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GUIDE TO VEGAN & ECO-FRIENDLY FEMININE PRODUCTS BRANDS

by | June 12, 2019

Get ready for a worldwide tour of brands producing vegan and eco-friendly feminine products!

This guide was developed as a peek into the histories and philosophies of brands at the forefront of femtech for period care and also as an exploration of the wide-ranging advocacy work all these companies pursue.

Credits: Maridav/ Shutterstock

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GUIDE TO VEGAN & ECO-FRIENDLY FEMININE PRODUCTS BRANDS

As I started research for this guide, I had high hopes to discover a handful of quality vegan-friendly period care products and brands. I had no idea the journey that was ahead!

As I delved into the research, what I learned is that there is an incredibly rich and broad spectrum of brands in the period product space now, nothing close to what existed when I first started using related products in the early ’90s.

Credits: aykfree/ Shutterstock

What I learned is that the current marketplace for eco-menstrual products is a sector of femtech that has seen extraordinary innovation in the past couple of decades, with sustainability and environment as forefront concerns in product development as well as critical issues of menstrual advocacy and ecological integrity of the product. 

In this growing space of innovative feminine hygiene products, it is quite often female founders leading the way, with personal experiences lending essential insight to product development, design as well as increased needs for advocacy and awareness. 

Multiple brands worldwide were instrumental in helping me to do research for this guide- providing their time for interviews and in many cases samples of product for our team to experience. 

Credits: wk1003mike/ Shutterstock

As I dug into the research, my greatest “problem” really became realizing that there are many brands worldwide (and no doubt more soon to be founded) addressing issues of ecological menstrual care and menstrual equity and that for the scope of this guide I simply would not be able to cover them all!

Thank you to all the brands featured here who took time to share a peek into their company, discuss their product, mission, and history. For you readers, please settle in with a favorite beverage while you go on a tour of brands around the world producing vegan-friendly menstrual care products!

*Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of all brands around the world producing sustainable menstrual products. There are many, many more brands doing incredible things in this space across the globe.

VEGAN & ECO-FRIENDLY FEMININE PRODUCTS BRANDS
Credits: Everclever/ Shutterstock

VEGAN & ECO-FRIENDLY FEMININE PRODUCTS BRANDS

BAMBOO BABE

FOUNDED: 2017 by George and Karyn Harris

LOCATION: Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

PRODUCTS: Compostable bamboo and plant-based liners/pads

ETHOS: In addition to their ethos of sustainable living with biodegradable and compostable pads, Bamboo Babe is also passionate about the processes and means by which they make their product. 

ADVOCACY: 5% of each product sold also goes to the Australian Childhood Cancer Research Foundation and Bamboo Babe also plans to delve more into the realm of period poverty to provide support.

Credit: bamboobabe website

Issues of waste & sustainability are key in Bamboo Babe’s ethos. Both hometowns of South Australia and Northern Tasmania are close to the hearts of the founders and maintaining the fragile, precious natural environments of the regions they grew up in is key in their ethos. 

We are so thrilled to see more and more options become available for women these days – more options mean greater freedom to make choices for your body, the environment and also your wallet. We hope to be able to provide women with an eco-friendly, cost-effective, high-quality option that’s easily accessible for busy women who want to make a conscious decision for themselves and our beautiful Mother Earth.” –George Harris, cofounder of Bamboo Babe

Credit: bamboobabe website

COTTON MERMAID

FOUNDED: 2017 by Yeelin Chong

LOCATION: Malaysia

PRODUCTS: Panty liners, menstrual cup

ADVOCACY: Works with local community and schools to promote the awareness of RUMPs, offers help to individuals with limited access and funds and provides menstrual cups and/or cloth pads as a gift, sponsors menstrual cups for Eco Charity run for a local school.

Credit: cottonmermaid website

Due to an allergy to disposable pads, Cotton Mermaid founder Yeelin started off sewing her own cloth pads. She notes that: “We are here to solve our own problems and to provide the solution in terms of alternative menstrual hygiene need and personal experience is very important, we are not here simply to sell another product.” -Yeelin Chong, founder of Cotton Mermaid

DANS MA CULOTTE

FOUNDED: 2014 by Marie Réveilhac and Noëlle Papay 

LOCATION: Caen, Normandy

PRODUCTS: Cloth pads, menstrual cups and organic tampons

ETHOS: To offer products for healthy, environmentally friendly, non-polluting, and non-health-damaging menstruation.

