Good news, aspiring Girl Bosses: Female entrepreneurship is on the rise.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are now almost ten million companies in the United States owned by women, employing more than 7 million people and generating almost 2 billion dollars in sales. There are so many reasons to celebrate steps in the direction of gender parity in business, and who can deny that businesses owned by women are more adept at marketing to the needs and desires of other women?
Case in point: the proliferation of companies that manufacture and distribute menstrual-care products. If you’re still skulking into your local drugstore to purchase pads and tampons laden with chlorine and other harsh chemicals, let’s just say that you’re a few years behind the zeitgeist. There are currently several women-owned companies offering premium period-care products, and each has a slightly different emphasis and price point.
Rael is an online store for menstrual care products that was launched in 2017 by a trio of educated and accomplished friends in California: Aness (a journalist and author), Yanghee (a Harvard MBA and former film exec at Disney), and Binna (architect/art director). Their mantra is quality, performance and convenience, and they did a lot of work before launching to ensure that their products would have a stellar supply chain. They source organic cotton from Texas farmers, and then ship the raw material to sterile labs in South Korea for processing. The cotton tampons and maxi pads (available in different sizes and absorbancies) are shipped to Rael’s distribution center in California. The company also produces other items associated with personal care during the menstrual cycle such as panties, feminine wash, cleansing wipes and facial sheet masks. Pads and tampons are about $6 per package (14 count), and Rael offers a range of awards and discounts for following the company on social media and referring your friends.
Lola is a subscription service founded by best friends Jordana and Alex in 2015 and offers a range of quality products relating to reproductive health, including tampons, pads, vitamins (formulated to ease menstrual cramps), condoms, lubricants and cleansing wipes. The items are shipped for free every four or eight weeks, according to your customizable subscription. Pads and tampons start at $10 (per box of 12), and lubricated condoms and cleansing wipes are $10 for a box of 12.
Athena Club is a monthly subscription service launched by Maria Markina and Allie Griswold in 2018 with $3.8 million in venture capital funding which they managed to procure from a group of male investors. Their focus is affordable, high-quality period products that are free of dyes, chlorine and harsh chemicals. Monthly subscriptions start at $6.50 (including shipping), and with each purchase, the funders make a contribution to period.org, an NGO which provides menstrual products to women in need.
Cora is a period care company started by a woman named Molly and a male business partner of hers named Morgan who was distressed by his wife’s struggles to purchase adequate pads and tampons while they were traveling through developing countries. Cora offers monthly subscriptions of organic cotton pads and tampons starting at about $13. The company is also dedicated to activism and social change through their website bloodandmilk.com which features articles about menstruation, sexuality and life in a woman’s body. Cora also donates period care products to women in need throughout the world.