MAKING A STATEMENT: Julie Sygiel, CEO of Sexy Period, co-founded the company as an upshot from a Brown University entrepreneurship class.
PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL PERSSON
Kelly L. Anderson PBN Staff Writer
When Julie Sygiel and Eunice Png were undergraduates in 2008, they did what many Brown University students do in their entrepreneurship class. They developed a product to sell. It took four years, but the Sexy Period line of underwear is generating interest in Rhode Island and internationally.
Sexy Period is a line of underwear designed to be worn as a backup in combination with your regular sanitary routine and it’s guaranteed not to leak. These are not “period panties” that women usually refer to when they speak about underwear worn during menstruation. They are sexy and designed with three layers of thin, breathable, soft, stretchy, knit material.
When their entrepreneurship and ventures class at Brown ended, Sygiel and Png decided to keep going with their product. They consulted with a Brown textile expert and began research to design the best period-panty possible. The body is made out of 76 percent nylon and 24 percent Lycra and the lining is 100 percent micro polyester, Sygiel said.
In December 2008, Sygiel and Png won the $300 first-place prize in the Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Competition sponsored by the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.
Then there was a little bit of a lull, not much press and a lot of work. Sygiel sewed the prototypes herself. They gave 200 prototypes to family members, friends and female volunteers who confirmed the need for the undergarment, she said.
Eventually, Png left to practice her love of music.
Sygiel, the CEO, hired interns and moved into an office at 1 Davol Square in Providence. And although things were quiet in 2009 and 2010, 2011 put Sexy Period on the global map.
It started in January when Sexy Period was featured in the Accessory Showcase at Style Week Providence. Then the fledgling company received a $23,000 grant to develop additional product lines from the Innovation Providence Implementation Council, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, The Rhode Island Foundation and Providence Economic Development Partnership.