12 to Watch in 2012: Julie Sygiel

Friday, December 30, 2011


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Chemistry is sexy: Sexy Period founder Julie Sygiel.

It's no wonder that young entrepreneur and founder of Sexy Period Julie Sygiel has hit the ground running on her first venture and made her one of Rhode Island's hottest young businesspeople, even in a rugged local economy.

Growing up in a small town in Kentucky with a population of 2,490 and one of the state's highest unemployment rates, Sygiel sold 10,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies during her 12 years of scouting. Ten thousand.

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It's that kind of mettle that propelled Sygiel, who majored in chemical engineering at Brown University (and graduated in 2009) to apply her smarts to a patent-pending underwear made from leak-resistant fabric designed as a backup to prevent period spill disasters. Her project, which began in an entrepreneurship class at Brown with Professor Danny Warshay, won the Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Competition in 2008.

Sexy Period officially launched last year on January 31, debuted at StyleWeek Providence, and quickly sold out 500 initial pairs of the high-tech, high-style intimate apparel. The line debuted at trade shows this summer and is available at boutiques in Canada as well as online. Since then, Sygiel's line is picking up steam on style and feminist blogs. Now, Sexy Period makes its home in the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She's now associated with Rhode Island's hot incubator, Betaspring, as a mentor.

Earlier in December Sygiel was recruited by a new show on MTV featuring entrepreneurs and will know next month if Sexy Period is heading to the small screen. Her business goal, she recently told the Brown Alumni Magazine, is an entire "suite" of functional apparel products. "We want to be a brand like Spanx," she said.

Anyone who can sell that many cookies is an odds-on favorite.


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