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Stephanie Taylor of Kegel8 warns not doing your pelivc floor exercises could land you in a care home

An entrepreneurial mum who is celebrating 20 years of helping to save people’s sex lives through her leading business selling pelvic floor toners has warned women that maintaining your pelvic floor is as important as ‘brushing your teeth’. 

Stephanie Taylor, 58, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, quit her job as an air hostess after having her son, Luke, now 31, and launched a condom mail order company in 1988 targeted at women, followed by a ‘non-salacious’ sex toys start-up.

In 2000 she decided to start Kegel8, a venture selling devices to strengthen the pelvic floor, which she runs from headquarters in Hull, East Yorkshire, and quickly took off.

The business is such a resounding success that Stephanie now employs 40 people, including her son who heads up the IT department, and ships her devices across the world – hoping to crack Australia, New Zealand and the USA in 2020.   

Stephanie Taylor, 58, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, has warned women that maintaining your pelvic floor is as important as 'brushing your teeth'.

Stephanie Taylor, 58, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, has warned women that maintaining your pelvic floor is as important as ‘brushing your teeth’.

Stephanie Taylor, 58, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, quit her job as an air hostess after having her son, Luke, now 31, (seen as a baby in 1988) and decided to start her own business

Stephanie Taylor, 58, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, quit her job as an air hostess after having her son, Luke, now 31, (seen as a baby in 1988) and decided to start her own business

The high flyer, of said: ‘I’m on a mission to encourage women everywhere to take back control and proactively look after their pelvic floors. 

‘Pelvic floors need to be taken care of – just like if you don’t brush your teeth they’ll fall out, and if you don’t do your pelvic floor exercises your vagina might fall out. 

‘And by improving the strength of the pelvic floors it’ll stop leakage and also increase sensation and give you a better orgasm.’ 

According to Stephanie, the menopause can be a cause for concern too. 

‘When the skin starts to sag – the boobs and bum start to go – the pelvic floors start to go, too,’ she said. 

‘Especially in later life, if you’ve not done your pelvic floor exercises you can become incontinent. 

In 2000 she decided to start Kegel8, a venture selling devices to strengthen the pelvic floor, which quickly took off

In 2000 she decided to start Kegel8, a venture selling devices to strengthen the pelvic floor, which quickly took off

‘After dementia, incontinence is the second largest reason why people end up in care homes earlier – so basically, do your pelvic floor exercises or it could lead to a fast track into a care home.’ 

Stephanie says her interest in helping women to strengthen their pelvic floors was a natural progression from her other businesses, as they brought to her attention how many women lost sensation in that area after childbirth. 

Once she had spotted the link between lack of sensation and weak pelvic floors, it seemed only natural to start selling medically certified devices to help strengthen them. 

But, 20 years after launching her venture, Stephanie is dismayed by how many women are still trying to see the ‘funny side of laughter leaks’ and do not understand the ‘crushing’ implications of not doing their pelvic floor exercises. 

‘To be honest, I think it’s really sad that not many women have as much knowledge about their pelvic floors as they should have,’ she said. ‘Not maintaining the pelvic floor can have a horrific physical impact. 

Stephanie says her interest in helping women to strengthen their pelvic floors was a natural progression from her other businesses, as they brought to her attention how many women lost sensation in that area after childbirth (seen after giving birth herself)

Stephanie says her interest in helping women to strengthen their pelvic floors was a natural progression from her other businesses, as they brought to her attention how many women lost sensation in that area after childbirth (seen after giving birth herself) 

An air hostess in her early 20s, which included a stint of living in the Middle East and took her all over the world, she had the time of her life, but falling pregnant made it impractical and in 1987 she quit to start her own business

An air hostess in her early 20s, which included a stint of living in the Middle East and took her all over the world, she had the time of her life, but falling pregnant made it impractical and in 1987 she quit to start her own business 

It can cause a prolapse or incontinence and it can have mental repercussions too. ‘It could be a real block on a person’s love life, because you either won’t feel the orgasm or you won’t be able to control when you leak or, in some cases, you won’t be able to control your wind. 

‘People don’t realise how serious it is.’ 

Meanwhile, Stephanie believes being a successful entrepreneur was always her destiny.

 She said: ‘Being a business owner is always something that’s appealed to me. I like my independence and I’ve always been a hard worker,’ she said. ‘

I grew up on a farm and I worked on the farm from the age of eight, so I’ve had a strong work ethic since I was a child.’ 

An air hostess in her early 20s, which included a stint of living in the Middle East and took her all over the world, she had the time of her life. 

The business is such a resounding success that Stephanie now employs 40 people, including her son (seen above now) who heads up the IT department, and ships her devices across the world - hoping to crack Australia, New Zealand and the USA in 2020

The business is such a resounding success that Stephanie now employs 40 people, including her son (seen above now) who heads up the IT department, and ships her devices across the world – hoping to crack Australia, New Zealand and the USA in 2020

But falling pregnant made it impractical and in 1987 she quit. 

‘I loved being a new mum once Luke was born, but I still needed mental stimulation,’ she said. 

