Conscious Period is a new startup on a mission to provide healthier period products to all women. They offer 100% organic cotton tampons, and their social enterprise model provides biodegradable pads to women living in homelessness across the country. The FDA currently does not require tampon manufacturers to disclose ingredients, which means women could be unknowingly putting potentially toxic fibers into one of the most absorbent parts of their bodies. Another concerning number is that 39 states tax tampons as non-necessary goods, making them even more expensive to women living below the poverty line.
The Conscious Period solution:
- Conscious Period tampons are crafted with the best 100% organic & hypoallergenic cotton, free of chemicals, synthetics and dyes.
- Conscious Period tampons come with a compact and convenient BPA-free plastic applicator, because no woman should have to sacrifice comfort for health.
- For every purchase, Conscious Period provides biodegradable pads to homeless women in the US. Their social enterprise model will also eventually employ these same low-income women to produce pads to help fill shelters’ long-term needs.
Conscious Period is also looking to going even further. They are working hard to develop local manufacturing capabilities to employ the same women they serve to produce the pads locally and fill shelters’ long term needs.
Below is a Q&A with Annie Lascoe & Margo Lang, the co-founders of Conscious Period.
Q: How have you found that creating organic tampons free of toxins, has challenged women’s views of major companies selling sanitary pads and tampons in the U.S?
We have found that women are really surprised to learn that there are so many loopholes that allow major corporations to use potentially toxic and harmful ingredients in their tampons. Most women haven’t even thought about what is in their tampons because they trust the system to keep their bodies safe. As more and more evidence emerges suggesting that these products might not be safe, we see women losing confidence in that system. This space looks a lot like the organic food movement did 10 years ago. As people become more educated about what goes into the products they put into their bodies, they start to make different purchasing decisions.
Q: Do you partner with specific local shelters and organizations to distribute your products to homeless women?
Yes. Our first giving partner is an organization called Lava Mae, which transforms retired city buses into mobile showers to address the hygiene needs of San Francisco’s homeless population. As they expand their operations into other cities, we will grow with them. As we continue to scale our business, we are looking to partner with additional like-minded organizations around the country to supply product in their communities as well.
Q: Do you source all the materials for your product from within the U.S.?
Currently, our tampons are being made in Europe. As we develop the pad manufacturing element of our business in the USA, we will source our raw materials locally.
Q: How do you think your brand will affect the buying trends of young girls?
We don’t just sell tampons; we spread awareness about product innovation and social action. We’ve heard from so many young girls (some who haven’t even started their periods yet!) who, after learning about these issues, feel more educated and empowered in their purchasing decisions – asking their parents to buy for them and then, eventually, purchasing themselves. We want young girls to become more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies and also more aware that some of their peers may struggle to afford a basic product we so often take for granted. We hope to inspire them not only to buy socially and environmentally responsible products, but also to encourage these kinds of initiatives from their employers as they enter the workforce.
Q: You are looking to eventually employ the women you serve to produce your products locally. What’s your plan to help make that happen?
We are currently collaborating with local government officials to set up the manufacturing of our products here in LA. We are also partnering with organizations that already serve these low-income populations to make sure that our social enterprise model evolves to most effectively meet their needs. There are many organizations that have employee training programs and we hope to be a company that can provide permanent employment to their graduates.