Well Woman Weekly: Ingrid Barrientos on the Menstrual Disc

Every Friday, we send out a weekly roundup of what’s new on Blood & Milk along with articles you may have missed from the archives. We also include an interview with an inspiring woman, and this week we’re excited to feature Ingrid Barrientos. To get the newsletter, sign up here.

Ingrid Barrientos is the Senior Associate Brand Manager at Cora.

I’m excited for a bit of a different feature today; this week we’re flipping the spotlight back on team Cora to learn more about our newest product. Ingrid, can you tell us a bit about your work at Cora and your involvement with the disc project?

I am a Senior Associate Brand Manager and my work spans across a few different teams here at Cora, which I love! Some of my daily work revolves around product launches, pricing analyses, business reporting, and budget management. As a part of the marketing team, I work closely with Innovation and Sales to identify new market opportunities through consumer research and market data. I personally love understanding how consumers shop and what they are looking for in their next purchase.

The Cora Disc has a special place in my heart as it was one of the first projects I started working on when I first joined the Cora team. We took a human-centered design approach to launch this disc which means we relied on the Cora community to conduct several interviews to compile all types of feedback. It was great seeing firsthand how different everyone’s relationship with their period is and how they go about managing it. We got a diverse mix of menstruators to learn what works and doesn’t work and what is important to them when researching a new period product. We had a whole designated SWAT team on this project to sift through these insights and we would meet to brainstorm product ideas on post-its. It was super scrappy but we were determined to launch something that was unique to the market and really met the needs of disc users. I am super happy about the final product design and already using it myself!

The disc remains one of the more elusive period products—why did you start using it yourself? 

When I first got my period, I was basically given two options: pads or tampons. I started off with pads, but I was always super self-conscious about having that bulky pad show through nor did I find them all that comfortable. I ended up switching to tampons in my late teens and used them throughout my twenties because I felt tampons were a better option as I was always in sports and just generally an active person. I was never really in love with tampons—they were a bit drying and irritating but I just figured, “Well, I don’t like pads for me and everyone else uses tampons, so might as well stick to these.” I never really questioned what other options were out there. I didn’t know about menstrual discs until I joined Cora. To be honest, when I first saw one, I thought there was no way those things were going to fit me or be comfortable. As I started working on the research for the Cora Disc, it was apparent that the love from menstruators for discs was there and I felt like I was going to miss out if I didn’t at least try. I bought a few discs from different brands and instantly fell in love. I could not feel the disc once inserted and literally had to set alarms to remind myself to take it out. I could still have my period, wear discs longer, reduce my carbon footprint, and not experience any dryness? Yes, please. It was a no brainer for me and now I exclusively use discs. 

How is the Cora Disc different from others you’ve tried?

While I did have a pleasant experience with some of the discs out in the market, I do feel like the Cora Disc is my ‘goldilocks.’ One of the things I initially struggled with when trying out discs was the removal aspect. The Cora Disc has this great ‘finger-width groove’ that allows you to easily tuck your finger under the rim to easily remove. This rim is one of the firmer ones out there so I also find that it is easier to tuck into place and I felt very secure wearing it for 12 hours with no leaks. It’s all around a well designed product that even comes in a cute gold tin and storage bag (I’m a sucker for some good packaging). Lastly, I’ve been trying to reduce my carbon footprint so I love that the Cora Disc is reusable and lasts up to 10 years. A win for me and a win for Mother Earth. 

Has working at Cora changed your relationship to your period in any way?

I’ve become quite fascinated by my period and tracking all that can impact my flow and PMS symptoms. I’ve learned to be more comfortable with my own body and accept that every cycle is different. While some days might be filled with cramps and chocolate binging, I’ve learned to appreciate my body and the power of being a strong, healthy woman. 

We can all imagine how much work goes into launching a new product, and in month 14 of a pandemic, no less. How are you making time for your mental health these days? 

Oh man, I’ve certainly had my ups and downs during this pandemic! I am a big planner—I like to know what my next move is, where I am traveling, when I will see my friends, etc. With the pandemic, everything went out the window and I really had to learn how to adapt in a world full of so many unknowns. My mental health had to become my #1 priority as I felt like I didn’t have a grasp on anything. Learning to prioritize ‘me’ time is what has kept me going. I am a huge runner so even just continuing my daily runs has allowed me to feel some sense of normalcy. The pandemic has also led me to pick up new hobbies such as macrame and gardening (I now own too many plants to count!) and revisit old interests such as sketching and journaling. I still have my days where I just want to plop on the couch and binge-watch Netflix and that’s ok—I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just best to slow down and relax. This is new to everyone and I’m sure everyone has had their fair share of struggles but there is now light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccination rollout so I am counting down the days until I can go dancing with friends! 

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