‘Whenever he was asleep, I would research ideas for what business I could start.’ 

Always ‘passionate about intimate health’ Stephanie soon had a lightbulb moment. 

‘It was around the time of the AIDS epidemic, so I thought about doing something with condoms,’ she said. 

‘I’d always felt there was a bit of a taboo around women carrying them. To me it felt like women were judged for carry a condom around with them, when in reality, all they’re doing is looking after themselves. ‘The negative outlook always bothered me.’ 

Stephanie is dismayed by how many women are still trying to see the 'funny side of laughter leaks' and do not understand the 'crushing' implications of not doing their pelvic floor exercises

Stephanie is dismayed by how many women are still trying to see the ‘funny side of laughter leaks’ and do not understand the ‘crushing’ implications of not doing their pelvic floor exercises

With that in mind, in 1988 Stephanie’s first business Passion8 – a condom mail order service – was born. 

‘I started out selling condoms by mail order, then I branched out to supply condoms for the take-out adverts you used to get in the back of glossy magazines,’ she said. 

‘I also secured a contract to supply condoms to the NHS.’ 

With her safe-sex start-up proving an instant success, Stephanie continued to grow the venture with ‘non-salacious’ sex toys. 

‘I started selling sex toys to clinics and to private therapists,’ she said. ‘It was successful because I wasn’t selling products with salacious packaging or any sort of lewd connotation – it was matter of fact. 

‘It was more like, ‘Here’s a sex toy that will help improve a struggling couple’s sex life,’ and I sold them into clinics. 

Stephanie believes being a successful entrepreneur was always her destiny after a very different start in life growing up on a farm (seen with her mother centre and son right)

Stephanie believes being a successful entrepreneur was always her destiny after a very different start in life growing up on a farm (seen with her mother centre and son right)

‘We also sold sex toys for women who had suffered with a loss of sensation for whatever reason – birth trauma, poor pelvic floors, or something different – into psychosexual clinics. 

‘We supplied what we called ‘the magic wand,’ which was a sex toy with a stronger vibration, and it helped the women to feel some sort of sensation again.’ 

Finding out what caused women to lose feeling, coupled with the changes Stephanie experienced in her own body after childbirth, gave her another business idea. 

‘Lots of women were complaining of a lack of feeling or sensation after child birth,’ she said. 

‘And after I had Luke, I noticed huge changes in my own body – especially as I suffered with nerve damage and had to have stitches. 

‘Especially if you’ve had a bit of a difficult birth, it’s important to make sure your pelvic floor is strong.’ 

Finding out what caused women to lose feeling, coupled with the changes Stephanie experienced in her own body after childbirth, gave her another business idea

Finding out what caused women to lose feeling, coupled with the changes Stephanie experienced in her own body after childbirth, gave her another business idea

Kegel devices, cost anything from £30 to £169, and are used to exercise the pelvic floor by inserting it into the vagina where it sends electrical impulses directly to the pelvic floor

Kegel devices, cost anything from £30 to £169, and are used to exercise the pelvic floor by inserting it into the vagina where it sends electrical impulses directly to the pelvic floor

These thought processes led to the birth of Stephanie’s second business, Kegel8, in 2000, which she runs from headquarters in Hull, East Yorkshire. 

‘Now I sell Kegel devices, which cost anything from £30 to £169, which are used to exercise the pelvic floor,’ she said. 

‘When I first launched the business, they were only available in clinics, so I decided to approach the manufacturer and see if they’d work with me directly. 

‘Talking about pelvic floors can still be deemed embarrassing, so sometimes people will put off going to the doctors about it. 

‘By selling the device directly to women they don’t have to go through the embarrassment of speaking to a doctor about it – they can just buy it online. 

How do the kegel devices work? 

The kegels work by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) which involves using an electrical impulse or signal to elicit a muscle contraction (Knutson et al, 2015). 

A probe plugged into a port is inserted into the vagina, and you can select the programme strength you wish to use to start sending the electrical pulses which work to frim the muscles.

The device claims to improve the tightness of the pelvic floor, which should improve sensation and incontinence.

‘The device is just a probe, a bit like a tampon. You insert it in the vagina, and it sends electrical impulses directly to the pelvic floor. 

‘Now we sell Kegel devices on Amazon and on our own website as well as selling them to NHS clinics and private practices.’  

Realising that men also need to maintain them, as they support the bladder and bowel, while strengthening them could vastly improve their sex lives, Stephanie launched a male pelvic floor toner in 2011. 

‘The male version of the device is designed to strengthen and invigorate the pelvic floor muscles,’ she said. 

‘Having a weak pelvic floor can be a serious issue for men, too. But if they strengthen them, they’ll get a better sensation as a result.’ 

‘In the last year we’ve had record sales of the male devices and sold 350 per cent more than we did 2018. 

‘I don’t know if women now taking control and looking after themselves has had a knock-on effect and they’re now encouraging their husbands and boyfriends to do the same – or, if the men are just doing it off their own back.’  

‘For men and woman the consequences of having weak pelvic floors can be life crushing. ‘We need to do all we can to maintain them and keep control.’ 

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