the first time I heard about

the menstrual cup

Hi, my name is Merle-Marie Forstmann. I would like to tell you how and why I invented the Merula Cup. I first heard about menstrual cups at a birthday party in 2011. Since I have never been a fan of the common menstrual products out there, I ordered my first cup that same night. I was instantly convinced that the menstrual cup is a better product for the woman’s body as well as the environment. 

Finding the right cup

wasn't easy

For the next 2 years, I tested many different menstrual cups on the market and while they were all better than tampons and pads, I had a few minor issues with the cups. Some hurt, some leaked, some felt very uncomfortable and some slipped down. I joined several Facebook groups to talk to women all over the world about their experiences, their problems and their wishes. 

the perfect cup

hasn't been invented yet

I started to consult women on the advantages and disadvantages of each cup on the market. I also gave women advice on how to use menstrual cups in a safe and efficient way. During this time, I heard so many great ideas about “the perfect cup”, that I started to draw a sketch of the “perfect cup”. A cup that is firm but also soft, small but has  enough capacity and most importantly: one-size that can fit all woman regardless of their flow-strength, cervix-height, age, muscle-behavior or lifestyle. 

taking a chance on

the perfect cup

In 2015 I decided to contact one of the big menstrual cup companies out there, send them my little sketch, explained how I came up with it and asked them if they would consider producing such a product. I also told them that this isn’t just “my perfect cup”, but that I have talked to thousands of women online and gathered feedback to really create a cup for us women that addresses all the issues we have with the current selection on the market. I wanted a product who’s design is not dictated by cost efficiency or packaging requirements but solely by what we need to feel comfortable and get all the great benefits menstrual cups have to offer. Unfortunately, the company had no time nor capacity to produce a new product. I also had the feeling that they didn’t take me and my sketch to serious. 

Now I smelled blood (and not because my menstrual cup was leaking :-)) and I wanted to show them that this is real. So everyday, once my kids went to sleep, I taught myself on how to use a 3D-Design Software to create a real prototype-like design with exact measurements and materials. After I had the design 100% correct, I contacted one of the big players, again. This time I was very optimistic, I had a product that has real benefits over the existing offering, real market research behind it, and all they have to do is manufacture it based on my design. But again, there was no interest at all. Please don’t understand me wrong, the company was always very nice to me and even wished me good luck with my product, which I however really understood as laughing in my face. They had hundreds of thousands of customers and here I was with my sketch. 

Naturally, I was devastated. I had so many late night hours put into that project, so many women that I met online were looking forward to this product created by us and for us. But here I was, alone with my design.

2,000 Cups???

Panic!

Some time went by and I decided to once again spend my evening hours to learn something new. The different types of manufacturing. I was determined to produce a small badge of this product with medical grade silicon and sell it to all those women that have helped me during this process with input.

I found a manufacturer for medical devices and ordered 200 units of my own menstrual cup. I couldn’t wait for them to be produced. My first own product, how great is that. Once delivery date came closer, the manufacturer told me that they produced 2,000 units as 200 was just to small of a badge for them. I freaked out. 2,000 menstrual cups??? My husband will kill me. Where should I keep them, how should I ever sell 2,000 cups? This was all a huge mistake! 

2,000 cups???

We need more!

A couple weeks before the 2,000 cups were to arrive at my home, I informed the online community about the product being produced. Even so nobody had seen or tested the cup yet, I received over 700 orders before I even received the final product. This was just amazing. Two weeks later I had sold all 2,000 units and got requests for more on a daily basis.

Now I knew that what started as fixing a problem had the opportunity to become a real business. The Merula (“Merula” is Latin for blackbird, which in French is “Merle”) company was founded and I brought André Eichhorn (who is now my 50/50 partner) onboard to help me grow my business. 

ALL Around the World

MeruLa La La La La

Less than three years later, our business has now sold over 100,000 units into over 30 countries in the world. And now we take the next big step. We opened a company in the U.S. to serve the North American market. 

This journey has been so fulfilling for me. I learned so much about business and entrepreneurship but most at all, I learned to not give up, not to let anyone tell me I can’t do something and instead just go for it. Creating a product with the customers voice in mind is how the Merula Cup was created and we keep collecting every feedback we get to make the right decisions for you. 

This is how the Merula Cup works

Insertion & Removal:

Push the rim of the Merula Cup at one point in direction to the inner bottom and fold the whole cup. As you do so, the cup becomes smaller and it is easier to insert.

You can wet the cup or use a water-based lubricant. Insert the folded cup and make sure that the rim opens again when inside. The bottom of the cup can stay collapsed. If the cup leaks, try to correct its position. The cup does not have to be inserted as deep as a tampon.

For removal, press the cup slightly downwards and hold the stem. Move the cup downwards, with slow zigzag movements, until you can reach the bottom. Press the bottom in order to remove the light suction. Now, you can remove the cup completely and clean it.

Merula Cup

Folding

Merula Cup XL

Folding

Cleaning

Boil the cup before the first use and after every menstruation. Use water with a pinch of vinegar in a pot or in a microwave and boil the cup for at least 5 minutes. The cup can be used up to 8 hours at once, but can also be removed and cleaned more frequently.

After 8 hours, empty the contents of the cup into the toilet and rinse the cup with water. In order to prevent staining, rinse the cup with cold water first. Then, before reinserting the cup, clean it with some warm water and Merula Spray (designed to gently clean and disinfect your Merula Cup) or another disinfectant that is suitable for a sex toy. If you‘re out and about and have to empty your cup in a bathroom without a private sink, we recommend using our handy Merula Wipes for cleaning. As a last resort, you can also thoroughly rub and wash out your cup with some bottled water. But be sure to clean it with Merula Spray, Merula Wipes, or a comparable disinfectant as soon as possible afterwards, for it must be cleaned with one of these products at least once every 8 hours.

Keep the cup always in a container that is permeable to air, such as the bag that is delivered with Merula. Well maintained, a single cup can be used for several years. If the silicone begins to deteriorate, throw it away and buy a new one. Slight staining due to frequent use is normal.