Athleisure has become a trending style for women, but the skin-tight leggings that have become a favorite might be causing some health risks.
Product designer and co-founder of Oya Femtech Apparel, Mitchella Gilbert, has secured $1.3 million in funding after extending her love for women’s health and sportswear by creating a line of athletic wear that can be worn to prevent vaginal infections.
According to Forbes, Gilbert began her research for her products after experiencing a yeast infection in the past that sent her to visit her OB-GYN.
“If you want to reduce the frequency of your yeast infections scale back on wearing leggings,” her doctor shared with her.
After learning this information that affects millions of women, Gilbert found a hole in the market for women’s workout clothing. She addressed the issue by creating a legging with a breathable, replaceable pad. The legging also includes panels to make room for ventilation around the inner thigh.
“After some digging, it was clear how many millions of people with vaginas were secretly dealing with sweat and moisture related health issues, either out of shame or because there were no solutions,” the Oya website shares.
Gilbert’s mission to reduce feminine health issues inspired the name Oya for the athletic line.
“Oya is a mother goddess from Nigeria’s Yoruban mythology that symbolizes rebirth, fertility, and storms. I thought Oya was a great name for a sportswear company fighting feminine health issues with patented designs and textiles,” Gilbert said.
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The United States National Library of Medicine reported that women in the U.S. spend around $43.3 billion annually to take care of feminine health issues such as bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infection, ringworm, folliculitis, and urinary incontinence.
Gilbert has a background in tech, product design, and retail. She also participated in UCLA Anderson’s Venture Accelerator. Oya, co-founded with Patrick Ayers, marked the launch of Gilbert’s fourth company.