Credit: dansmaculotte website

Dans Ma Culotte founders share that the inspiration behind the founding of their French brand was to offer products for healthy, environmentally friendly, non-polluting, and non-health-damaging menstruation, with a secondary goal of being present for everyone who has questions about their menstrual cycle and can not find the answers. Dans Ma Culotte is also very engaged in the message of inclusivity and noted in our interview that:

We believe that everyone can be concerned about the rules, not just women. Some men may have menstrual periods, or rub shoulders with women who have them and it’s important to talk to them too. As mentioned above, we are speaking to all those who wish to have answers to their questions about the menstrual cycle.” -Marilou Betrand, Co-founder Dans Ma Culotte

Credit: dansmaculotte website

DIVACUP

FOUNDED: 2003 by mother-daughter team, Francine Chambers and Carinne Chambers-Saini

LOCATION: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

PRODUCTS: DivaCup in 3 model sizes and DivaWash

ETHOS: By providing sustainable menstrual products, Diva International empowers people to choose the options that work best for their bodies and lifestyles. 

ADVOCACY: DivaCares is DivaCups’s corporate social responsibility program which helps create menstrual equity, which refers to removing systemic barriers so that every menstruating person can access the period care products they need without hardship. Diva International also partners with a number of organizations including PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement, The Ali Forney Center, Native Youth Sexual Health, Be a Rose, Operation Courage is Beautiful and Diva Day. 

Credit: divacup website

When asked about the current dynamic growth of period products, Diva International shared that:

Diva is thrilled to see so many period care options on the market! We plan to continue expanding our availability around the globe and spread the #InnerRevolution so that everyone who menstruates feels comfortable challenging the period status quo. As an ISO-certified company, we stand behind the quality of our products and plan to continue producing reusable, eco-friendly period solutions that help people have a better period experience.” -Virginia Shay, Communications Coordinator, Diva International

ECOFEMME

FOUNDED: 2010 by Kathy Walkling

LOCATION: Tamil Nadu, India

PRODUCTS: Cloth Pads

ETHOS: Ecofemme’s goal is to create environmental and social change through revitalizing menstrual practices that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsive and empowering.

ADVOCACY: EcoFemme’s nonprofit work includes their ‘Pad for Pad’ program which provides schoolgirls in India with menstrual health education as well as provision of a cloth pads and storage set and also their ‘Pad for Sisters’ programs which provides cloth pads at a subsidized price for economically disadvantaged women. 

Credit: ecofemme website

Eco Femme is a women-led social enterprise based in Tamil Nadu, India, selling cloth pads in approximately 24 countries around the world. Their team seeks to create a truly holistic approach to menstruation through integrating ethical business practices, production processes that engage rural women as cloth pad producers and culturally sensitive, life-affirming education about the menstrual experience.

As menstruation is an experience that transcends culture, class, and caste, we see an extraordinary opportunity to advance social transformation and ecological awareness through every step of our work.” -Laura O’Connell, EcoFemme

Credit: ecofemme wesite

When asked about the hashtag they often employ on social media- #clothpadrevolution – EcoFemme noted:

We’re proud of our hashtag and feel it encapsulates our core values. To reclaim ownership of your choices, especially those which concern your body, is a revolutionary act. We see a growing number of people joining that revolution whether it be by becoming vegan or making more sustainable, ethical product choices. In reality, it’s not just a cloth pad revolution but a sustainable menstruation one. It’s amazing how passionate people tend to be once they switch to cloth pads or a menstrual cup – there is a desire to share this knowledge with your friends or family and social media provides a useful way to do it, especially if you feel shy to bring it up in person.” -Laura O’Connell, EcoFemme

FEMMYCYCLE

FOUNDED: 2012 by Dr. Alfred Shihata 

LOCATION: San Diego California 

PRODUCTS: Menstrual cups, Cup cleaners

ETHOS: Extra attention to anatomical variation amongst bleeders is a distinctive trademark of FemmyCycle’s philosophy of product

ADVOCACY: In 2019, FemmyCycle co-sponsored Period.Org’s annual conference in New York.  Period. is a youth-led non-profit that aims to eliminate period poverty in America through education and outreach. FemmyCycle also works with other brands and wellness activists around the world.

