Crystal Etienne is the founder of Panty Prop, a company that offers sanitary and discreet period panties in different styles and colors.
Etienne recently launched the “I Was Built For This” campaign, with the goal of encouraging more black mothers to talk openly and honestly with their daughters about their bodies and their sexual health. The campaign shows “a Real Life African-American mom and daughter tackling the challenges of everyday life with their periods together through positivism.”
“I remember getting my period for the first time, and never being told anything about it from my mom, I had to figure it out on my own” says Etienne.
Etienne was inspired to create the campaign after taking her teenager daughter to her first gynecologist visit. She faced backlash for friends and family who felt that she was encouraging promiscuity.
“I did not understand why so many of my friends and family (also African American) was so against me getting my daughter birth control pills,” says Etienne. “I have always taught my daughter that she needed to maintain her hygiene and feminine health in order to stay healthy, and birth control was just another way for her to prevent any unwanted pregnancies and help her remain healthy.”
Etienne’s good friend, massage therapist Kim Morton, and her 12 year old daughter are the face of the campaign.
Kim’s daughter sports Panty Prop’s most popular line, PropTween. Etienne was shocked to learn that despite PropTween’s popularity, only 9% of her customer base is African American.
“After doing a bit of research and market testing on Facebook and other avenues, we realized that a lot of young black girls are using other avenues, besides a parent, to get information about their period, mostly social media, in particular, YouTube,” says Etienne. “This made me angry because sometimes these social media sites give false information. I would not want my daughter to get or believe anything about her period from social media.”
Etienne stresses the importance of talking openly, noting that the conversation about feminine health should start before a first period.
“Teach her to be ready and open to talk to you mom!”