We may talk about our sex lives, our relationships and our periods pretty openly with our friends, but we’re a lot less likely to sit down at brunch and tell everyone about that time we sneezed during yoga class and peed a little. Why do women still feel embarrassed to talk about bladder leakage? Well, that’s exactly what inspired Jenna Mons Anderson to destigmatize the conversation surrounding light bladder leakage and find a realistic solution to the problem.
“As a mom who’s in my mid-30s, the last thing I want to do is wear pads. I don’t even wear pads on my period,” Anderson recently told SheKnows. “I walked down the aisles of the grocery store and saw that these were just different variations of the same product. They were the same products that have been around for more than 50 years. There’s been no true innovation in a category for a market that impacts so many women.”
The lack of products available to women who don’t like wearing urine-soaked pads is what inspired Anderson to create Finess — the first bladder leakage product that stops leaks before they happen. Finess is a small, soft, flexible device that is placed over the urethra and stays in place with an innovative hydrogel so you can go on about your day without worrying about leaks or a bulky pad.
Anderson, who won SHE Media’s The Pitch contest at the BlogHer Health Conference in Los Angeles earlier this year, and her team at Finess aren’t only interested in creating a fantastic product, they want to remove the stigma that prevents women from talking about these health issues freely. “Our number one goal is to remove the stigma associated with bladder leaks as a whole and remove the stigma associated with feminine health in general,” Anderson explained. “Women should be able to talk in real terms about their vagina, about their bladder, about things that they’re dealing with without having to worry about offending somebody or being embarrassed.”
Anderson’s tips for destigmatizing bladder leaks are simple. “I think a lot of it is just starting the conversation and getting more mainstream media to talk about it,” Anderson tells SheKnows. “One of the more discouraging things that we’ve encountered is publications who don’t want to talk about bladder leaks because it’s not sexy. It’s not something you put on the cover.”
But starting the conversation is only step one. “The second is to see more innovation coming into this space'” Anderson says. “Women are the number one consumer of health-related products, period. We buy the products for the household, we buy the products for ourselves, we buy the products for our children if we have children and for so long, the market has been driven by men and by male innovation.”
That second step is what inspired Anderson to turn her passion for normalizing the conversation about bladder leaks into a profit, but becoming a female entrepreneur proved to be a challenging battle. “So much of being a successful entrepreneur is raising money. Raising money is intimidating, it’s challenging. I would say the market is dominated by male investors and male investing groups. So, as a woman walking in and trying to raise funds, already feeling a bit overwhelmed by the experience, it’s challenging.”
But Anderson wants women to feel empowered — not intimidated — to start their own businesses and has some great advice for women who want to become entrepreneurs. “Women in general I think are hypercritical. I think oftentimes we second guess ourselves and our own ability to achieve. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is trusting your gut and giving yourself the benefit of the doubt that you can do it,” Anderson says. But she’s also quick to point out that no one can do it all alone and it’s important to have a safety net in place for when things go wrong. “If you’re going to have a good business, you will have really bad days too. Having a network of people that can either support you, coach you, help you navigate the downtime, is as important as having people that are there for you when things are going well.”
Now that Anderson has started to normalize the conversation and has created a revolutionary new product, she’s setting her goals even higher. “We are really trying to revolutionize the space for fem care, basically for everything below the waist. So we will be launching a brand update in the summertime, along with an additional four products that have been in development with the goal of really being that one-stop-shop for women below the waist,” Anderson tells SheKnows.
She wasn’t able to give us specific details about the new products that will be dropping this summer but she did add, “Whether it’s bladder leaks, hemorrhoids, premenopause or just a multitude of factors that are going on, I want a brand that talks to me. With the new product launch in the summer, we plan to be just that.”
Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to keep you updated about Anderson’s new products as soon as we can. Until then, go talk to your friends about your bladder.