Credit: femmycycle website

FemmyCycle has won many awards for its innovation in the world of menstrual hygiene. When asked their thoughts on female insight and business development within femtech, FemmyCycle shared:

It is necessary for entrepreneurs to listen to the needs of women and bleeders in order to discover innovative ways to make their customers lives easier and safer and to use their business to make a positive impact on society.  Innovative menstrual products, for instance, are often more cost-effective, more eco-friendly and much more comfortable than other outdated products. Focusing on the needs of female consumers and encouraging female entrepreneurs is not only philanthropic, but it’s also common sense. Businesses run by women, for women, are the key to a more inclusive, progressive and liberated world.” -Julia Barrett-Mitchell, FemmyCycle

FREDA

FOUNDED: Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne, a.k.a. Affi

LOCATION: UK

PRODUCTS: Pantyliners, pads, tampons- all made from organic cotton

ETHOS: Access to period care is a basic human right

ADVOCACY: Freda runs a social mission, helping women in the UK and abroad have access to free femcare products whilst being educated on their health and wellbeing. 

With regards to their ethos, Freda founder Afsaneh notes that:

Freda is a company run by a woman for woman. Our team is made up of women of various ages from the twenties up to my age so we feel the everyday pains of every age group. Of course, our pads are sustainable but our mission runs far deeper than just the product. We want to create a space and a dialogue where women feel comfortable engaging in topics about female health without judgment and want to be a company that makes women’s periods as easy as possible. Do we talk about tampon tax, yes? Do we talk about cramps? Yes. Our periods may be private but they should not be secret.” -Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne, Founder of Freda

Credit: Hazel Mead ( @hazelmead on instagram)

GLAD RAGS

FOUNDED: 1993 by Brenda Mallory

LOCATION: Portland, Oregon, USA

PRODUCTS: Cloth pads and menstrual cups

ETHOS: To positively transform the experience of menstruation through reusable menstrual products and relevant education.

ADVOCACY: GladRags partners with local organizations to bring reusable menstrual products and education to those in need. They work with a local diaper bank to make sure low-income parents have access to and information about cloth pads and also work with students and colleges to bring information and free products to campuses around the country.

Credit: gladrags website

The GladRags mission is to make cloth pads and menstrual cups go mainstream and empower menstruators everywhere. Inspired by the utility and environmentally friendly nature of cloth diapers, GladRags developed “comfortable, thoughtfully-designed reusable menstrual products”.

When asked about the dynamic growth of the period product industry, GladRags noted that:

It’s been so fun to see this industry grow over the years! The world has come a long way since our founding in 1993, and it’s really been in the past five years since we’ve seen the conversation about periods explode globally. As a values-driven business and a certified Benefit Corporation, we work to ensure that our business supports people and planet, in addition to profit. Our commitment to sustainability and inclusivity is what sets us apart, and I love that about GladRags.” –Tracy Puhl, GladRags

Credit: gladrags website

IMSEVIMSE

FOUNDED: 1988 by Marie Walleberg

LOCATION: Visby, Gotland, Sweden

PRODUCTS: Washable menstrual pads , tampons, wipes & other products 

ETHOS: Organic quality products that are safe for user and environment

ADVOCACY: ImseVimse partners with various organizations, mainly non-profit, as well as schools to aid and educate in the discussion and taboo labeling of menstruation. They mainly donate products, as that is where they see that they help out the most, with a goal to make their products available to as many people as possible.

Credit: imsevimse website

Currently selling in over 50 countries ImseVimse has its headquarters in Visby, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Swedish island of Gotland. They recently opened their first international office, located in San Diego California, serving North and South America.

When asked where they see their brand in the global network of eco-feminine products ImseVimse shared:

Sweden is known as the most sustainable country in the world and way ahead when it comes to sustainable consumption and use of renewable energy sources. At ImseVimse we aim to find more corners of the world that are either already there in their sustainability awareness, and countries we know that we can make a difference and be part of the change.” – Doreen Genmark, Chief Executive Officer USA, ImseVimse

Credit: imsevimse website

LAMAZUNA

FOUNDED: 2010 by Laëtitia Van de Walle

LOCATION: Originally Paris and recently relocated to the Drôme Region (the leading organic region in France)

PRODUCTS: Menstrual cup, cleansing wipes (and a range of other toiletries)

ETHOS: Lamazuna offers products for all the family, to help customers save money – and the planet! 

