As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Karyn Eilber.
Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about yourself and about your company- GLISSANT?
I am a urologist with subspecialty training in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and over 20 years of experience treating women’s most intimate issues. For most of my 20 years in practice, women’s sexual health has been ignored, and I wanted not only to bring awareness to this topic but also contribute something tangible. Luckily I already knew my co-founder, Renee Garacochea, who not only had experience making clean, natural beauty products, but she was as much of a women’s advocate as me, so together, we created GLISSANT.
What is the story behind the GLISSANT sexual wellness product? How did you start it?
After many years of hearing my patients tell me that they avoided sexual activity, it became very clear that the main reason was a pain due to vaginal dryness. Until now, there were really no lubricants that were natural and without hormones or harsh chemicals. Capitalizing on my experience as a physician and surgeon caring for women with pelvic floor disorders, including sexual dysfunction, and Renee’s 25+ years of formulating beauty products using natural oils and extracts, GLISSANT lubricants were born.
Did you face any challenges at the start of your business?
One of the first challenges our business faced was the inability to advertise on social media. As a fledgling company, we were hoping to leverage social media advertising, but we were unable to promote our products because of their sexual nature. The most surprising part of this to me was that I was a physician with a much-needed product to help women with one of their most intimate needs, yet we were unable to advertise on social media. It is shocking and disappointing that the word “vagina” is censored on social media ads, although it’s a real medical term.
Can you share with us the funniest story that happened with you when you pitched your idea?
I had never seen so much enthusiasm and support as when my co-founder and I told our husbands that we wanted to start a lube company–their generosity in terms of financial support and field testing was unprecedented!
What’s the most exciting thing about working in a sexual wellness industry?
It’s really exciting to bring attention to and help normalize what has traditionally been considered taboo. I love helping women improve their sexual function and regain intimacy.
According to you, why should women maintain a personal hygiene regimen, and how are your products beneficial in this?
In general, regularly maintaining a personal hygiene regimen can prevent future problems, like brushing your teeth to prevent cavities. Using lubricants regularly decreases friction that prevents micro-tears in the vagina, which can predispose to infection and irritation. For women who avoid sexual activity because of pain due to dryness, regular use of our lubricants can make sex less painful, resulting in less avoidance of sexual activity. Our FDA-cleared, water-based lubricant can be used regularly as a moisturizer to help with ongoing vaginal dryness as well as with sexual activity. Hyaluronic acid and lactic acid moisturize and maintain normal vaginal pH, respectively, to keep the vagina healthy.
How have people responded to your product? Please share some testimonials.
Women, and especially their partners, have been grateful. We have many male partners who purchase our lubes because they know their partner has pain due to dryness (admittedly, their ulterior motive is to have sex, of course).
- “Life changing.”
- “They are the only products that I have found that really help! Thank you!” “Love the products. Both have great smells. GliThe glidector on CBD is GREAT. Husband, HAPPY!”
- “Amazing stuff.”
According to you, what is this world missing the most?
Gratitude. I truly believe in paying it forward. My parents and mentor are the types of people who show respect and gratitude to those who have helped them along. Like them, I try to encourage and promote students, colleagues, and staff around me in hopes that they will do the same for others.
What makes your brand different from other brands in the market?
Our brand was founded by women for women, and we hold ourselves to the highest standard. There are no other luxury lubricants on the market that are formulated with a woman’s intimate needs and vaginal health in mind.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with?
If you are in the sexual wellness space, by definition, you are interesting! I have met so many interesting people: the founder of Pleazme, has her own personal story as to how she became a sexual wellness advocate and her company fights human trafficking; you just need to check out the Skirt Club website to see why I think the founder is interesting, and the founder for VforVibes is a huge supporter of research and donated the vibrators for a study I am involved with looking at regular use of vibrators for women’s pelvic health–stay tuned for results in the future!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started,” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I’ve already been around the block a few times, so I am not particularly naive, but two things I wish someone told me:
- Society isn’t quite ready to hear about women’s sexual wellness. The fact that our company can’t advertise an FDA-cleared lubricant on social media reinforces the taboo around women’s sexuality. My co-founder and I would have approached advertising a different way initially had we known this.
- Behind every overnight success story is ten years of hard work. It’s easy to get discouraged if your new company doesn’t turn into a success overnight, but in reality, a lot of work went into most overnight success stories.
What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
We plan to continue educating women and their partners about “normal” sexual function through social media and blogs. We will also continue R & D for products that enhance women’s intimacy and ideally partner with
Lastly, what does success mean to you?
Success is leaving a legacy. I hope that GLISSANT continues for future decades and is known as a company that plays a major role in women’s sexual health and wellness.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.