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MyLab: The At-Home STD Testing Kit Offering Hassle-free Results

Business

Developed in 2013 by Lora Ivanova and Ursula Hessenflow, myLAB Box is the first-of-its kind service that delivers STD test right to the customer’s doorstep. Their kits utilize FDA-approved technology, and are validated by CLIA-certified lab affiliates, who all have decades of testing for infectious diseases. The panel includes 9 tests that directly identify pathogens through advanced DNA amplification technology, and four tests that measure antibodies. Each test can be completed in less than five minutes, sans the need to drive, schedule appointments, or wait in interminable lines at the doctor’s. MyLAB Box kits range from $79 for a single test, to $399 for a 10-panel screen, and boast the same diagnostic accuracy as testing in a laboratory or a doctor’s office would provide. By selling directly to the consumers, the process cuts out the middleman, thereby slicing the cost of conventional lab tests in half. The kit also offers complimentary physician consultations should the test results prove positive.


MyLab Box

The inspiration for the testing box came from a rather serendipitous happening – the two friends had gotten together for a drink, and were ranting about dismal dates when the topic of STD testing cropped up in the conversation. They began talking about how awkward it was to have sexual-health-related conversations with prospective partners, and both walked away from that discussion feeling like there must be a better way to talk about such pertinent manners in a less daunting manner.

With that goal in mind, Ivanova and Hessenflow embarked on a quest for accessible, affordable, and reliable STD testing that could be easily purchased without a prescription. Neither had a solid background in healthcare; they both have backgrounds in public relations, while Ivanova described herself as “climbing the corporate ladder” in LA. However, despite their lack of previous experience in healthcare, the two have proved themselves successful in launching their product.

Though the myLAB Box kit is targeted for couples to administer together, single people can use the box as well. “If you’re having sex, then myLAB Box is for you, regardless of whether you’re in a committed relationship or not,” Ivanova clearly states. “MyLAB Box test kits are designed to make it easier for anyone to have peace of mind about their sexual health and that of their partners.”

Another major motivation behind the kits is their realization that with an increase in cuts to the healthcare system, consumer-driven health is only going to rise. “The timing is ripe for a model like myLAB Box, since consumers expect everything to be on-demand and at their fingertips,” details Hessenflow. “Our goal is to transform STD testing from something that has been traditionally taboo and inconvenient into basic, hassle-free hygeine – something taken on as easily as brushing your teeth.”

STD testing and preventative measures are especially imperative in today’s times; the US, one of the most developed countries, is also suffering from STD infections at unprecedented rates. STIs current affect one in three Americans, with HPV affecting almost one in two Americans between ages 18 and 59. The permeation of hookup culture only compounds this issue, so it’s critical that testing methods evolve as quickly as our dating practices do. Another contributor to the growing STD epidemic is the fact that not nearly enough adults proactively test. Less than half of the adults aged 18 to 44 have ever been screened for any STIs other than HIV. And with as many as 80 percent of infections exhibiting little to no symptoms, it’s not surprising that many slip under the radar, especially is people only use the “visual inspection” method.

“We are passionate about our health and the health of the people we care about, and have applied that passion to creating an alternative to in-lab testing,” says Hessenflow. “Empowering ourselves as individuals to take better care of our health is the future of healthcare.”

Lora Ivanova and Ursula Hessenflow

One major positive (no pun intended) of the myLAB Box kits is the convenience it offers. Ivanova touts, “Customers can test affordably and privately, on the go, anytime and anywhere. This means they can test as often as needed to maintain optimal health and peace of mind.” Though an annual visit to the OB/GYN is highly recommended, it is often not enough. For those who are sexually active, it is often necessary for more frequent screening, such as going every three to six months. This is often unrealistic, and too much of a hassle for today’s busy working adult. “The myLAB Box service offers unprecedented speed in processing of results,” promotes Hessenflow. Test results take as little as 24 hours to up to a week, depending on the customer’s location and the tests ordered. The results are delivered quickly and safely in a digital format, straight to the customer’s secure online account. “It really couldn’t be easier,” Hessenflow says.