ADVOCACY: Support of associations like cyclique.fr, part of the Clean Your Cup International Movement. Lamazuna also donates 2% of sales from their website to the Alto Huayabamba project in Amazonia, run by Pur Project (a non-dividend social business) and have already paid for over 4,500 trees to be planted and are also involved in other reforestation projects as well as zero waste product development and awareness. 

Credit: lamazuna website

When asked where they see their brand in the global network of eco feminine products, Lamazuna shared that:

Lamazuna is seen as a female brand though we could not forget that those women are wives, mothers or partners and they are the ones buying the products for all the family and always choose to start a zero waste lifestyle. In the near future also the big cosmetics and no-eco-friendly brands will change their strategy and they will start to use eco-friendly bottles or plastic-free products. The eco-friendly market is growing quickly because more and more people are aware of the change one person can do in the products we choose. Lamazuna is the first complete zero-waste brand in France and EU, there are no other brands with the same range of products like us, but we hope that in the future there will be more and more Lamazuna all over the world. We are not afraid about the competition, we are afraid there will not be quick enough change in order to help our planet and the future of our children.” -Raffaele Chiandussi, Marketing and Communication Manager, Lamazuna

Credit: lamazuna website

LUNAPADS

FOUNDED: 1993 by Suzanne Siemens & Madeleine Shaw

LOCATION: Vancouver BC

PRODUCTS: Period underwear and pads

ETHOS: Deeply committed to building a more environmentally-friendly and socially just way of doing business to ensure a better future for menstruating people and the planet. 

ADVOCACY: Partners with Afripads, a manufacturer and retailer of reusable pads in Uganda, on distribution efforts as well as period education work. Lunapads are also leading corporate donors in their hometown of Vancouver, supporting sustainable menstruation in transition homes and speaking out on the need to support homeless people who menstruate.

Credit: lunapads website

Founded in 1993 by Madeleine Shaw, an aspiring fashion designer who wanted a sustainable solution to the bladder infections she was acquiring from tampons, the original Lunapads (still on sale in their classic line) used organic cotton fleece to provide a comfortable, organic solution. Lunapads are also active queer allies and make a boxer brief with transmasculine consumers in mind. 

When asked about their brand as well as the commitment to zero-waste manufacturing, Lunapads shared that:

We are the OGs of sustainable menstruation. We’ve been in this business for 25 years and we keep to a compass of providing effective, comfortable and sustainable products (…) Vancouver has the mandate to become the greenest city in the world, and so we’re part of a local movement to minimize manufacturing waste. We took our local manufacturing zero waste after building successful partnerships with local recyclers and upcyclers to ensure that none of our materials go to waste. We’ve diverted 3500 lbs of textile waste from landfill in approximately one year.” -Jane Hope, Lunapads

Credit: lunapads website

LUNETTE

FOUNDED: 2005 by Heli Kurjanen

LOCATION: Juupajoki, Finland

PRODUCTS: Menstrual cups, Menstrual Cup Cleansers, Cupwipes

ETHOS: Providing the Lunette Menstrual Cupas convenient, ecological and economical ways to live with periods

ADVOCACY: Partners with NGO’s in low-income settings to provide free or subsidized products and sexual and reproductive health education. Since 2010 Lunette has donated over 30.000 cups to various projects all over the world, works with Planned Parenthood in the USA, Project Consent and the Thirst Project.

Credit: lunette website

Finland based Lunette’s primary mission is to change attitudes about periods: combatting any shame or taboo surrounding menstruation. Education is a core component for Lunette as is the provision of sustainable, safe products for menstrual health management.

When asked about how providing sustainable period products can change lives, Lunette shared that:

By providing safe and accessible period care products, we can make sure that people who bleed can get an education, work throughout the whole month and live healthier and in many ways better life. Periods affect half of the population once a month and yet before the recent years, nobody wanted to talk about them. The more we talk, the more knowledgable we are and the more we can learn from others. Knowledge is power.”-Marianne Sederholm, Lunette

Credit: lunette website

MERULA

FOUNDED: 2016 by Merle-Marie Forstmann and André Eichhorn 

LOCATION: Gau-Odernheim, Germany

PRODUCTS: Menstrual cups

ADVOCACY: Donation of cups in Kenya

Credit: merula-cup website

In 2011, Merula cup founder Merle-Marie learned of menstrual cups in 2011 and, not totally satisfied, dove into design and development to create the Merula Cup with the design she envisioned. What started as a ‘heart project’ (she never intended to create a business) led to the founding of a company she now joyfully runs with her partner. 

