The stigma around menstrual health needs to go away: Laurel Lua, Co-founder of The Scarlet Company
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The stigma around menstrual health needs to go away: Laurel Lua, Co-founder of The Scarlet Company

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We spoke to Laurel Lua, the co-founder of The Scarlet Company to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey so far, views on menstrual health and tried answering some of your questions about Scarlet.

TVM: What inspired you to start The Scarlet Company?

Laurel: I used to experience severe menstrual discomforts every month. My boyfriend (now husband) would always listen to my complaints of pain and nausea and having to deal with my unpredictable PMS all the time.

It was my husband who said to me that if it is that bad, why haven’t you done more to deal with it. I told him that I have tried everything– from traditional Chinese herbs my mum used to boil for me monthly to different types of painkillers. After some discussion around this, I finally decided to look into it further.

After extensive surveys and exploration, I learnt that there wasn’t any consistent product or remedy in the market for better menstrual health. A lot of the remedies were reactive such as pain killers and nothing focused on targeting the root cause for long-term impact.

Eventually, after months of research, I found that Chasteberry and wild yam were the standout herbs that promised better menstrual health and overall wellness for women in the long run.

We then decided to partner and consult with professional herbalists, naturopath’s & homoeopath to develop a formula based on our research. We were able to blend two most amazing “herbs of the women” that have proven results in their track record of centuries. We wanted to offer something that offers more than relieving pain, so we complemented the tonic with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B complex.

Our mission is now to improve the lives of women through their menstrual health. We want to educate women on the importance and benefits menstrual health has on their physical & mental wellbeing.

Over the four years of R&D and consumer trials, our manufacturing was based outside of Singapore. The moment we said we were ready to officially launch, we brought all our manufacturing back home as we did not want to compromise with the quality of Scarlet.

TVM: Starting your own company is a big feat. Did you have any entrepreneurial experience when you first started? What were some of the main challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?

Laurel: None at all! I am still learning on the job and just like many other entrepreneurs, I think having a passion to make a difference is what drives me. I am currently pursuing an entrepreneurship course to learn and understand the basics better.

When we started, with tight budgets, I was very reluctant to spend on engaging a web designer. I watched youtube videos, used whatever free trials I could get, decided on a decent looking software and was exhausted with not being able to get it right– it was frustrating. With the help of my husband, I managed to get the initial site to a certain level, however, it wasn’t enough.

Laurel Lua co founder The Scarlet Company

Being a first-time mum, managing the house, not knowing much about how to launch a business, I tried my best to go on digital marketing courses, learn about entrepreneurship and spent hours trying to learn on how to build a website, marketing, financial management, and logistics.

Eventually, we decided to engage professionals for web design & marketing. This has been the best decision as now I can focus more on customers, understanding their needs and how we can better serve them; customer service is critical.

TVM: Two of the main ingredients of Scarlet are super herbs chasteberry and wild yam. What inspired this decision?

Laurel: That is a great question. We are extremely passionate about natural living and consuming natural products. Mother nature gives us everything we need, so understanding the power of nature & its benefits is where we spend a lot of our focus to bring premium, trusted and quality health products to better women’s lives.

Chasteberry naturally stimulates and normalizes the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body helping with the overall menstrual health. In a study involving over 178 women aged 18 years or older diagnosed with PMS, more than half the women taking Chasteberry experienced a substantial (>50%) decrease in overall symptoms. 

Wild yam (Dioscorea) is a plant that is indigenous to the Americas. Aztecs and Mayans used this herb as an effective remedy against menstrual and labour pains. Today, it is widely used by herbalists as an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory herb. It is also known to help with nausea and improve overall female wellness. 

Read my personal journey with Scarlet so far: This month, I am doing much better: Thank you, ‘Scarlet’!

TVM: Having tried Scarlet myself, I have felt the changes, and quite instantly. One big change for me in Month 1 has been the lack of random mood swings. However, we understand that the tonic might take its time to show results– how long should someone new trying Scarlet observe?

Laurel: I am very happy to hear that you are seeing improvements!

Scarlet is 100% natural and it takes time for the herbs to start showing results. Our bodies are very different. Our period may be in the same menstrual phase but our hormone levels are generally very different too.

Scarlet can take 3-6 months for someone who has mild to moderate PMS symptoms. For severe conditions like endometriosis or PCOS, we recommend an observation period between 3-9 months. However, there have been cases where clients have experienced significant relief in the very first month.

TVM: We asked our Instagram fam, to send over questions that they might want to ask about Scarlet. We have selected some of the most common and relevant ones. Could you help answer?

Manisha asked if it is safe to consume Scarlet for the long-haul and can she take it after pregnancy when her period resumes?

Laurel: We don’t recommend pregnant and nursing women to take Scarlet. We also don’t recommend women who take contraceptive pills to consume Scarlet. If unsure, please consult your doctor.

However, after pregnancy, when periods can be irregular, Scarlet could be a good nourishing natural tonic to help to regulate hormones.

Simran wants to know if she is on Scarlet during the luteal phase but her period arrives a couple of days earlier than expected, what does she do? Does she finish her 8 bottles or does she stop?

Laurel: Yes, we recommend finishing the 8 bottles in a box every cycle as it helps with overall menstrual wellness.

Emily wants to know if she can take Scarlet while she is trying to have a baby and is on some basic supplements like Folic Acid and Vitamin tablets.

Laurel: That is a great question! Scarlet’s all-natural tonic’s main herbs are chaste berry and wild yam- both known to help with fertility. Actually, we did some research on this topic and have an article on our site which may help you, Emily. Check it out here.

On a side note, it is also said that Wild Yam can help increase sex drive in both men and women 😉

However, if unsure, please consult your doctor.

TVM: How important is it to talk about menstrual health? How is Scarlet helping break the stigma around period talk?

Laurel: VERY! It is as important as having toilet paper in every toilet! It is as important as diversity!

Menstruation is mother nature. We didn’t ask for this body, but if we recognize and embrace it, we will learn through reading and being educated that there are so many benefits to it.

There’s no shame, ugliness or bad luck in talking about periods. Women are so powerful, we create life! It’s the silence and the things that people are unaware of that makes it strange, scary or a taboo. We have to make the change and start living!

Let us talk about our periods.

TVM: We have readers from India, Singapore and around the region. Some countries in Asia still consider menstruation to be a stigma. What would you say to our young female readers who might be scared or even ashamed to discuss/share their period health issues?

Laurel: No one’s going to live your life for you. This is your life, you have to live it. A female American racer named Danica Patrick said this and I love every part of it. I mean her job is in a male-dominated environment and she’s done so well.

“Take those chances and you can achieve greatness, whereas if you go conservative, you’ll never know. I truly believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even if you fail, learning and moving on is sometimes the best thing.”

Priced at S$69.90 per box (box of 8 bottles), ‘Scarlet’ subscription is now available for online purchase with free shipping in Singapore.

The process is simple: log on to their website, mention your next period date and complete your subscription. A box of 8 Scarlet tonics will be delivered to your doorstep ten days before your period is due each month.

About Post Author

Surabhi Pandey

A journalist by training, Surabhi is a writer and content consultant currently based in Singapore. She has over seven years of experience in journalistic and business writing, qualitative research, proofreading, copyediting and SEO. Working in different capacities as a freelancer, she produces both print and digital content and leads campaigns for a wide range of brands and organisations – covering topics ranging from technology to education and travel to lifestyle with a keen focus on the APAC region.
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