By Shalayne Pulia
Sep 25, 2018 @ 9:00 am
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“I actually spent my whole life dreaming of starting a condom company with my dad – very specific, I know,” Meika Hollender, founder of Sustain Natural, says in the video above. It might sound like a crude joke, but Hollender is serious. In 2014, she launched Sustain with her father, Jeffrey Hollender, the founder and former CEO of eco-friendly household products company Seventh Generation.

Together, the Hollenders have built an all-natural sexual wellness brand that’s grown from condoms to tampons, lube, and other sexual-health products. Meika, who authored the self-help book Get On Top: Of Your Pleasure, Sexuality & Wellness: A Vagina Revolution earlier this year, wants women to take control of their bodies and to eradicate the stigma around talking about sexual wellness.

“My belief is that by having open, honest conversations about sex and sexual health we will create a world in which women are taking control,” the badass woman says. “I hope that I leave this world in a place where our rights are not questioned.”

Check out the full video and the excerpts below for more info on why Hollender launched Sustain, the company’s work with Planned Parenthood, and her plans for the future.

Sex taboo: After launching Sustain with a signature line of all-natural condoms, Hollender got slut-shamed on the internet in the comments section of an article written about her fledgling company. Viewers focused on a freckle on Hollender’s lip, insinuating she had an STD instead of focusing on the products and company she had built. The moment actually encouraged Hollender to keep pushing to target the stigma around sexual health. “That was when I knew it was really my mission and my passion to fight every single day on behalf of women everywhere,” she says.

Sustain for Planned Parenthood: “We’re not selling lipstick,” Hollender says. “It’s not just building a business, it’s building a business in an extremely controversial space.” Which is why she chose to align her company with Planned Parenthood’s efforts from day one. “Sexual reproductive health is not a gender-specific, identity-specific, orientation-specific conversation. It is an everybody conversation,” Planned Parenthood President Laura McQuade, also featured in the video above, says.

Family support: Hollender says her parents have always been supportive and open about matters of sexual health. “When it came to talking about sex, it didn’t feel like we were scared what to tell them what was going on because we genuinely wanted their advice,” she says. That’s something she’s exceptionally grateful for and wants to encourage in the world today.  

The health movement: About five years ago, Hollender says she noticed an increase in natural food, cleaning products, and skincare. “But when it came to the products going inside one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies, our vaginas, women in particular were not thinking about what’s going into these products,” she says. Enter: Sustain Natural, Hollender’s chance to combine her passion for reducing the stigma around women’s sexual health with an all-natural products line catering to women’s needs in the bedroom and beyond.