Credit: merula-cup website

MODI BODI

LOCATION: Australia with a hub management in the UK

PRODUCTS: Leak/period proof undies, leak and period proof quick dry swimwear, the world’s first leak proof leggings, a maternity range and a teen/tween range called RED, specially formulated to help young girls manage their periods

ETHOS: Modibodi specialises in period & leak proof underwear and swimwear for women of all body types as an environmentally friendly and a sustainable solution to disposable hygiene.

ADVOCACY: Modibodi has teamed with women’s refugees in a range of countries, where through their ‘Give A Pair’ scheme they provide women who have suffered with domestic and family violence a pair of Modibodi underwear, sustainable and reusable to help give them power at a time when they need it most. They have also teamed up with DFGA (Days for Girls) with the aim for every woman to have access to feminine hygiene no matter who you are or where you are in the world

Credit: modibodi website

Modibodi’s demographic is 10-100 year old women as they cater to women in all stages, from periods to maternity to menopause. Their mission is to “keep questioning and inventing and expanding our range so that every body can get involved. All ages, all sexes, all shapes, and sizes. Because we believe that making a positive change in the world should be as easy as changing your undies and swimwear!”

When asked about current product innovation and advocacy work at Modibodi they shared:

At Modibodi we are always thinking of new products and ideas to help the female population live their best lives and to help save the planet. We have just launched a vegan range and we are heavily committed to helping the future females of the world. In the UK we currently work with Brook, undertaking educational visits with RED at a range of schools. We also have a Give A Pair scheme on our website, where consumers can purchase a pair and we will match it, to give a pair for women/girls in need and we actively support causes and organisations that champion the empowerment of women.” – MODIBODI

NATRACARE

FOUNDED: 1989 by Susie Hewson

LOCATION: Bristol, UK

PRODUCTS: Tampons, pads, liners, wipes, maternity, incontinence

ADVOCACY: Among their advocacy partnerships, Natracare works with Community Farm– a community-owned social enterprise, growing and selling organic food through a box delivery service and Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, with proceeds from the Grand Appeal going to the children’s hospital.

Credit: natracare website

Natracare is a forerunner in the global network of eco-feminine products, having been established at a time when organic & natural period products were rare. Founder Susie Hewson’s motivation was to protect women and the environment from the dangerous chemicals she saw being used across the industry. Natracare now sells organic and plastic-free products in 80 countries for women’s health at all stages of life – eco-conscious products for women on their periods, for mothers and new babies, pads for incontinence and wipes for the whole family. 

When asked how they think that providing accessible and sustainable feminine care products to women could change the lives of women and girls Natracare noted that:

Period products are the sort of thing that is handed to you by a trusted adult when you get your first period (for those who are lucky enough to have a trusted adult to do this for them – shout out to the millions of girls who don’t, and who live in period poverty). When it comes to period products, girls tend to trust the first products they encounter. If young girls are provided with sustainable products from the very beginning, then sustainable products become the norm. And we believe they should be the norm, too! Who really wants to use a pad that takes 500 years to break down because of its plastic content?” -Natalie Lam, Natracare

NATURALENA // VEEDA

FOUNDED: Adrian Forsyth & Glenn Ferguson

LOCATION: California

PRODUCTS: Tampons, pads, liners (in addition to other products such as diapers and wipes)

ETHOS: Naturalena works to change lives with natural tampons and pads not made with harmful synthetic materials as well as striving to use biodegradable ingredients, positively benefiting the environment.

ADVOCACY: Veeda has donated to feminine organizations nationwide and internationally including over 75,000 natural cotton pads to World Vision (Ethiopia) and WomanKind in (Zambia, Africa.) They have also recently donated 2.5 Million Happy Little Camper baby wipes across the country, to charities such as Babies Need Bottoms, Harvest Home, and the World Harvest Food Bank, locally in LA.

Credit: naturalenabrands website

Naturalena Brands aims to be the foremost provider of natural, safe and eco- conscious products for the global consumer. With a belief that hygiene products made to touch the most sensitive areas of both a woman and baby’s body should also be safe for the environment. Naturalena Brands along with Veeda also work to combat period poverty, a real issue globally with an approximate 1.2 billion women worldwide who cannot financially afford basic sanitary hygiene. 

