Some people go through their entire lives without disrupting the status quo, and then there’s Arion Long, who started college at 15, decoded the genetic makeup of anthrax by 17, and disrupted a multibillion-dollar industry by age 30. Long is the self-proclaimed Chief Estrogen Officer at Femly, a high-tech personal care company that she started after being diagnosed with a cervical tumor linked to additives in popular, feminine care products. In the wake of her diagnosis, Long became motivated to help other women avoid the circumstances that precipitated her health crisis and to give them access to information, resources, and products that would improve their health. “I was motivated to start Femly when I couldn’t find a simple, one-stop solution to many of the issues that I faced,” says Long. “I want to empower people to take charge of their wellness. I’m excited about the ability to change lives!” A 2019 Forbes profile described Long’s reasoning: “Since millions of women suffer from reproductive issues, such as fibroids, endometriosis, [and] polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or have tough periods, it was important for [Long] to serve as an agent of change.”
Femly manufactures and delivers sustainable personal care products and provides tech-enabled solutions to women’s health issues. Their signature product is the reusable Femly Cup, which is BPA and dioxin-free and constructed from 100% medical grade silicone. Unlike most menstruation products, which can take up to 120 years to biodegrade, Femly’s line of organic pads and liners is eco friendly and chemical free.
In addition to Femly’s consumer goods, the startup leverages artificial intelligence to increase health outcomes and social impact. In a few, short years, Arion has received coverage from NPR, Forbes, BuzzFeed, and Entrepreneur Magazine about Femly and become a globally recognized activist for her efforts to increase healthcare access, advocacy, and health education for women.
In May 2018, several years after founding the company, Long experienced a devastating stillbirth delivery. She spent days on life support, needed several blood transfusions, and almost died. Her recovery was filled with much uncertainty.
“We are all affected by grief at some point, and many founders fight battles that are unseen,” Long told Forbes. “I highly encourage a visit to platforms like Therapy for Black Girls for counseling, Open Path Collective for low-cost therapy, and support groups!”
“It’s so important for people to realize that self care is more than having a cup of tea and throwing in the occasional bath bomb while you soak. I am the biggest advocate of counseling, therapy, keeping a tight friendship circle, speaking my fears out loud, and leveraging the people I lean on to help carry me when I can’t stand alone.”
Long is enthusiastic about All Rise Factory’s fundraising model and understands the benefits of being part of a cohort. “I’m excited because EnrichHER provides access to the capital, resources, and connections that I need to scale. Very few organizations back their words by actionable steps, and the EnrichHER network is unmatched for founders of color like myself!”
Founded in 2015
Based in Washington, D.C.