My friend Rick didn’t know what a period was until he got to college. He had the general concept down pat, but for some reason his logistics were a bit skewed. He thought your period was like the rest of your bodily functions. You poop, you pee, you period. Like in a toilet. Like you sit on a toilet a few times a day, you bleed for a few minutes, and then you go about your life as usual. A tampon was there, he thought, if you couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time for the inevitable. Shock and awe didn’t even begin to cover my reaction when I heard that. I mean, he has an older sister!
Though Rick is wrong on most accounts, he was right about one thing: we girls do occasionally have accidents. If you’ve ever seen the movie Superbad, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In this iconic scene, poor poor Jonah Hill is the cause of a massive fight when he dances with another man’s fiancée and subsequently gets her period blood on his pants. Cue Home Alone scream here.
And while I don’t personally know anyone to have ever perioded on someone (that would be something awful), every girl has had their fair share of mishaps. And there is nothing worse. Whether your time of the month snuck up on you or you have a heavy flow and a wide set vagina, there is no worse feeling than walking around knowing that your underwear is ruined. Or worse yet, that it has gotten so far that you’re forced to pull a ’90s sweatshirt around the waist move. Sure, the line in No Strings Attached “It’s like a crime scene in my pants” is not 100% accurate 100% of the time, but it was still the funniest line in the entire movie, in my opinion, because it’s real. It’s a real problem. Think of the number of pairs of underwear you’ve had to completely scrap because no matter what Tide or Clorox or whatever stain remover you use says, there is a limit to their effectiveness, and you have reached it.
Well, ladies, those days are finally over! Introducing Dear Kate, a revolutionary new underwear line founded by Julie Sygiel, Class of ’09.
I had the distinct pleasure of talking to Julie about her product and how it can revolutionize the way we handle that time of the month forever, and look super cute doing it!
Like most young entrepreneurs, Julie happened upon her product kind of on accident and just rolled with it. In her junior spring here at Brown and studying chemical engineering, mind you, Julie enrolled in ENGN 1930X: Entrepreneurship and New Ventures with Professor Danny Warshay. Their assignment: to find a solution to an everyday problem. In her group of three girls and one guy, who Julie described as a “great sport,” the team set out to solve the problem of period spills.
Professor Warshay, like I’m sure many of the men who have continued to read this lady-centric post are wont to do, questioned the legitimacy of the issue, and required proof that this was a problem that needed solving. So Julie and her team conducted surveys, posting them in bathrooms all across campus, saying “Hey ladies, does your period suck? Take this survey and help improve the experience.” The survey asked how often they experienced spills, would a product that was leak resistant appeal to them, and even asked about the cost and styles of their favorite pairs of underwear.
“Can you make leak-resistant underwear that doesn’t feel like a rain slicker on your butt? Or a diaper? Does stain-releasing fabric even exist?” Julie described the feedback on her surveys. “We wanted to make the best underwear humanly possible so when you put it on, you feel like a million bucks.” So this is exactly what she and her team set out to do.
And three years later, Dear Kate was born. Julie worked hand-in-hand with major fabric companies to develop the three layer fabric, sending out hundreds of prototypes to women to get the formula exactly right. The underwear is made of microfiber fabric and allows air to pass through, making it incredibly breathable and comfortable, performing in tests just as well as cotton underwear. The inner two layers are super absorbent, as well as stain resistant, and “wick” the liquid away, while the outer layer is leak resistant and waterproof, preventing the liquid from escaping onto the rest of your clothes. Here’s a great video to show you just how the fabric works:
There are two types of linings you can choose from: mini or full. The mini is located in the “high risk area” right in the crotch and could be used if you’re not sure when your period is coming or when you’re at the tail end of your cycle when bleeding is minimal. The full covers all the way from the front to the back waistband and is great on heavy flow days if you’re planning to be very active, like taking a yoga or pilates class. It’s also great for when you’re sleeping and don’t want to worry about ruining your sheets. So no matter where you are or what you’re doing, Kate’s got you covered!
You’re probably thinking this couldn’t get any better, but it does! Not only do you save money on panty liners for your heaviest days and time spent scrubbing at your old underwear month after month, but you no longer have to wear your nastiest, back-of-the-drawer pair of granny panties! Each pair of Dear Kate underwear is incredibly cute! The undies come in five different flavors: bikini, hipster, cheeky, high-rise, and thong. They have a basics collection for everyday wear and a fancies collection for special occasions. I, personally, am in love with the Ms. Moxie Body Suit. Oh yes, a body suit. Who would have thought you could feel so sexy on your period?
“We have always said that fashion and function are really important to go together. First and foremost we’re there to support you on a functional level, but we realize that when you’re crying and want to hide and not get out of bed in the morning because you have your period, it’s not going to help if you have to put on something that you’re not excited to wear,” Julie told me. “It’s the first thing you put on in the morning, so we want it to brighten your day. Even if no one else sees it, you know what you’re wearing.” So even though your period may suck, make it suck a little less by not only improving your fashion sense, but also by protecting yourself from any of life’s little mishaps. With Kate by your side, you can feel confident, sexy, and care-free. It’s a win-win.
Head on down to Mignonette on Wickenden Street to check out all of the different designs if you’re so inclined–a try it before you buy it type of deal. But with the 60-day guarantee, free shipping, and the $10 coupon (shown above) that Julie designed specifically for her beloved alma mater, what’s not to lose? I, personally, am having a hard time deciding between the Friday Night Fabulous Bikini or the Ms. Moxie Hipster. What a hard decision! Or maybe I’ll just spring for the one of the sets to have a complete collection! Julie did say those were the most popular.
So ladies and… ladies, while we can’t guarantee that you’ll feel as completely amazing as these ladies about your period, if you’re looking to ease your worries about period spills, and want to wear something a bit more chic at the same time, check out Dear Kate. And if you’re looking for a new time-waster/study-break, check out all the pretty pictures on Dear Kate’s blog.
With a product this good, one that was started right here on College Hill, it’s hard to resist. With form and function coming together in perfect harmony, I realize I forgot to ask Julie perhaps the most important question in our conversation, did she get an A on her Entrepreneurship project?
Thanks for reading everyone, and I do hope you check out Julie’s product and take full advantage of the coupon below. I personally can’t wait to get my own Dear Kates in the mail. Congrats to Julie Sygiel ’09 on an innovative and successful product and talk to you all soon.