When asked what their company does on a local, community-based level in terms of brand awareness, Naturalena shared that:

As a brand that produces both feminine hygiene products and baby hygiene, we’re always on a philanthropic lookout to help those in need within our community. Beyond brand awareness, we’re servicing our local community by donating to local charities on an ongoing effort to aid women and families that can’t afford essential hygiene products. Additionally, we keep the quality of our products high and our prices competitively reasonable. We’re currently in more than 50,000 stores globally. Our goal is to spread awareness of our natural, hypoallergenic brand to more communities not only nationwide, but worldwide.”-Sandra Bojkovska, Naturalena Brands

NATY

FOUNDED: 1994 by Marlene Sandberg

LOCATION: Stockholm, Sweden

PRODUCTS: Pads, Panty liners, tampons (as well as diapers, baby care and maternity care)

ETHOS: Provides women with ecological fem care products made of renewable materials and without any harmful chemicals.

Credit: naty website

With an aim to hold a global leading position in fem care, Natyofferswomen ecological fem care products made of renewable materials and without any harmful chemicals. Having read a newspaper article about the damaging effects disposable diapers had on the Swedish environment, founder Marlene Sandberg was motivated to create a high-quality eco diaper which also led to more baby are as well as feminine and maternity care. On the inspiring moment, Naty shares that: 

“The article said that each baby caused in average a half-ton of used diapers every year. Even more alarming was the fact that traditional disposable diapers were mainly made of plastic from oil. The burden on nature was huge and there were no good alternatives around. That was upsetting! She could not let go of the idea that there had to be a better way of making diapers. So, after five years of research, hard work and development Marlene changed her life completely, from lawyer to an ecological entrepreneur.” -Siri Renander, Naty

OHNE

FOUNDED: Leah Remfrey-Peploe and Nikki Michelson

LOCATION: Remote with a base in London and fulfillment office in Somerset

PRODUCTS: 100% organic tampons on an entirely bespoke subscription model and Anti-Teardrops 1% CBD Oil, which is made with full-spectrum CBD

ETHOS: OHNE works from the belief that every woman has the right to manage her period without shame and with dignity, and is committed to supporting efforts to eradicate period poverty in low-income areas as well as to providing sustainable period products to people in their own communities. 

ADVOCACY: OHNE’s official partner in the School Club Zambia where they work to promote improved menstrual health in rural areas of Zambia via the Girl’s Programme, set up to improve the lives and education of young girls living in rural Zambia. The program allows the contributions of customers to go towards contributing to long-term change in rural schools.- brand new, clean toilet blocks in every school they work with, educating the students about menstruation, and equipping the girls with the skills they need to make their own reusable, sustainable sanitary pads from local resources. OHNE also tries to work with local UK organizations who are aiming to eradicate period poverty.

Credit: ohne website

OHNE is an organic tampon subscription service in the UK, certified by both Soil Association and GOTS. Their belief that “Eco-menstruation is an ever-evolving space and we think its bloody amazing that there are so many options out there for people who want to manage their periods in a more eco-friendly way” is mirrored in their products and advocacy work.

On their products being vegan OHNE notes: 

Honestly it was never a question for us about whether our products would be vegan or cruelty-free – it would have totally gone against our values to exploit animals in the creation of our product. To be completely honest, we don’t think that a brand can reasonably market their product as ecologically friendly or their brand as ethical in any way if it’s exploiting vulnerable living things. These values are just inherently built into our business model.”—-

ORGANIC INITIATIVE (Oi)

FOUNDED: Helen Robinson (CEO)

LOCATION: New Zealand with US headquarters based in Torrance, California

PRODUCTS: tampons, pads, panty liners, the Oi™ Cup and a new smaller product line, created just for young girls, called Oi Girl™

ETHOS: Oi slogans include: “Safe, not synthetic” “Biodegradable is not debatable” “Pure inside nothing to hide” “See red, go green.”

ADVOCACY: Oi partners with an organization named Dignity to supply businesses and schools with Organic Initiative products. Oi also works with social enterprise companies who employ intellectually disabled people to pack all of their sample packs, as one way of giving back to the community. Oi also supports numerous social enterprises and charities both in New Zealand and in the USA including the Cervical Cancer Society.

Credit: oi website


Oi is a New Zealand company led by a team of passionate, holistic women who aim to make big changes. With the reality of the world groaning under the weight of toxins, plastics, and chemicals Oi sought to combine great technology with natural pure ingredients for human health and for the environment. 


