My health products are selling at CVS – This is how I built my business
- Suzanne Sinatra is an entrepreneur and the founder of Private Packs, a therapeutic pack for vulvar pain.
- She quit her full-time job in 2017 and spent her savings on treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Despite the setbacks, Sinatra continued to grow his business and eventually entered into a distribution deal with CVS.
My first dive into entrepreneurship came when a Brazilian wax left me with excruciating second degree burns on my wife’s parts. I was so desperate, I got creative. I sketched the first design for what would eventually become private packs in my journal that night – it was a topical water and gel pack that could be heated and refrigerated, with a specific design that curved towards my body to be comfortable and hands-free.
After talking with other women about their experiences with vulva pain and trauma, I realized that vulvar pain is a widespread problem with no high quality solution to provide relief, so I set out prototyping.
With a full time career in marketing, I worked on private packs in my spare time
I had a 20 year career on Wall Street, but wanted more meaningful work helping others and was eager to pursue private packs full time. I was excited to be working on my business and my mission to empower women in their sexual health journey and make sexual health products more available. In order to fund the business, I emptied my 401k to restart the business on my own.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 metastatic breast cancer on August 11, 2017. My last day of work was scheduled for August 31.
I was immediately taken to surgery and scheduled for ongoing chemotherapy. As my cancer diagnosis quickly moved to Stage 3, my medical team advised me to put my business aspirations aside. Instead, I brought my computer daily for chemotherapy and was determined to be successful with a healthy treatment and with a thriving business.
I did not anticipate that 8 weeks after starting cancer treatment, I would be forced to receive social assistance and food stamps
With medical bills piling up around me and no source of income, my 401,000 savings quickly ran out. I spent the next two years surviving on government help and getting cancer treatment, while working on private packs.
At the hospital, I asked my doctors and other female patients about sore vulva spots and even tested the prototype myself when chemotherapy caused chronic vaginal dryness due to early menopause.
The only thing that really saved my business was Private Pack’s IndieGoGo campaign. We launched in September 2019 and surpassed our goal of raising $ 10,000 within days. Not only did this provide the money to continue creating private packs, the campaign also gave me a boost of confidence and confirmed that what I had created resonated with customers. It was great to see that Private Packs was a product that spoke to a lot of people.
We launched our online store in January 2021
Shortly thereafter, I was selected to participate in XRC Labs’ inaugural Elevate Fellows program which put me in touch with CVS. I presented Private Packs to CVS on February 3, 2021, and the next day I was invited to be part of their pilot program, which quickly led to a nationwide and online distribution deal.
Today, Private Packs is now available on CVS Online and in over 550 stores nationwide, proudly displayed alongside other sexual health products. The contents of the package are 70% water, along with glycerin, preservatives and salt to keep it shelf stable and have a gel-like consistency. They are also free from chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Along with the CVS agreement, we are expanding our e-commerce website and continue to develop our wholesale model for other retailers. I am so happy that now my health and my business are booming – it makes all the challenges worth it.
Suzanne Sinatra is an inventor, entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Private Packs.