When Katie Sturino, founder of Megababe and fashion blogger behind The 12ish Style, insisted that she could build a business on creating a solution for thigh chafing no one believed here. Friends and family thought her idea was a “niche product for a niche community,” while others reduced her pitch to “just a ‘you’ problem.”
“When I went to meet with factories, I had to explain the idea to a lot of men,” Sturino recalls. “They could not handle these topics. Some of them were like ‘What’s chafe? I don’t think my wife has that.’ Their general attitude was that it wasn’t something they’d ever heard about, therefore it wasn’t something that really has ever existed.”
But when she launched Megababe Thigh Rescue anti-chafe stick in June of 2017 the product sold out in just one week. “You have that little piece of doubt that’s like: What if they’re right? What if I’m making a product for myself, and now we’ve got thousands of units just sitting? What if chafing isn’t a problem,” says the business owner. “When we did launch, it was a big exhale. We sold out and we made a product that people loved instantly.”
Though competitors like Body Glide, Gold Bond, and Lady Anti-Monkey Butt, a brand started by a couple of men who dirt bike (“The whole thing is gross. Fresh balls—for her,” jokes Sturino), the entrepreneur credits her success to taking a different approach. “What I am trying to do is stop people from feeling shame,” she explains. “We are trying to solve problems people don’t feel comfortable talking about yet and that big, giant, massive beauty brands have ignored.” By creating solutions for hush-hush issues, whether it be body odor or wanting to freshen up “down there” on the fly, Sturino offered women the ability to normalize issues that were once covertly discussed.
Since 2017, Sturino has gone on to launch hit after hit: Bust Dust (powder for boob sweat), Megafresh (body wipes) and Rosy Pits, a natural deodorant that currently has a 13,000-person waitlist. After wondering why there weren’t “really cute products that work and are empowering about a problem that a ton of people have,” Sturino won by simply creating her own.
And about that “cute products” part. To say that Sturino knows branding would be an understatement. After all, she didn’t build a 264,000 following on Instagram by happenstance. Bright, mod packaging, she says, relates to personal style which fans love and also goes back to eliminating shame. “When you look at the colors, they’re fun and happy,” she says. “I’m a very colorful person. I wear prints. I feel like we picked the color palette because it’s some of my favorite combinations of color.” One look at Megababe’s Instagram grid and you’ll see the deodorant fits right in with the Diptyque candle and Tom Ford lipstick sitting next to it.
Sturino’s personal style Instagram account, The 12ish Style, has also helped catapult Megababe to new heights of success. “I have a 95 percent female following and I’ve been able to bring people on this journey and talk about it,” Sturino says. “I’m genuine and they understand that I don’t talk about things unless I like them. There’s a big group of women there to get a recommendation from me.”
Thanks to those women, Megababe has become so popular that it’s expanded from just direct to consumer into retail stores. In May of 2018—less than a year after launching—Megababe landed in J.Crew and in massive beauty retailer Ulta. “When you’re making a product, your big dream is to be able to walk into a store and see something you made,” says Sturino. There are 1,124 Ulta stores across the U.S.—how’s that for “too niche?”