When asked about their place in the global network of eco-feminine products, Oi shared:

The organic cotton tampon market in the U.S. alone is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2026 and we see Oi as rapidly becoming a key player in the category, and a positive disrupter voice for change. For us “biodegradable is not debatable” and we aim to shift the feminine hygiene market away from synthetics and create organic cotton and other sustainable products such as the Oi Cup as the new norm. We are already the fastest growing product of our kind in New Zealand and in a little over a year we have broken into Walmart – which accounts for 20% of all feminine hygiene products sold in the U.S., as well as other major retailers and Amazon. We think consumers will see us as the standard for true high-quality, comfortable, effective and affordable organic femcare products.”– Heather Ware, Global Marketing Manager, Oi

Credit: oi website

On the eco-friendly beauty & feminine care community in New Zealand:

“New Zealand is a beautiful and natural country and was the first to give women the vote. It is the heart and soul of our ethos. New Zealand is at the forefront of the global environmental protection movement and we are proud to contribute to our nation’s efforts. We are already taking out millions of pounds of waste in New Zealand and are on the way to taking out tons of refuse in the U.S. as well. Our experience in New Zealand is translating very well to the U.S. market because of the tremendous interest in reducing waste.”
– Heather Ware, Global Marketing Manager, Oi

ORGANICUP


FOUNDED: 2012 

LOCATION: Copenhagen, Denmark

PRODUCTS: 3 sizes of menstrual cups, wash and wipes

ETHOS: OrganiCup is rooted in a belief that period products should not contain harmful chemicals, nor be the cause of major pollution and never a source of shame. On a mission to “change the way periods affect our lives, our bodies, and our environment”, OrganiCup’s approach to period products addresses many critical issues- breaking the barriers of shame that exists around menstruation in many regions, combating the exorbitant waste created by disposable period products and creating non-toxic period products.

ADVOCACY: Multiple partnerships including with Women in Uganda (providing health professionals with menstrual cup training & sales technique), Freedom4Girls in Kenya (fighting period poverty, menstrual taboos and lack of menstrual education), WiseEconomy in South Africa and Namibia (developing menstrual education and access to period products) among many other partnerships.

Credit: organicup website

In 2012 there was an article series in a Danish national newspaper about the menstrual cup and its benefits. We had never heard about anyone using it and, with all its benefits, it made us wonder: why not? That made us think about why no period innovations came to be in decades when half the Earth’s population have periods for a large part of their lives. This was kind of mind-boggling to us when you consider the amount of waste that is created each month by disposable period products, the chemicals they contain that we put inside our bodies and that pollute our planet, and all the girls around the world, not just in developing countries, that stay away from school because they can’t afford period products or because they are ashamed of their period. We wanted to change that. So we’re on a journey to change the way periods affect our lives, our bodies, and our environment.”-Ida at OrganiCup

Credit: organicup website

SAALT

FOUNDED: 2018 by sisters-in-law Cherie Hoeger & Amber Fawson

LOCATION: Boise, Idaho

PRODUCTS: Saalt cup, Saalt Wash, Saalt Duo Pack

ETHOS: Supporting individuals to make healthier and more sustainable choices in period care, and believe that through innovation, you can absolutely do so without compromising comfort or convenience. Commitment to offering only clean and toxin-free products that are both healthier for consumers and sustainable for the planet.

ADVOCACY: Saalt allocates 2% of their revenue to donate period cups in the US and abroad, help turn cup users to cup mentors in their home countries, teach basic reproductive health, and fund school scholarships for girls and work initiatives for women. Since their launch in February 2018, Saalt has donated over 2,500 Saalt Cups to women and girls in need, which helped to serve over 8,700 menstrual cycles and divert over 140,000-period waste products from landfills. They have also started pilot donation programs in 12 countries (including the USA) and funded 1,800 days of school through scholarships for girls in rural Nepal. 

Credit: saalt website

Chatting with Saalt their team noted that they “…see Saalt as a brand that is at the forefront of innovation and advocacy for people wanting healthier, more eco-feminine options.”

