After dealing with intimate skin issues that worsened with a hormonal condition, Therese Clark realized the market was lacking safe and effective solutions for the unique needs of vulvar skin. The products she did find looked sterile and were full of toxic ingredients. This struggle inspired her to create Lady Suite, products designed for intimate skin resilience, hydration, and elasticity. Especially made for women’s high traffic area (think sex, babies, grooming, hormone changes, etc.) each product is safe, effective, luxurious, and approachable.
Her mission? Empower women to change the way they care for and think about their intimate skin, replace self-consciousness with self-confidence, and undo the taboo of vaginal care.
In this interview, we explore what it's like to disrupt the women’s wellness scene with a product that tackles taboos, and the ongoing struggle for adequate vaginal education.
I’ve always been involved in pushing women’s health forward and if you ask any of my friends, they will basically tell you that the words vulva and vagina come up in most conversations we had (and continue to have) for over a decade now. But beyond creating elevated, non-toxic and essential products for the lady parts, I’m proud that Lady Suite is empowering positive lady parts education and conversation as part of a women’s wellness movement. It’s about time!
My own battle with ingrowns and vulva sensitivities which are compounded by a hypothyroid condition that causes my intimate skin to be dryer - and dryness is the root of intimate skin evil and makes everything worse.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back (in this case, the camel is my vulva, lol) was a few trips to get laser hair removal. Not only did it hurt (like hell), after the treatment, the nurse gave me no post-care or anything viable to soothe this delicate area in a way that was safe, effective and natural. I thought, “how come they give us post-care after a facial but nothing after this!” Then after diving deeper into the market and doing consumer research, I realized that beyond the lack of better intimate skincare, many women (including myself) have lady parts insecurities or have been shamed here in some way, which leads to separation and an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward lady parts. Plus, in school, we were basically taught vaginas are for sex and babies, and not something we should love and care for everyday.
I also realized that there was no compelling and positive voice in the industry and market around lady parts wellness, especially to a younger demographic. In short, lady parts have been treated like a 3rd class citizen compared to the rest of our body parts.
Love your lady parts like you love your… (face, body, hair, dog, baby, basically your favorite thing) They do so much for us and get so little in return. We want to change that!
The magic lies in essential fatty acids - key components of resilient skin or skin that is hydrated and elastic. This means our intimate skin can “bounce back” more easily regardless of age or activity (think sex, babies, spinning, tight jeans, etc). Essential Fatty Acids are safe for intimate skin and optimal for vulva health. The vulva protects the vagina and when the skin is healthier, immunity is increased and less irritation and painful situations (caused from vulva dryness) occur, especially as hormones decline or change through different stages of womanhood.
Not only do these botanical-based ingredients have soothing and healing properties that combat common struggles like ingrowns, they are also rejuvenating to the skin. On the surface, this looks like softer, smoother, brighter and more even toned skin with less bumps and redness. Beneath the surface, they help stimulate healthy cellular communication for increased collagen and elastin production, and help turn down underlying inflammation.
We plan to tackle them by walking the walk and by focusing on the education piece through our marketing, and through educating our retail partners on vulva and vaginal health. It’s one thing for retailers to offer these products (and I’m so happy so many are on board with elevated feminine care at the prestige level) but not many on the sales floor know why vulva health is important or how the skin down south is different, or how to even approach customers about it. It’s still new for many and we’re also navigating that conversation along with them.
While we’re starting with intimate skin care, we plan on broadening our range and conversation about women’s needs that have been underserved in the industry and in society. Our customers appreciate us being bolder and braver in our messaging while still incorporating positivity, empathy and care. I think building our community and listening to our existing customers will help us better navigate the plight in tackling the taboos.
I envision a shitload of women letting out their inner-khaleesi - flying around on dragons, ruling the world and taking care of the planet. LOL. In all seriousness, I want to see women in more leadership positions so there is a balanced society. I’m already seeing next generations stepping up about women’s rights, the environment, the next election etc. and women who demand better for their health and their bodies than my generation.
In my early 20s, I saw an intuitive healer. I’ll never forget what she said to me, “You’re going to create products that touch women on a cellular level, improving their health. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it is. Healthy women have healthy babies and when society is healthy, we feel better, we do better, and we vote better.” There was more to it than that, but that’s really what this is all about - feeling better.
Know your lady parts. If you don’t know them, you can’t take care of them. Also the more you know, the less intimidating it becomes.
Check in with how you and your lady parts feel on the daily. Using our oil everyday is now part of my self-care/skincare ritual. It’s not only something I now look forward to, I also make sure everything is cool, calm and protected. If and when something is off, you’ll figure it out faster because you’re more attuned.
Find someone you like and trust to talk about your intimate health with - a good health expert or gyno, mom, aunt, sister or BFF. I have an inner circle of women I can be honest with about these things. It really helps to compare information and feel like your tribe “gets” what you’re going through. If you have kids, teach them the wellness piece of taking care down there early - whether you have a boy or a girl. Don’t wait until their 20s or rely on google or sex ed in school.
Don’t use toxic personal care products down there and don’t “cleanse” your vagina (the inner canal) with an external cleanser. She’s self-cleaning and doesn’t need help. If you’re noticing signs of something being “off” in the vagina, definitely see your doctor so you can rule out an STD, infection, or something worse.
The vulva (external skin) on the other hand, can use a daily birdbath - some women opt for cleanser specifically made for intimate skin without harsh ingredients and proper pH levels, where others just rinse with warm water. This is a high-traffic area and we go to the bathroom daily so it makes sense to wash the outside area without stripping the skin of its natural bacteria.
Don’t just let anyone (or anything) down there. I had a friend whose aunt called her lady parts “bijou” which means jewel in French. I always loved this. Lady parts are so miraculous and should be treated like jewels. You wouldn’t just let anyone wear your diamonds, so choose your hook-ups, lovers, life partners (and even vibrators and other toys) carefully and make sure they show the jewels some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
There is not a one-size-shape-color vulva. Variety is good. If someone tells you any different, dump them from your life.
To me, Lady was another way to express the female anatomy aside from using the letter V or the words Vulva or Vagina. Also, the word “Lady” has always been associated with regal, royalty, magnificence, brilliance, etc. I like thinking of my vulva and vagina in these terms versus basic or mundane. No matter the social construct or how you identify, we should ALL be treating our bodies like royalty and celebrating our uniqueness, inside and out.
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