your business and platform unique over others like it?
WRB: The intimate care space is an underserved yet emerging market here in the US. While we’re not the first to move in the market, we’ve found several competitive advantages that we feel make us unique. To start, there seems to be a lack of safe options in the intimate skincare space, so clinical testing was essential to our chemist and us. Just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe, nor does it mean that it’s been through any form of testing. It’s also always smart to use products that contain a similar pH as the area they’re being applied to.
Unlike other brands, we’re happy to share that conditionHER is formulated to be perfectly pH balanced for the external vagina area. As Black women, we take moisturizing in general very seriously (LOL)!
Watching brands hit the market with oil-based products for “down there” care ignited us because not only were they proving market viability and carving out a lane for us all to drive in, it made us super excited that conditionHER was a cream, as creams are a mix of oil and water and typically work better for deeply moisturizing skin. In addition to containing ingredients that help clear pores, the moisturizing qualities in conditionHER help keep your skin less prone to dryness and irritation. This can also help with exfoliation to prevent a buildup of dead skin on top of a follicle, which is what makes it more likely for hair to get trapped underneath the skin, increasing chances for ingrowns to appear.
21N: What do you hope to gain from Summit21 this year?
WRB: We hope to gain brand exposure for conditionHER as the flagship product from our developing line of intimate care products. More importantly, participating in Summit 21 will help us amplify discussions around feminine hygiene and the importance of developing an intimate care regimen. We’re determined to help break down the associated taboos by sparking and elevating the conversation.
21N: Is there anything you wish to teach and inform the Summit21 audience about?
WRB: We feel it’s essential for women to develop and maintain an intimate care regimen. Choose products that are not only natural but safe to use externally and internally. We always tell women to treat your intimate area like your face. Keep it clean, exfoliated, and moisturized.
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