On the synergy of female insight and business development in the period care products industry:

Female founders have a unique ability to understand this space and the glaring needs in the market. At Saalt, we are driven to not only find the best period care solutions but to contribute to growing the bigger conversation of breaking down the stigmas surrounding period talk. On one hand, it has been incredible to see just how tuned-in to the period conversation many men are, as well as people who don’t menstruate. We always hear about brothers, boyfriends, and husbands who are spreading the word about reusable period products. But as they do that, we notice they naturally look to female-led companies and female researchers and journalists to lead them with data, teaching material, and innovative products.”-Cherie Hoger, Saalt

SELENA CUP

FOUNDED: 2016 by New Handels Systems GmbH

LOCATION: Austria

PRODUCTS: Menstrual cups

ETHOS: Selena Cup products have been developed with health, the cost for the consumer and the planet in mind. A modern alternative to tampons and pads, the cup is conceived to eliminate the waste generating with other period products as well as one that is safe for health and exceptionally designed. 

ADVOCACY: Work with Edbeerwoche in Austria, supporting their cause Ready for Red which educates young people in schools about period education, assisting individuals with no funds to buy menstrual cups to have access.

Credit: selenacup website

We do our part to make a difference in making menstrual cups mainstream. I do still get a lot of push back from supermarkets and drug stores who have already one cup on their shelves to not wanting to stock a second brand or not wanting to stock a menstrual cup at all. A dream would be to see as many menstrual cup brands on the shelves as tampon or pad brands.” Masja at Selena Cup

SI-BELL

FOUNDED: 2010 by company Sterne

LOCATION: Provence, France

PRODUCTS: Si-Bell Cup

ETHOS: Si-Bell’s mission is to help women feel better during their period, to give access to more women around the world to menstrual cups and facilitate increased respect for the environment

ADVOCACY: Distribution of menstrual cups for inmates at penitentiary centers

Credit: sibell website

Si-BELL’s founding inspiration was to make menstrual cups more accessible to women around the world and to also create period products that are gentler on the environment. Their main goal is to help women become acquainted with the menstrual cup, working with different commercial partners to expand the cup awareness through the world.

THINX

FOUNDED: 2011 by Antonia Saint Dunbar

LOCATION: NYC, USA

PRODUCTS: range of period underwear

ETHOS: THINX mission is to create innovative period solutions that empower people and sustain the planet while breaking taboos about menstruation and reproductive health everywhere.

ADVOCACY: THINX partners with PERIOD, the largest youth-run nonprofit in the world, for their ‘United for Access’ campaign, demanding free and easy access to period products for US students. Through their ”EveryBody program’ they work with schools, after-school programs, and nonprofits to empower young people with education about their bodies. THINX donates period products to grassroots organizations and local initiatives who ensure distribution and also provides funding for programs and services that support underserved communities, including survivors of domestic violence, refugees, and people experiencing homelessness.

Credit: thinx website

THINX is committed to breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation. We see a world where no woman is held back by her body. We will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves. By reimagining feminine hygiene products to provide support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind, we aim to eliminate shame, empowering women and girls around the world.”-THINX

WUKA

FOUNDED: 2017 by Ruby Raut

LOCATION: Hertfordshire, England

PRODUCTS: Period underwear, bralettes and wash-bags 

ETHOS: WUKA’s mission is both about smashing taboos and tackling environmental issues. WUKA stands for Wake Up KickAss, getting rid of shame and taboos around periods. 

ADVOCACY: WUKA works with local communities, schools, and government so people can have better access to sustainable menstrual products. 

Credit: wuka website

WUKA Wear combines their skills of fashion and technology to create period panties that are gentle to the planet and as well as eco-friendly, comfortable and soft to use. Founder Ruby Raut’s background in charity work and “environmenstrual” projects contributed to WUKA’s founding, and her motivation to found a company for reusable menstrual products and work with menstrual education & awareness.

When asked about their mission, WUKA shared that:

“We hope that through retail and wholesale growth we will be able to fund additional education and period poverty prevention initiatives around the world. Everyone who menstruates deserves to have better, more sustainable, and healthier options to manage their period so making WUKA available globally is a very important mission for us.” – WUKA

On the importance of synergy of female insight and business development in the current innovative space of period products:

“Absolutely, women are disrupting every work industry more than ever and certainly Femtech is one of them. There are some amazing women in the UK working in this industry, bringing their creativity and life’s experiences to the period positive movement.” -WUKA

Which is your favorite eco-friendly feminine products brand? Let us know in the comments below.

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Annika Lundkvist

Director of Public Relations & Media| [email protected]

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