Meet Our Entreprenista of the Year: Arion Long, Founder of Femly
Join us in congratulating the founder of Femly and our Entreprenista of the Year Arion Long. Changing the way women take care of “the flow,” Entreprenista Arion Long, launched her company Femly after being diagnosed with a tumor linked directly to chemicals in popular pads and tampons. When she started Femly, she was living at home with her entire family. At the time, she was working full-time with a healthcare organization and was having the heaviest periods of her life. Leaking through outfits while at work, or having her period for 10 days or more was her norm, but yet, she couldn’t seem to get a doctor to take her complaints seriously.
After being prescribed birth control, and having horrible side effects, she decided to take her chances with one last Obgyn. At her first visit she felt heard for the first time ever, and was notified that she had an abnormal growth that would need to be surgically removed. The same doctor that was willing to listen to her and dig deeper to find her issue also told her about the chemicals hiding in the pads and tampons that she and many other women were using. She instantly knew that she needed to go organic, but couldn’t find a pad that was leak-free and comfortable.
So she sought out to create one herself. In 2016 she founded Femly, a tech startup that increases free access to organic pads and tampons. She’s developed a patent-pending dispenser that allows users to walk up and wave “hello” for products without a cost. She sells her dispenser and accompanying products to restrooms for schools, hospitals, and hotels around the world.
Her journey into entrepreneurship has been anything but easy. While most startups have common missteps and bumps in the road, Arion faced one of the most devastating challenges of all. In 2018 she lost her daughter, Sage to late-term stillbirth and medical negligence. She nearly died and spent days on life support. Black women like herself are four times likely to die from cervical cancer and six times more likely to die in labor. Two weeks after being discharged from the hospital she won her first big pitch competition. Thereafter, she leveraged grant funding, competitions and investments to launch her dispenser while making organic period care in public spaces freely available.
Like many female founded businesses, access to capital was her biggest challenge. But once again, she persevered and became one of the first 150 Black women in the history of the United States to get more than $1M in venture capital.
In 2021, while battling covid pneumonia, she was chosen as the Ifundwomen Entrepreneur of the Year. This win was such a huge deal because she had spent the previous year quietly building what would be her high-tech dispenser.
Femly is built on impact and scale to actualize period equity. With laws now requiring period care around the world, Femly is the only minority-led organization in the B2B/enterprise space. In the past year they’ve shipped more than 325,000 period care products and have changed more than 50,000 lives.
And 2023 has a lot in store for Femly. Arion will be announcing partnerships with one of the biggest universities in New York, an NFL team, and launching their national student impact fellowship program.
She truly is changing the world for generations to come.
Congratulations again to our Entreprenista of the Year Award Winner, Arion Long, Founder of Femly. You are truly paving the way for women leaders everywhere we are so honored to have you as an Entreprenista. Learn more about Arion and connect with her in our Entreprenista League community of founders!