The push for period positivity with DAME
Sustainable personal care brand DAME is on a mission to rebrand periods.
Written by HYER NEWSROOM
Sustainable personal care brand DAME is on a mission to rebrand periods. It’s a bold statement, but one that encapsulates all that this innovative brand is trying to achieve – from changing the association with periods to empowering individuals to make more sustainable choices. “Then,” says DAME co-founder Alec Mills, “we’ll have cracked it.”
‘It’ is a transformation of the femcare space. Currently dominated by only a handful of brands and characterised by huge inconsistency in terms of access to products and information, DAME aims to not only make reusable period products more acceptable and accessible, but to challenge the lack of investment generally in the female experience.
Interview with Co Founder, Alec Mills
“It's amazing how little money has gone into developing solutions for what women go through on a physical, emotional, even social level. So, while yes, we make period products, we’re really trying to address a much greater issue – that of equality.”
Alec Mills, Co-founder
Having started out selling subscriptions of big brand period products, co-founders Alec Mills and Celia Pool not only realised that everything they sold created plastic waste, but that women weren’t adopting the reusable options that were available. Further research found the lack of uptake was because the jump from disposable to reusable was perceived as too big, and so the idea to create a product that bridged the gap was born.
Enter DAME’s reusable tampon applicator, which works in exactly the same way as a disposable applicator but instead of throwing it away, it’s simply rinsed in cold water between uses. It’s just one of the many simple solutions created by DAME to address the issues and open up the conversation around periods.
And it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Girls that rely on period education in schools have, at best, an unpredictable experience. Boys might or might not be included in discussions, which means they often don’t understand periods and may act in a way that adds to the narrative of shame and embarrassment surrounding them.
At home, girls are often given the wrong products, both for their bodies and for the environment, because of a lack of choice. That experience can affect their confidence and their relationship with their bodies - and the longer it goes on, the more they get into the habit of using the same products each month, the harder it is to change.
“We’re trying to show women who may have used the same products for years, that there are options out there that can make their period experience much better for their body and ultimately for the planet as well.”
Alec Mills, Co-founder
Increasing women’s awareness of the options and the impact of period products on the environment and their bodies is one of DAME’s main aims. It’s estimated there are 100billion period products thrown away globally every year. In the UK alone, 2.5 million tampons are flushed every day and 90% of high street period products contain plastic.
DAME’s products have already saved 12million plastic applicators from landfill – increasing to 300million pieces of plastic if you consider wrappings, tampons and pads. It’s the world’s first climate-positive period brand, and products are certified by The Vegan Society as being free from any animal-derived products or products tested on animals. Products and their wrappings are biodegradable and can even be composted in a private compost bin. And while high street products contain up to 3,000 different ingredients, DAME products are free from any toxins or single-use plastics.
It's this last point that is really challenging people’s views around their periods. While sustainability is undoubtedly important, 80% of DAME’s customers report that their periods are either lighter, shorter or less painful when using DAME tampons, because of the reduction in chemicals. It’s not surprising when you consider that the vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of the body. Alec is particularly proud of one message from a student, who said that not only is she saving money on painkillers each month, but the reduction in painful cramps has given her the confidence to go to the library to revise, so she’s actively achieving more.
This is exactly the kind of empowerment that DAME set out to achieve and will continue to strive towards. For Alec and Celia, the success of DAME is about much more than providing access to period products. It’s about breaking down the social stigma surrounding periods, helping women to understand their menstrual cycle, to be at one with their bodies and the products they use - and in doing so, unlocking their true potential.
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