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In launching the product line, the two entrepreneurs made a surprising discovery: their gender was actually an asset in the typically male-dominated businessworld. “We have found there is a lot of support for female entrepreneurs, in many ways because it is more uncommon, and it’s actually become an asset for us to leverage,” divulges Hessenflow. “That’s why we chose to become certified as a women-owned business. This has gotten us in the door of big retailers such as Walmart. In fact, over 20% of our initial investors were women!”

On imparting wisdom into aspiring entrepreneurs, Ivanova has this to say: “Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Come up with a great idea is important, but that’s just a starting point. The real success comes when you find a way to develop that idea, implement it, fund it and nurture it over time as it grows.” Indeed, it seems like this method has been very fruitful, since the company is still successfully churning out its products, ensuring easily-accessible, accurate, at-home STD testing.

3 Min Read
Career

Black LGBTQ Woman Powerhouse Launches Vegan Cosmetics Line

I am a proud Black business owner carrying a line of lip colors for the woman who wants to shine. At Vatarie Cosmetics you can find cruelty-free and vegan lip care products, including clear lip gloss and liquid matte lipsticks. The line is still under development, so there are more products in the making that you'll hear more about soon!

My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe.

About Leticia

I have worked my way into my entrepreneurial career as I did not come from money. The goal of my cosmetic line is to bring excitement to everyone who tries the line. My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe. I believe that with added makeup and a good set of threads, anybody can confidently face the world. I am a proud and firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and a proud member and supporter of the LGBTQIA community.

There have been plenty of hardships that I have had to face throughout my entire life, the most recent being the recent death of my father who passed far too soon. I have never allowed these hardships to deter me, and won't start now. I will continue to progress and work hard to build my business, knowing that this is what my father would have wanted.

About the Vatarie Line: What It's All About

Upon launching the line, I had the mission of inspiring every human to find their inner beauty and to have fun along the way. With this in mind, my products are designed for people of all genders, races, religions, and creeds. The Vatarie line will have more to offer customers very soon as I am continually working on developing products and expanding the line. In addition to the lip colors currently offered, the line will soon include highlighters, eyeshadows, and new lip gloss additions.

I believe that no one needs makeup to validate themselves, and we are all beautiful on our own. I do believe, though, that makeup can make life a lot more fun. Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness. Sometimes all we need to change our moods and get away from that darkness is something to help us feel better and more vibrant — this is where a pop of makeup and a well put together outfit can really make an impact.

Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness.

I encourage everybody to embrace their inner beauty and inner style, and express themselves no matter what. My line of products is inspired by high fashion and designed to make a bold statement. The running theme across my products is empowerment at every stage and level. I create products that make my customers feel happy, and I ensure I am happy myself with my products before I release every single one. There is no place for cutting corners as I believe in producing the highest quality product.

I bring my sense of humor and quirky personality into my products and you can see this in the names of each item. Take the lip color "Blood Money," which signifies all the money, tears, sweat, and yes, blood that was put into the brand. Let me tell you, it was hard work, and it still is hard work, but at the end of the day, it fulfills me to know the type of quality I am providing. It gives me great pride to create a line of legendary products that will positively affect someone and bring them to a place of self-love and acceptance.

About the Past that Gives My Business Meaning

I have struggled over the years with mental abuse that has left me feeling as if "I wasn't enough." Added to that, being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

Coming from a broken home, my family struggled with addiction, making my entire childhood a miserable nightmare. My mother abandoned us as she was being physically abused, and it was up to us the kids to do everything necessary to take care of the home and each other. We eventually ended up living with my grandmother in Miami, Florida. At a very young age, I had to endure physical and mental abuse and was locked up. At the age of 22, I lost my younger sister to gun violence and found myself raising her one-year-old son as my own.

Being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

While my past was a rough one, it is what has made me the strong, independent, and vibrant woman I am today. That woman strives to be her best every day and works tirelessly to provide a line of only the best cosmetics products. I couldn't see this while I was living through those bad situations and struggling to grow up, but I can look back and see how I was made more resilient because of my hardships.

As I grieve over my father's recent passing, I become stronger. It is this added personal strength that will push me forward in everything I do and will be reflected in my work ethic and in the development of new products for my Vatarie line of cosmetics.