The Periodical was created to turn a monthly taboo into something much more ‘Woohoo!’

The Periodical was created to turn a monthly taboo into something much more ‘Woohoo!’

As our studio is full of clever, passionate and hilarious (self-proclaimed) women, we feel it’s vital to celebrate and promote the great work of International Women’s Day. 

Over the course of this week, leading up to IWD, we will be featuring empowering businesswomen from a range of fields, including finance, education, health, and social enterprise. We’ve curated a list of five incredible female role models and brands who put their values at the heart of their business and share them all in a blog series, just for you. So, put those feet up, pour yourself that overdue glass of red and get ready to be inspired.

 

We are living in a world where even though women will experience 456 periods over 38 years (that’s 6.25 years of our life) people are somehow still uncomfortable to talk about basic women’s health issues. Granted, the topic of menstruation is (thankfully) becoming less off limits – I mean, hello – a film about periods just won an Oscar, yet there is still a long way to go.

That’s where Beth comes in…

We love The Periodical! But, for those who aren’t yet familiar with your concept and offering, can you give us the elevator pitch?

The Periodical is an organic tampon subscription service. When you sign up, your PMS (Periodical Monthly Subscription) gets delivered each month along with some treats to help you though your period.

Why was this a product / service you felt compelled to create? Is this a cause especially close to your heart?

I wanted to help women ‘period better’. For most of us, it happens every month, so why not make it a more enjoyable experience. Part of this is breaking down the taboo often associated with periods. It’s also about providing more access to 100% organic cotton tampons which are better for our bodies and the environment. And for each sale, we’re helping girls get access to an education in Northern Uganda. Empowering women is really important to me. I’ve always been a huge advocate for girls’ education (because it breaks the cycle of poverty). And as I learnt more about health and the impacts of products on our bodies, I was also passionate about telling more women and helping them find access to better products.

The brand’s copy is SO well toned. How important do you think it is to make conversation around periods commonplace, shame-free and even funny?

Thanks! I see The Periodical as the sassy and sophisticated friend you drink rosé with on a Sunday afternoon and laugh about your period stories. I want The Periodical to be relatable. When you think about it, tampons and pads have been sold to us through shame…don’t let anyone know you have your period…don’t stop doing what you normally do just because you have your period. (But seriously, who ever feels like riding or horse when their day one of their period?). So the tone of my brand is solidarity with sisters. We’re created by women, for women.

Can you share three of the most surprising facts around women’s wellbeing you’ve learnt since working on this project?

  1. I’ve been really shocked to learn just how absorbent our vagina is! So we need to make sure that what we’re putting up there isn’t full of toxic chemicals!
  2. How much stress can impact our cycle. If you’ve had a particularly stressful month you might find yourself with more cramps or a heavier flow.
  3. I’ve also learnt how to live in sync with my cycle. For example, ovulation is a great time to be around people, so scheduling social events, public speaking or important meetings. And the before you get your period is a good time to quiet down. Say no to things, enjoy your own company, listen to your intuition and it’s a great time to complete tasks.

And educate us on some of the environmental effects of the tampon industry?

This is something that truly shocked me. Did you know that conventional tampons have a plastic lining (polypropylene) to hold them together (and give them a silky look) but it means that tampons can take up to 500 years to biodegrade! 500 years! That is absolutely staggering. Not to mention some women still flush them down the toilet, so they’re floating around in our oceans.

Organic tampons don’t contain any of the nasty toxic chemicals or plastics in conventional tampons and will biodegrade in 5 years.

What does real sisterhood mean to you? And how does The Periodical propagate and celebrate this?

Sisterhood is giving your last tampon to the stranger in the cubicle next to you cause you know how it feels. It’s buying from brands that empower women. It’s esteeming the women in your life because you want to see them succeed. It was really important to me that The Periodical not just be about providing good quality products to women in Australia, but ensuring that girls and women around the world are given an education, as well as access to healthcare and proper sanitation. We’re not free until all of us are free.

Have you faced any big challenges in getting the business off the ground? Either practical or social or both?

It’s definitely taken longer to get off the ground than I expected. The most important thing for me is quality. I’ve been rigorous in my research of the companies I use, so it’s taken some time to nail my supply chain. I’ve worked mostly with other women-led businesses which has been great because there’s a real sense of wanting to see each other succeed.

What changes do you hope to see in society in regards to female menstrual health in the next few years?

It’s taken a long time, but I feel like things have changed rapidly in the past few years and menstruation is becoming somewhat less taboo as a topic. I really hope that in Australia women can have more flexibility at work so if they need they can work from home if they’re having a bad period. But most importantly I want to see stigmas attached to periods in many of the developing countries dismantled. No more girls dying in huts in Nepal, or girls missing school in India.

What are you thankful for this International Women’s Day? And what are you angry about?

I’m thankful that I live in a society that allows me the choice of how I live my life as a woman. Six decades ago my grandmother was forcing her way into education and business, coming up against so many obstacles we can’t even imagine. I’m so grateful that our society is much more equal (though I acknowledge there are still some mindsets that need to shift). I’m angry that sexism (and racism for that matter) still prevail. It’s so old!

And to finish us off, what’s one message you are passionate about sharing with the next generation of women?

Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do with your body. Do your research before you put things in or up (I’m talking about tampons!) your body. The information is available to you, you just need to seek it out.

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