Before @mommywata’s cheeky reels and saucy product names, the word “Yoni” was nothing more than a foreign term in the DMV. Enter Alexis Johnson, CEO and Founder of Mommy Wata and feminine care extraordinaire. She not only created the most natural, most gentle, yet most effective feminine care product line out there, she’s also normalized having real, frank conversations about vaginas between the people that have them.
For the Baddies with BV
Before Alexis Johnson was the mermaid-in-chief at Mommy Wata, she was a busy nursing student who—as she would soon find out—was struggling with some of the same issues many, many women struggle with. Johnson was dealing with recurrent bacterial vaginosis (BV), an uncomfortable condition caused by an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina. Unfortunately for Johnson, her BV was caused by a disruption in her pH balance from things like sex and even her own period. After many trips to the doctor, and many empty antibiotic bottles, she almost accepted the fate that her doctor prescribed: a lifetime of never-ending BV battles and antibiotic prescriptions.
She was told that there was really nothing she could do to prevent her BV or the bill that she was racking up at the doctor’s office. And after complaining to her mom, she learned that her mother had gone through a similar struggle with BV when she was younger, too. Johnson was tired of the frequent (and pricey) trips to her doctor, and she was starting to worry about the effects her almost-constant antibiotic use could have on her body. So she put her nursing know-how to use and started researching natural ways to combat and event prevent bacterial vaginosis.
The Natural WayAs a nursing student, Johnson always sought the natural route. She loved to learn about how plants and herbs can heal the body, and she had always planned to go into naturopathic, holistic medicine after graduation. And though she doesn’t wear scrubs on the daily, Johnson still helps women feel better and lead healthier lives with natural remedies.
What Johnson created when she buckled down to find the solution to her BV battle was the predecessor to Mommy Wata’s Snatched Yoni Bar. A gentle antibacterial soap, Johnson put her product to the test by using it before and after sex and her period. After six months, her doctor started to wonder where she went—Johnson hadn’t made an appointment (or even had an infection!) since she started using her product.
But recurrent bacterial vaginosis wasn’t the only problem Johnson was experiencing in the Netherlands. Because Johnson has a very curly hair texture, she had always been prone to ingrown hairs. And because of all of the discoloration, inflammation, and texture those bumps caused on her bikini line, she started to feel self-conscious during intimacy and swimsuit season. So while she was developing her all-natural BV treatment, she also started working on a formula to get rid of those annoying—and often painful—ingrown hairs and bumps that many women experience down under.
From Student to CEOOnce Johnson realized that her OG product—her antibacterial soap—was somewhat of a miracle formula, she put it on the market so that other women who struggled with recurrent BV could get off of their doctor’s regular list, too. And that’s when Johnson’s real education on female sexual health began. Women loved her Snatched Yoni Bar and they saw the same positive results Johnson did herself, but they also flooded her Instagram DMs with questions like “Do you have anything for excessive sweating down there?” and “What about if I have a hard time getting wet?” So Johnson went back to her herbal medicine books and got right to work on finding the cures for the problems of her followers. That’s how almost every product in the Mommy Wata line was developed—a DM-ed concern from one of Mommy Wata’s followers. Now, Mommy Wata offers products for the full spectrum of feminine concerns, from achieving the smoothest skin for a “pretty kitty” to fighting active vaginal infections with natural remedies.
So that’s how a personal project to find a natural, sustainable solution for BV and get a break from constant antibiotics turned into Johnson’s full-time career, and what we know as Mommy Wata today. When Johnson was brainstorming a name for her new business, she drew inspiration from West African mythology. Mami Wata, a pidgin English derivation of “Mother Water,” is a goddess or a water spirit honored in West and Central African cultures. A symbol of sexuality, fertility, and femininity, Johnson saw Mami Wata as the perfect embodiment of the values of her new brand.
From Mother Nature, by Way of Mommy WataMami Wata is most often depicted with the upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish, and she is believed to appear from the water, and sometimes even in sailor’s dreams, to give the humans she encounters a new, better perspective on life. Since Johnson’s own nickname had always been “Mermaid,” it seemed like destiny. And just like Mami Wata emerges from the depths of the water to bless humans with luck, insight, and riches, all of the ingredients in Johnson’s line come straight from Mother Nature herself.
Being a woman is hard enough as it is, and there is no reason to suffer with conditions like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, or a lack of natural lubrication. Johnson did what no medical professional thought to do. She created products to not only treat feminine issues safely and gently, but also to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Johnson has made womanhood just a little easier with her line, and with the safe space that she’s created within the Mommy Wata community. Ever since the launch of her first product, Johnson has been blown away with the amount of women who come to her with their most sensitive, private needs, from recurrent UTIs to Herpes outbreaks. The open dialogue Johnson has started about vaginal health helps women see that they are not alone in our struggles, and that we have the power to overcome them, too.