London Inc. November 2020 - 22

Upfront TechAlliance

A PERIOD OF INNOVATION

With the founding of Marlow, a group of young entrepreneurs take aim at a long
overdue disruption in feminine care
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT MENSTRUATION just don't
flow the same way other health-related topics do. That's why
Marlow (www.wearemarlow.com), a new medical device
startup out of London, is on a mission to demystify and destigmatize periods with an innovative new menstrual product.
Led by a founding team of emerging entrepreneurs awake to
society's sensitivities about the topic, Marlow aims to deliver
customer-focused products and inclusive education targeted
towards a wide demographic of menstruators.
" We were all unsatisfied with our experiences in the
menstrual products space, " says co-founder and CEO, Simone
Godbout. " Marlow will transform the way people experience
and talk about periods, starting with developing and launching
the first-ever lubricated tampon. "

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The tampon itself is an innovation in the industry, focused
on creating an easier experience, alleviating discomfort and
addressing pain out in the open. Godbout sees this venture
as an opportunity for a modern brand to step into a space
shrouded in overtly feminine packaging and products that
too-often create confusion and perpetuate shame for users
that are underserved.
" When we first started researching tampons, as consumers
we didn't even realize they were classified as medical devices, "
notes Kiara Botha, co-founder and creative lead. Research
conducted with friends and fellow students alerted them to
the complacency that accompanied these discussions, hence
22 | londonincmagazine.ca | NOVEMBER 2020

the surprise at discovering that tampons are considered
Class II medical devices, regulated under similar standards
as contact lenses and surgical gloves.
The founders say that with this in mind, their venture's
purpose, originally born out of a capstone course project as
Ivey Business School students, evolves beyond tampons alone.
" It comes down to health. There are ripple effects from not
normalizing something that over 50 per cent of our population
experiences, " says Godbout.
The founders say menstruation is a regular concern for a
huge portion of the population, with little real innovation to
serve them. Marlow's focus on continuously improving their
product and curating a responsive community is vital to the
impactful innovation they're aiming for.
" People who menstruate often drop out of sports because
they're being underserved, " continues Godbout. " Many lose
confidence on the days they're uncomfortable. Imagine the
number of people who even experience pain at work, yet don't
feel comfortable telling their colleagues. Some are even hesitant to discuss it with their doctors. "
Disruption in this space, however, requires a great deal
of passion to drive the mission forward. " From a consumer
perspective, you wonder, why don't you just change it? Why
aren't things moving faster? " says Botha. " But given the health
requirements and medical regulations that surround product
development, it's made us realize that you have to care enough
to innovate in this space. "
" The founding team at Marlow sits at a perfect intersection
of entrepreneurship and social impact, " says TechAlliance's
strategic advisor, Rachel Ettinger. " There's a big opportunity
for market disruption, as the big players are not yet focused on
product innovation. Marlow is bringing change to the market
with a more comfortable menstrual product that is targeted
to all folks who menstruate, not just women and to continue
to promote discussions around menstruation. "
Marlow recently concluded a crowdfunding campaign,
raising over $12,000, providing market validation by backers
who stand by the product and mission. Now, the team is in the
process of raising a pre-seed round, while finalizing contracts
with tampon and lubricant manufacturers. According
to Botha, the team aims to have the product, along with a
refreshed website, out in early 2021.
In the meantime, the partners continue to bolster their
online presence with educational blog content, media features
and developing an IGTV series.


http://www.wearemarlow.com http://www.londonincmagazine.ca

London Inc. November 2020

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