Good talked to Josie Milton from the new social enterprise The Monthly Co. delivering organic cotton tampons to-your-door, with every purchase resulting in a donation of tampons to women currently going without in NZ.
What gave you the idea for The Monthly Co. ?
It came about at the beginning of this year when my co-founder, Isabelle Smith and I were having a chat about the stories we’d seen in the media highlighting women and girls who were missing work or school just to manage their periods. Then there was a proposal for Pharmac to subsidise tampons which was sadly rejected. It got us thinking about how crazy it is that the price of tampons has made them a luxury item for some women and girls in New Zealand.
The other side of the problem is that for women who can afford these products they are still a real hassle and inconvenience to buy and no one likes to get caught short.
The idea of The Monthly Co. was to provide two-fold solution to these problems- we’re providing a convenient service for women to get tampons delivered to their door, while at the same time restoring dignity to disadvantaged women who currently do not have safe or affordable access to sanitary products.
What made you think about adding the women’s refuge donations as part of your business model?
From the beginning our mission has always been to provide a way to support women helping other women. We decided to meet with Aviva (formerly the Christchurch Women’s Refuge) and they told us about how the effects of family violence are often associated with financial disadvantage, and these women can then be further marginalised by the recurring costs of sanitary products. We knew we could still have a sustainable business model while also making a positive impact. Aviva were on board with our idea from the get go.
What has the feedback been like so far with your PledgeMe campaign?
We’ve had awesome feedback and support from our crowdfunding community. So far more than 240 people have pledged in support of our campaign (it finishes on October 15) and we’ve received hundreds of comments, messages and notes wishing us success. Numerous local NZ businesses have also supported our campaign rewards. We’re very grateful for the generous support of everyone who has helped us get this far.
Why organic tampons?
After researching into suppliers, we discovered that the types of tampons we commonly buy from the supermarket are often made of synthetic materials (such as wood pulp fibres or synthetic coatings) rather than pure cotton. The manufacturing process to create synthetic or conventional cotton tampons also uses a number of harsh chemicals which can contaminate soils and water systems.
After finding this out, the decision to go organic cotton was easy. As a social enterprise it is important for us to not only have a positive social impact but also a positive environmental impact. Being organic cotton means our tampons are also 100 per cent biodegradable and the land our cotton is sourced from is not chemically loaded – which means our product is better for our customers and the environment.
To pledge your support for The Monthly Co., visit their Pledge Me campaign here.