Every girl has experienced the feeling of finishing their last pack of pads or tampons. But for some, this is more than a feeling. It is a state of being. The logic is clear: no woman should ever have to choose between food or menstrual products, yet many struggle to buy these essential products on a monthly basis. Fortunately, many companies and social enterprises are helping by using their profits to donate menstrual products or provide menstrual education. Help support these companies’ missions while also receiving healthy and innovative products for yourself!
Marlow, founded by Ivey grads, is designing a tampon that allows for easy insertion. For billions of people who menstruate, tampon insertion is incredibly uncomfortable, if not painful. And pads don’t always cut it - whether you’re headed to the beach, playing sports, or wearing certain clothes. With this in mind, Marlow is working alongside gynecologists to devise a more comfortable tampon design. Aside from their physical product, the company is engaging a community of young people in crucial conversations surrounding period stigma. The founding team notes that most individuals are on auto-pilot mode.
We’ve come to accept the bare minimum because we’re uncomfortable asking for anything more. However, through education and conversation, we can learn to recognize and address our own individual needs. As a result, listening to real people and identifying where other products have fallen short are the key focuses of Marlow.
The expected launch date of their innovative tampons is Fall 2020, and their proceeds will be used towards additional education/awareness, increased accessibility for menstrual products, as well as women’s health research.
Based in the U.S., Aunt Flow is committed to ensuring everyone has access to period products. For every 10 tampons and pads sold, Aunt Flow donates 1 to PERIOD.ORG, a non-profit that distributes sanitary products to people in need. To date, they have donated close to 500,000 menstrual products. Claire, the founder of Aunt Flow, believes that menstrual products should be free of chemicals like chlorine and synthetic dyes—ingredients most commonly found in name brand tampons. Aunt Flow sells a unique variety of products from the basics such as pads and tampons to hygienic dispensers and liner bags. In response to the pandemic, the company is also offering PPE and sanitization supplies which can all be found on their website. The website uses a unique algorithm to determine when you will need more products so simply create an account and re-order with monthly subscriptions.
Cora is an organic tampon company that uses a portion of its revenue to provide sanitary products as well as health education to girls worldwide. During her travels to emerging countries around the globe, Molly, Cora’s founder, came to discover the disabling effects menstruation can have on girls. She decided to take action by providing more womxn with access to safe and effective period products and imparting valuable information pertaining to menstrual health. Through partnerships with other community-based organizations including the ZanaAfrica foundation in Kenya and Aakar Innovations in India, Cora continues to deliver on its goal of supplying sanitary products and empowering women. At home, Cora partners with multiple non-profits across the US by providing period products to over 100 ,00 girls in need. A wide range of organic products is offered and can be purchased monthly, including liners, pads, cleansers, balms, and period underwears. You can also take quizzes and customize a monthly package of products that work for you, while changing the lives of girls worldwide
Aisle (formerly known as Lunapads) is headquartered in Vancouver and was founded by Suzanne Siemens and Madeleine Shaw. Known for their environmentally sustainable reusable pads, period underwear and menstrual cups, Aisle has helped supply more than 17,000 women in 18 nations with menstrual products, while also providing essential education. In 2008, they supported the launch of AFRIpads, a startup based in Uganda that provides pubert/menstrual health education and employs members of the local community. In 2016, Aisle and AFRIpads collaborated to develop a graphic novel booklet, educating young women in developing countries which has since been translated into multiple languages. Here at home, Aisle is advocating for period products to be freely available in local schools and shelters. Their well-established partnership with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network in North America has allowed them to provide menstrual products to indingenous birth workers, rights of passage ceremonies, and sexual education workshops since 2015.
TOP is an American company founded by two moms (Denielle and Thyme), aiming to tackle period poverty as well as provide healthy and organic period products to young girls in need. Their motto is Better for You, Better for the Planet, and Better for Others. TOP focuses on organic and hypoallergenic products, promoting environmental sustainability by using only 100% organic cotton without chemicals or dyes. A study published by Period.org concluded that almost one in five teens were unable to afford period products in the States and almost 25 percent missed school due to the lack of access. This statistic inspired Denielle and Thyme to donate TOP’s menstrual products to local schools, shelters, and nonprofits for every purchase made. To date, they have accomplished this goal by donating more than 250,000 period products. Products can be shipped to Canada with a bi-monthly subscription, or on a one-time basis.