‘I started this, but I don’t get credit for it’ Crystal Etienne, leader in vintage apparel bootstrapping $50M+ startups, talks about the importance of self-validation .

Ever heard of Mary Kenner?

If not, don’t be offended. Many people will not know the name even if they hear it. But she revolutionized the way women deal with one of the most important aspects of her life: menstruation. Kenner invented her belt for sanitary napkins. This is a tool that women used a lot from the 1950s to her 70s to keep sanitary pads in place.

Unfortunately, because she was a black woman, she faced severe discrimination when purchasing inventions, struggled to obtain patents, and ultimately failed to receive proper credit for her genius ideas. I can no longer.

Nearly 60 years later, another black woman who revolutionized feminine care doesn’t get the recognition she deserves.

But before we delve into it, let’s start from the beginning.

“Entrepreneurs are born, not made.”

It should come as no surprise that this maxim stands firm for Crystal Etienne. Since childhood, Etienne has been a self-proclaimed go-getter. A native New Yorker in her own right, she knew from an early age that she was destined to be an entrepreneur, and her confidence in her has served her well.

After becoming frustrated by the lack of options for menstrual-friendly swimwear, Etienne didn’t just complain, she founded a company.

“Launched ruby love I was tired of not having period apparel in 2015,” she told ESSENCE. “One day I don’t know, but it really bothered me. Nothing happened. I couldn’t understand why every month was getting worse for myself and other women. Same, there’s quiet stress and anxiety all around me, and I vowed to fix it.

The specific problem she was trying to solve was the discomfort of wearing tight-fitting panties that accommodated sanitary napkins. This was a solution that no one seemed to have created before Etienne.

She tried to secure a funder for the idea, but when she didn’t get a reply to her email, she paid for the prototype and then the full line herself. How did she do that? Etienne quit his day job in operations and devoted his savings to developing products and marketing them to his teenage mother.

'I started this, but I don't get credit for it' Crystal Etienne, leader in vintage apparel bootstrapping $50M+ startups, talks about the importance of self-validation .

The line was a hit, reaching $1 million in sales within a few months.

A few years later, she built her brand into a $50+ million business and became a leader in the period apparel space. The only problem is that no one takes credit for her.

“When you think of menstrual underwear and menstrual swimwear, the surnames that come to mind are: Crystal Etienne“But I’m the one who created it, and I created menstrual sleepwear, menstrual bathing suits, things like that.”

Ruby Love’s biggest competitors, Thinx and Knix, are often in the spotlight in femcare conversations, appearing high in SEO results when you search for “menstrual underwear” on Google. But she’s not surprised by her lack of recognition.As a black woman in business, she said it was the norm on the course and has been for a very long time.

“I think we’re so used to it,” she shared. If you don’t give it to me, I’m not going to ask you, I’m not going to pay you, I’m not going to say that No. That’s the reality.And if they don’t recognize it, that’s okay.We see that happen to black women every day.It’s really sad when it comes to fashion and other products And I don’t think people really understand our strife over what we have in it and it’s been off for so long that’s the reality it can’t be done We can protest, we can do all sorts of things, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

Well, that’s not entirely true in Etienne’s case. A true doer at heart, she started her own venture capital firm Calletwhich aims to help other Black founders fund their early-stage businesses. As a woman of color, I have personally experienced the enormous inequalities faced by black women trying to secure venture capital: Giving back to my fellow women is my dream.My husband and I want to provide today’s leading Black entrepreneurs and visionaries with the funding, resources and guidance they need to win. thinking about.”

https://www.essence.com/news/money-career/crystal-etienne-ruby-love/ ‘I started this, but I don’t get credit for it’ Crystal Etienne, leader in vintage apparel bootstrapping $50M+ startups, talks about the importance of self-validation .

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