Susanna Twarog and Robina Verbeek always knew that their chosen career paths in the finance industry were male-oriented—but in March 2017, the unexpected need for a feminine product, and the inability to conveniently locate one within the office bathrooms, proved it. This aha moment of women’s needs being overlooked in the workplace is what sparked the S/O/S (worldofsos.com) smart vending machine: a tech-savvy apparatus that easily delivers femcare, wellness essentials and PPE products to women around Boston. Here, we get the scoop on the machines and where you can find them.
You officially launched in January 2020. What can readers expect from the machine?
RV: [We had] this concept of creating a beautiful machine that women would be excited to use—a machine that was completely digital and cashless [that would] introduce and deliver products that not only addressed urgent situations, but also provided other just-in-time amenities that women needed, like hair ties or dry shampoo.
Where was the first location?
ST: The first location is a coworking space in the Seaport at District Hall, which is also a location of a neighborhood-favorite restaurant called Gather. So it’s effectively like a mixed-audience location.
What brands and products can buyers find inside?
ST: Some of the brands that we’re currently working with include Cora, Drybar and R+Co, which is also a haircare company. [There’s also] Ursa Major’s incredible face balm and face wipes; Korres, which is a Greek skincare company; Kosas; TELETIES; Risewell for dental care; and then Cabinet is the brand that we’re working with for hand sanitizer.
RV: The packaging of our products is another really important part of our user experience. Every product in an S/O/S machine is packaged in a biodegradable S/O/S packet. I think introducing fun quotes and other things into the packaging itself is on our product roadmap. Again, [we’re] trying to make what usually is a very painful and panicky moment into something that’s empowering.
RV: Our app—allowing women to find machines near them for their product preferences; [they can] collect and earn rewards that would go toward purchases and potentially share rewards with friends. So, really creating this community that’s beyond just that moment in time. We are also really excited to be expanding outside of Boston, a regional expansion, in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Photography by: Photos courtesy of Nick Hamilton