Imaraïs Beauty Co-Founder Felicia Hershenhorn Launches Intimate Wellness Company Runi

Even as she pursued a successful career as an attorney, Felicia Hershenhorn retained her childhood passion for beauty.

At 28, she left her position as the youngest and only female attorney at a development company to start consulting for beauty and wellness brands like Psychedelic Water, and eventually co-founded and launched ingestible skincare company Imaraïs Beauty with Instagram-famous content creator Sommer Ray. 

When she departed from Imaraïs last year, she figured she’d take a week off to relax before embarking on her next venture. “An hour later I was like, ‘I need to do something,’” admits Hershenhorn. “I went on Pinterest and pulled all the pictures that I could find that really spoke to me and what I wanted to see in a brand especially, and I didn’t even know it was going to be sexual wellness. I knew it was going to be wellness-based, but I didn’t know what particular area, and to me, it didn’t matter because wellness is holistic.”

Ever the type A personality, Hershenhorn went from Pinterest to pitching in 24 hours. Within 48 hours, she’d raised over $400,000, mostly from private and angel investors, to bring her vision to fruition. “I did not have a product, did not have anything. I had a semblance of a formulation that I had spent all night looking up and identifying what I wanted,” says Hershenhorn, teasing she’s already received interest from institutional investors and is planning a second raise. 

Runi founder Felicia Hershenhorn

The result was Runi, an intimate care brand that gets its name from a nickname given to Hershenhorn as a girl. The brand launches this week with a single offering, $44 arousal serum Play Primer, available on its website. The product has six ingredients: CBD isolate, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, cordyceps and shiitake extracts, and aloe vera, which forms its base. “It’s so clean, it’s safe for consumption,” says Hershenhorn. Play Primer is also flavorless, should users choose to consume it.

Lubricants with adaptogenic mushrooms like cordyceps are an emerging trend. The ingredients have spread elsewhere with ferocity across beauty and wellness. Hersenhorn says that, though some adaptogenic mushrooms are used as an aphrodisiac as they’re known to strengthen sexual pleasure, she didn’t include them in Play Primer for that purpose. “I put them in this product for their ability to lubricate the area and make it soft and supple,” she details. “They’re really great for moisturizing.”

CBD is a more well-known sexual wellness ingredient. Hershenhorn chose it for its ability to boost blood flow to the vagina muscles, making it not only easier to orgasm, but to have a better orgasm as well. “The main idea of CBD-based arousal serums is that they don’t do anything that your body isn’t naturally doing itself,” she says. “During arousal, your body starts to lubricate and get excited. That’s where the Play Primer really steps in. You’re getting increased blood flow to your clitoris so your body’s going to start fully lubricating. Play Primer enhances that process. Then, you come to orgasm.”

Hershenhorn estimates Play Primer takes effect in about 15 minutes and wears off in one to two hours. “You don’t have to worry that you’re going to be walking around all excited all day,” says says. “It lasts the natural cycle of a sexual encounter.” The CBD in Play Primer is in isolate form to work in a water-based formula to make Play Primer latex-safe. Oil-based products aren’t latex-safe. 

The sexual wellness brand Runi launches this week with a single offering, $44 arousal serum Play Primer, available on its website.

Hersenhorn’s stance that wellness is holistic is integral to Runi’s raison d’etre as an “intimate wellness company that celebrates pleasure as an essential component of human sexuality, that’s fundamental to our overall health and wellbeing,” she explains. “Having good skin is much more than applying your moisturizer. It’s about eating right, sleeping right, having low stress levels and about having great orgasms. This is all one big system, that’s why I really got into sexual wellness. Not only because of my personal interest in wellness as a whole, but also because I want people to understand their bodies as a system and not just as disparate parts.”

Runi is launching in direct-to-consumer distribution and will remain exclusively direct for its first year to foster a direct relationship with its community. Hershenhorn intends to provide its audience with accurate yet relatable sex education missing from almost all American classrooms. However, she doesn’t want Runi to be pigeonholed as a sexual wellness brand. Its next launch in the fall will be in the body care category.

I say I’m an intimate wellness company, but I’m not married to the fact that I’m an intimate wellness company,” says Hershenhorn. “I’m launching as such, but I’m really moving into being a wellness company.”