• 23 July 2018
Elvie has always been about female empowerment and improving overall wellbeing. With a celebrity following, the brand cultivates usable, innovative technology to solve, starting with the Kegel Trainer.
We spoke to co-founder Tania Boler to find out more about the Elvie journey into FemTech – here’s what she had to say.
What inspired you to start Elvie?
Like lots of women, becoming a mother was a real shock and I hadn’t realised how much change your body goes through. One in three women experience pelvic floor problems such as lower back pain, bladder control and organ prolapse.
My husband is French, and I discovered that it’s normal for French women to attend pelvic floor rehabilitation classes after birth to help their bodies re-strengthen. I was shocked to learn that nothing like this existed in other countries.
As I researched and talked to experts, I realised that there hasn’t been much innovation at all. Giving women real-time biofeedback is shown to be the most reliable way to encourage commitment and improve outcomes of pelvic floor muscle training, but this technology existed almost exclusively in hospitals.
This inspired us to develop the Elvie Kegel Trainer – a discreet, fun and simple way to do your pelvic floor exercises. The small pebble-shaped pod is inserted like a tampon and connects to an app on your phone. It offers a range of five-minute workouts to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor.
What drives you forward in the FemTech industry?
Technology has the potential to improve health outcomes on a global scale. Yet when it comes to women, this potential has been hugely overlooked. Women need better technology that fits around their busy lives and solves everyday challenges faced by women. We make up 49% of the population, so we can’t be ignored!
Our approach is to target the highly disruptive moments in a woman’s life and bring in innovative technology to support her. These moments are the most important in terms of the impact you can have because during change you’re most open to new technologies and behaviours.
Where do you see the industry heading?
It’s grown hugely since we first started working on Elvie’s Kegel Trainer back in 2013. Women deserve better technology, and are asking for it too. Now we have celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow recommending us, and we’ve been featured in glossy magazines such as Vogue and Marie Claire.
Our business joins other women’s health start-ups in forcing the investor community to take notice. It feels increasingly inevitable that there will be the first global women’s consumer tech brand emerging by the end of the decade. It needs to happen. It’s crazy that it hasn’t happened already, actually.
How can we improve discussions surrounding women’s health?
Talking about intimate health has been taboo in most societies for generations. When it comes to “women’s issues” we are brought up to ignore these things. But how can we make products that make women’s lives easier if no one talks about these issues? If we don’t talk about them, nothing will change and technological innovations won’t happen.
Our products encourage discussion around women’s health, shift people’s views and educate both women and men on important, often intimate, topics. We see this as a great opportunity to drive real change in the culture at large and celebrate women talking more openly about their bodies. Normalising these conversations empowers women to understand their bodies, giving them the freedom to live happier, healthier lives. I think the tide is changing, but it’s not a one-way conversation. It’s important that brands like ours keep encouraging women to be honest about their bodies and health concerns. One day it will be like discussing a broken leg.