We’re past the point of beating around the bush – period care bloody matters.
For (literally) forever, people who menstruate haven’t been given options. Period care has suffered from innovation scarcity, poor accessibility and insufficient sustainability. It’s also just been straight-up uncomfy, am I right?
So leave it up to two brilliant women to change the game.
New Zealand brand Hello Period is home to the world’s top rated reusable period care, starring its hero product – the Hello Cup. Their lineup is friendly to both the environment and down there, so it’s a total win-win.
We were lucky enough to sit down with co-founder Robyn McLean and pick her brain on all things period care, from environmental impacts and period poverty to the difference between a menstrual cup and disc (and how the heck to pick one).
And spoiler alert, Hello Period will be stocking Aussie shelves soon! Keep reading to find out where you’ll be able to spot them.
Kiindred: Tell us the backstory of Hello Period and how it came about.
Robyn McLean: I founded Hello Period with my best friend Mary Bond. We first met at school when we were 11 years old but didn’t get into business with each other until a few years ago. We both battled with terrible periods for years and became frustrated with the lack of innovation in the period care market. For too long we’d been told tampons and pads were the only option but they’re expensive, wasteful and not overly comfortable or reliable.
When I tried my first menstrual cup it changed my life. It made my periods easier to manage and I wish I had discovered them earlier. However, the cup I tried wasn’t perfect and I saw the opportunity to create something that was not only functional but beautifully designed.
I called Mary with an idea and in 2017 we founded Hello Period. The rest is history.
K: Period care is undergoing a major makeover right now, and a big part of that is the push for sustainability. Can you talk about the environmental perks to reusable period care, and why it’s a big deal?
RM: The first tampon ever used is still somewhere on our planet trying to disintegrate, which is pretty horrific to me, as is the fact that some marine life mistake plastic-ridden tampons for food. We can do better!
We have ensured that our packaging is plastic free, recyclable and home-compostable. Our Hello Cups and Hello Discs will last up to five years (the equivalent of 2000 single-use products) and replace the need for single-use period products such as tampons and pads.
Hello Period is on-track to divert 1 Billion single-use period products from the world’s landfills by 2030. We are a certified B Corporation business (only businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability receive the B Corp designation).
K: Recently in Australia, states like Victoria and the ACT are working towards providing free period products to support access and address period poverty. How do sustainable products, like at Hello Period, also hit these targets?
RM: We’d love to see sustainable period products being supplied by agencies in Australia and around the world to those in need. Because sustainable options like menstrual cups and discs last for years, they are a great solution to help reduce period poverty. They are far more economical in the long run for providers and also they are much, much better for the environment. Tampons and pads take up to 500 years to break down in landfill. It’s crazy. It’s a huge problem and so it should be a no-brainer so, again, they should be the first option for those in power who are trying to combat period poverty.
K: Let’s talk about period stigma. Why do we need to have better conversations around menstrual health and period care access?
RM: We need to be having open conversations around menstrual health because knowledge is power. More than 50% of the population menstruate and yet many still treat it like a taboo topic. By discussing menstrual cycles and creating a community of supporting people who menstruate we learn of the best choices that can be made for our bodies.
K: What are some ways we can de-shame this vital part of women’s health?
RM: To start these important conversations and make it mainstream. Whether it’s chatting with your friends, engaging your favourite influencer who openly talks about their menstrual health or reading articles in the media. The more we see it, hear it or read it, the more normal it will become.
K: You run a pretty awesome program called “Hello Kindness,” can you tell us a bit about it?
RM: Hello Kindness is Hello Period’s giving programme. It supports people and organisations who are doing work to improve the lives of others around the globe. For every $50 donated, Hello Period donates a Hello Cup, Hello Disc or a pair of Hello Undies on behalf of the donor to a partner charity.
K: Okay so getting into the products themselves – menstrual cups vs menstrual discs. What’s the difference and how do we choose between them?
RM: Choosing between a Hello Cup and Hello Disc comes down to personal preference.
We launched Hello Period with our menstrual cup Hello Cup. After winning several awards including Cosmopolitan USA’s Best Menstrual Cup we wanted to expand our range to be inclusive for all, which meant designing specialist cups for people with low and high cervixes. It uses suction under the cervix and holds three times more than a regular tampon or sanitary pad
The Hello Disc is the first menstrual disc in the world to have a double-looped tab to make removal easy and mess-free, the Hello Disc is one-size-fits most and can be worn for up to 12 hours. It also holds five times more than a regular tampon or pad. The Disc sits up behind the pubic bone so is a great option for no mess period sex and is IUD friendly.
We also sell Hello Undies – our range of amazing period underwear and Hello Pads – reusable pads on our website.
K: You’re the only sustainable period company in the world that has options for everyone with a period, with internal and external products and speciality menstrual cups for different cervix heights. Why is this important to you guys?
RM: We are in a very unique position that gives us a point of difference in the period care space and it’s a great place to be in! We wanted to ensure anyone with a period had a high quality sustainable option they could opt to use – whether it was menstrual cups, discs, underwear or pads. We’re proud to offer something for everyone.
K: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to make the transition to sustainable period care?
RM: Trust me and learn from me – a menstrual cup or disc will change your period life for the better and your biggest regret will be not making the change sooner. High quality reusable period care holds more than single use products like tampons and pads. Not only that but they’re more comfortable and last for years – good for you and good for your wallet!
If you are new to reusable period care here are a few tips if you are using a period cup or disc for the first time:
- Don’t assume your cervix is ‘straight up’. The habitat of the cervix is a curious one. Some like to hang out to the side, some like to angle themselves backwards. If your cervix is in those categories, it doesn’t mean you can’t use a cup or disc but you may have to experiment with the angle it sits on.
- Use a reusable liner or period underwear while you are mastering your cup or disc if you want an extra layer of security.
- We recommend you measure where your cervix sits before you start using menstrual cups. We have our cervix measurement guide and specialist cups specifically designed for low and high cervix if you find you are in one of those categories.
K: And finally, we’re so stoked that Hello Period is coming to Australia, where can folks find you?
RM: We’re so excited to have crossed the ditch! Hello Period will be available in more than 200 select TerryWhite Chemmart stores Australia-wide, stocking the full range of regular Hello Cups, including the low and high cervix cups. as well as the innovative and award-winning Hello Disc. You can find the full range of Hello Period products at www.helloperiod.com, prices start from $15.99.