If you’ve been paying attention to the sexual wellness marketplace, you’ve likely heard of a product called RUNI.
We chatted with RUNI founder Felicia Hershenhorn about her journey to becoming a female founder in the beauty and wellness space.
Tell us a little about yourself?
At 29 years old, I am a former attorney and now second-time founder who has been beauty-obsessed for as long as I can remember! Three years ago I thought I was content as the youngest and only female head of corporate governance and legal at an industry-leading real estate development company in Toronto, but I needed more passion. Eventually I resigned to co-found Imarais Beauty and now I am launching RUNI! RUNI is actually my childhood nickname!
What inspired you to create RUNI?
Pleasure, Passion and Power! As women, we have all been to the ladies bathroom at a restaurant, in a bar or a club where you have that moment and you’re no longer two strangers. That bonding affirmation when you need to borrow a tampon, some lip-gloss, or need advice on why you just can’t seem to enjoy sex even though you love your partner.
I thrived in those situations. My instinct was always to be the ultimate hype-girl when it came to body, beauty or sex. With RUNI I am endeavoring to bring those meaningful displays of late-night bathroom kindness and communication to life. Communication is really the key.
While RUNI is an intimate wellness company focused on pleasure, we emphasize communication as an essential component of human sexuality, which is fundamental to our overall health, wellbeing and equality.
With our product and our platform, we want to embody the idea that there is nothing more powerful on this earth than a strong woman who has a great sense of self, who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it. At RUNI we start in the bedroom because the ability to communicate honestly not only with partners but with ourselves has an impact that reverberates well-beyond sex.
You left a secure job at a law firm to start your own company, what advice can you share about risk-taking?
The only way to be big is to think big. Believe in yourself because whether you accept it or not, you are the CEO of your own life. Being in charge and achieving something great involves some risk…why not make it count?
Where do you see the intimate wellness industry heading in the next couple of years?
To me the question is a little bigger than that, it involves the future of health and wellness as a whole. Intimate wellness is undeveloped, but growing as a category and we are seeing the traditional subsets of wellness beginning to diverge. Big retailers are expanding their offerings to include intimate wellness products showcasing how holistic the idea of wellness really is. The notion that people can improve their sex lives is as much a part of health and wellness as diet, exercise and skin care, though definitely much more enjoyable.
What makes RUNI different from other sexual wellness companies?
RUNI is all about building a community. We are not just pushing a product to be used during sex. We are having conversations based on accurate and relatable sex education missing from almost all American classrooms. We are also not telling people what sexy is, or what pleasure is.
Instead we ask people to confront whether their pleasure matters because we get it, life is busy. Between work, relationships and daily distractions, it feels like we spend our entire day giving our attention to someone or something else, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. And most people forget that pleasure found and felt often has the power to be transformative. So at RUNI we shout it from the rooftops! We aim to make noise, to normalize the conversations about pleasure, creating a safe space to tackle the taboos, unpack the complexities of sexual desires and discover pleasure in new and exciting ways.
You worked with Sommer Ray to create her successful beauty brand, Imarais. What was it like to work with Sommer? How did you take her brand from the idea stage to selling out product?
Amazing! She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and a really genuine person. Imarais was born from my own trouble finding a quick, easy and effective solution to skin irritation that would not disrupt my skin barrier. I was using a lot of products and nothing seemed to work, which is why we went down the supplement route. Once the product and idea were finalized, the most important thing was finding the right influencer to represent the brand, and that was Sommer. She has a genuine connection with her audience and that was paramount for brand equity.
You sold out your first production run of RUNI. What’s next?
Do it all again! I want to continue opening up the dialogue about pleasure, along with spearheading a movement to focus on pleasure practice. Without giving anything away we have other products in development, but our main goal will always be to help women feel more emboldened to embrace their own personal pleasure. Whether that is through our products like the Play Primer or our platform, we want to encourage open, honest and sometimes difficult conversations. Because a more confident woman in the bedroom is going to be a more confident woman in the world.
For more information, visit Meetruni.com
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