We’re back Mamas!
I’m very excited to share this special interview with all of you. Earlier this year I had the honor of attending the first annual the BlogHer Health Conference in New York City. This event was full of amazing women and brands who are making waves in the feminine health and wellness space. One of my favorite booths at the conference with the Vagisil booth, where they had several new products for attendees to try. What grabbed my attention was their “Never Shut Up” wall which encourages women to be vocal and shameless about feminine health. Plus, gave out some amazing gifts including a big, cozy purple Vagisil robe that I now use every day.
Not only was I introduce to some of their latest products, but I also got to meet Vagisil CEO, Keech Combe Shetty. We bonded over having toddlers – my son actually faced-timed me while we were chatting (thanks Nas!) and I learned a lot about her not only as a businesswoman but as a mom too. She was kind enough to answer all my questions about the products and what they were planning for the future. Truth? I didn’t realize she was the CEO of Vagisil until later in the day! Keech is very down to earth and really is an all-around cool person.
After learning more about what Vagisil was doing for women, I thought it was important to share their work with all of you. So I was more than ecstatic when the Vagisil team connected with me to bring you this interview covering her latest product, Preventeza.
Let’s get going 🙂
Nicky: Hi Keech! Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from and what is your role at Vagisil?
KCS: Hi! My name is Keech Combe Shetty and I am the SHEO of Vagisil. When I started at Combe, I was doing research with women all over the world regarding intimate health, and that’s when I experienced the original spark around being Shameless about Vaginal Health. From that moment on, it has been my personal mission to educate and generate honest conversations around vaginal and reproductive health. I envision a future when we’re all shameless about vaginal health.
Nicky: Vagisil has been helping women with vaginal care for decades, but lately they have been making a lot of noise on social media to encourage women to be shameless about their vaginal health. What brought about this change?
KCS: Vagisil has always been committed to providing solutions for women’s vaginal and intimate health needs, but lately, it has been aimed at increasing awareness of the fact that 1 in 2 women may need emergency contraception in their lifetime due to the risk of unintended pregnancies, yet less than 20 percent of women have actually used it. We recently launched Preventeza emergency contraception as part of our mission to provide education and access to emergency contraception to women who may need it so that they can be prepared and take control of a stressful moment.
Nicky: Vagisil is best known for creating products that address vaginal itching and irritation. What are some of the newer products you have out now and what vaginal issues do they help with?
KCS: One of our newer product lines includes Scentsitive Scents daily washes and wipes, which are used for gentle daily cleansing of the external intimate area. The Scentsitive Scents line is specially formulated with skin-friendly scents to provide all-day freshness for sensitive intimate skin. This line introduces White Jasmine and Peach Blossom scents without adding dyes or MIT preservatives because at Vagisil, we believe that women should not have to choose between scent and their sensitive intimate skin.
Additionally, we have recently introduced PreventezaTM (levonorgestrel tablet, 1.5mg), an emergency contraceptive (EC) for the prevention of pregnancy. I believe that reproductive options should be accessible, and Vagisil is demonstrating that through our #WeAre1in2 BoGoGo campaign that provides us the opportunity to educate women about the need for, and the importance of, access to emergency contraception. Birth control occasionally fails and pills can be missed, you are not alone and something this common shouldn’t send you in a panic to the drug store. Through the launch of our BoGoGo product campaign, women who purchase Preventeza on Vagisil.com will have the option to get a second one for free to either keep on hand or to give to another woman in their life.
Nicky: Tell us a little about Preventeza. What made you come up with this product and why is it needed?
KCS: The fact that 45 percent of pregnancies remain unintended or mistimed demonstrates the need for education so women can understand that there are safe and effective tools that serve as back-ups for regular birth control in case of unprotected sex or when birth control fails and when you have these moments you can be prepared, not panicked, with Preventeza. At Vagisil, we are committed to encouraging women to talk about health topics they are uncomfortable discussing, providing facts and resources to help educate, and thereby reducing the shame that still exists around vaginal and sexual health. Every woman should have a sexual health toolkit, including condoms, other contraception and Preventeza. Preventeza is available over the counter (OTC) in Rite Aid stores, Kroger and online, including Amazon and Preventeza.com.
Nicky: I have found that most women do not like to discuss emergency contraceptives. They often feel embarrassed or even ashamed. Why do you think that is? How can we as women show more support to women who are not looking to become pregnant?
KCS: Unfortunately, there is still a societal stigma against discussing topics related to vaginal or intimate health. However, it’s critical that we feel empowered to discuss these topics, given that these are discussions that all of us can relate to. There’s still so much more work that needs to be done educating the public and lifting the stigmas around something so common as EC. Women are encouraged to increase awareness of the fact that 1 in 2 women may need EC in their lifetime due to the risk of unintended pregnancies by using #WeAre1in2 on social media to showcase their solidarity.
Nicky: When we met in NYC, you mentioned to me that you are sensitive to many ingredients. How does this play a part in what goes into Vagisil products?
KCS: Vagisil has never compromised its ingredients when it comes to women’s intimate health. Scentsitive Scents is a testament to our commitment to provide women the scents that they want in intimate products that are hypoallergenic and clinically tested to be gentle and safe. Now women with sensitive intimate skin can have their scent and feel good too.
Nicky: Do you feel it is necessary for us to educate ALL genders (sons and daughters) about feminine health? How do educate your children about this topic?
KCS: Yes, 45 percent of pregnancies remain unplanned or mistimed, which affects women and men demonstrating the need for more education. Preventeza is an effective tool to addresses the significant gap in the understanding and awareness of the role emergency contraception can play in preventing pregnancy, so all women and men can be empowered to take control of a stressful moment with Preventeza.
I believe in talking to my children honestly about their genitals and sexual health. With that said, it’s important to make sure the dialogue is age appropriate and may include finding ways to gloss over parts without denying any important information.
Nicky: What’s next for the Vagisil brand and where can we find more info?
KCS: In our research, we see that almost 50 percent of women are still embarrassed to say the word “vagina”. Most women never talk to anyone about their vaginal health – not even a doctor. It’s my personal mission to keep pushing the conversation on women’s wellness. If anyone’s going to have this conversation, it’s gotta be the Vagisil brand. We continue to spur this conversation in terms of vaginal health and sexual well-being—it’s all connected.
However, I am hopeful that this conversation is starting, and this begins with #WeAre1in2. As there is more dialogue related to women’s sexual health and vaginal health, less women will feel ashamed to open up about these important topics. Visit preventeza.com and Vagisil.com for more information.