A BIG Diva Thank You!

Every so often you receive news that makes you so excited all you can do is cheer! These moments have been greeting us weekly over the past few months.

Momentum surrounding sustainable menstrual care and The DivaCup is building. Women are excited to share their knowledge about The DivaCup with their school, workplace and girlfriends. Teachers and doctors are joining us in our mission to empower women with a better period care solution. And because of all of this, The DivaCup is being welcomed into stores around the world, making it easier for women to discover period bliss.

As the Diva Team celebrates 10 years of wonderful business excitement continues to build! We are being greeted by incredible retailer opportunities, customer testimonials and media coverage every day!

And as you all know, us Divas never shy away from reasons to celebrate.

A few things we are especially excited for include:

  • Last week we reached 20,000 likes on our Facebook page!
  • Next week we are starting our 10 Best Diva Moments Giveaway that is looking to be a fantastic online celebration.
  • The DivaCup is now available in over 20 countries around the world and we are excited to announce our newest regions, Peru and Nicaragua.
  • We cannot wait to introduce our new health educator web portal and campus kits in 2014!
  • Partnering with and offering our support to organizations like Sexpressions, Feby Empowerment Inc. and CeMCOR.
  • And in just a few months, launching the first ever DivaCup Instagram campaign!

We cannot thank our Divas enough for all your support and enthusiasm! Because of your stories and excitement, The DivaCup is giving women and young girls around the world the opportunity to have a better period care experience.

Thank You! Merci! Danke! ¡Gracias!

Francine-Signature

 

 

 

{Guest Post} Love Your Cycle, Love Yourself

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We all know that once a girl reaches a certain age, her body changes slowly but surely into that of a woman. She grows and develops breasts and hips and she begins her period. That first period (menarche) starts a pattern that will continue for decades. The most notable indication of the pattern is she will get her period approximately once every month for a few days. But so much more happens every day between the symptoms of our periods and understanding the influence we as women are exposed to, thanks to our menstrual cycle, creates a heightened awareness, an invisible strength and empowerment.

This is the time of year for many new beginnings and I propose that if you aren’t already, you make it a time to chart your cycle and get to know yourself better and encourage your daughters, nieces, sisters and friends to do the same.

The menstrual cycle is intrinsic. It is faithful. We simply need to acknowledge and interpret it to the best of our ability to generate a source of great empowerment and peace.

The menstrual cycle is not just about the flow, although many assume it is. Sure, the days we have to care for our cycle are a bit of a nuisance and often come at an inconvenient time, but our periods are also a gift; a validation that our body is working reliably as it should.

Like my 14-year old daughter said “periods are gross and beautiful at the same time.”

Another integral element to our cycle is ovulation which is paramount to the entire process and has a profound effect on us.

When a woman ovulates it’s as though a light inside has been turned brighter and she glows, smiling and laughing, compelled by a wonderful energy that dances within her. It’s an elixir that can’t be bought (though many try). It’s Mother Nature in top form, astounding us in her beauty and purpose; life. We are a life force. Our hormones are surging and reaching a reproductive zenith which blazes across our body and spirit like a falling star. Recognizing that momentary burst of possibility is integral to managing one’s fertility wisely.

After the surge of hormones comes a drop off effect and some of us crash, physically or emotionally.. PMS is not a myth and affects approximately 85% of women over the course of their lives. Understanding your manifestations can be key to avoiding a crash through many means including yoga, herbal tea, solitude, sleep and of course, chocolate. We should permit ourselves small pleasures without guilt but rather with self-compassion and love, and oftentimes for the greater good. With this understanding also comes empathy by and for other women, who we can now recognize as experiencing their own incongruous symptoms and perhaps be kinder and gentler to them as well.

The menstrual cycle really is an amazing and somewhat mystical phenomenon, bound as it is with the moon and the oceans. Learning your own cycle will gift you with a genuine harmony that is invaluable.

Keeping track of your cycle is the first step in understanding it.

To do this you can utilize helpful websites, mobile applications, a cycle charting bracelet or simply track it on any diary, journal or calendar. If you want to start charting today, here is a My Monthly Menstrual Chart for you to download, print and use. There are also some great books for both girls and women!

Alison.FebyAlison Sanchez, Founder & President, Femy Empowerment Inc.
Alison is a mompreneur who was born in Wales but grew up and still lives in Toronto, Canada. She has 3 teenage children whose constant questions surrounding puberty were the source of her inspiration for the Female Empowerment Bracelet. She enjoys gardening, reading, soccer, swimming and most especially; talking to young women about all things menstrual.

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Diva: Canoe Trip with “Aunt Flo”? No problem!

Before my summer camping weekend, I had not used a DivaCup. I had heard a little bit about the idea of a menstrual cup once or twice before, but I had never thought in depth about it and it didn’t really seem like something that I would ever use.

I decided to purchase The DivaCup for a couple of reasons:

  1. I like the idea of reducing waste.
  2. I want to be more in tune with my body.
  3. I often got uncomfortable infections from the traditional options of “pads” and “tampons”.
  4. I recently started a beauty care routine that includes putting no chemicals on my body, so in my opinion, that should include period care.
  5. In addition to all of this, I heard about how tampons and pads can be manufactured with bleached cotton fibers and it started making me feel uneasy about how I was caring for my menstrual health.

Before discovering The DivaCup, my period would be incredibly uncomfortable and I would get itchy yeast infections when I used pads and tampons; almost during every cycle. I was often having annoying leaks, pads would slip and slide all over and after I considered the toxic chemicals tampons may contain tampons seemed so invasive

When I received my DivaCup package in the mail my two main concerns were insertion and whether or not it would be comfortable. I wasn’t very familiar with “that” area of myself and I was worried it would be difficult and uncomfortable to insert. To my surprise, my first time trying The DivaCup was very pleasant! Once it was in place, I couldn’t feel it at all! It was easy to insert and remove.

But the real test was still to come…

Camping DivaMy Husband and I had been planning to attend a canoe/camping trip with his co-workers and I was getting very excited! I was half thinking that I might start my period during the trip, and I should bring The DivaCup just in case, so I threw it in my bag while packing.

The camping/canoe trip started on Thursday evening and the first night, we would be staying in a chalet. We would be leaving the next morning, bright and early to hit the river. When I awoke on Friday morning, alas, I had started my period and I had not brought any pads or tampons to “fall back on”.

Most times, it’s not such a fun and exciting experience to be camping with your period, but I was honestly SO excited to try my DivaCup camping! I inserted the cup and was set to go

The canoe trip on the river was a 90 km run which would take us three days. This river is quite remote and there were no washrooms, no showers and no “comforts of your own home”.

It turned out that thanks to The Divacup, I didn’t need any of these to care for my period. I didn’t have ANY leaks! All I needed was some natural soap, potable water and thick bushes to hide behind. Every 12 hours, I’d take a few minutes, sneak away and clean The DivaCup and it was as easy as could be. It was comfortable; I didn’t feel it at all and no waste or litter to drag around with me until the end of the trip.

I continued this pattern throughout the trip, every 12 hours cleaning the cup and had no issues.

I LOVE THE DIVACUP!

I am so happy I decided to try this product out and I am kind of happy that I was thrown into this canoe/ camping trip with only The DivaCup on hand, because I just had to go for it and ended up totally enjoying it.

I would recommend The DivaCup to any woman. Thank you DivaCup, for making my periods more comfortable.

Casey.camping.DivaCasey considers herself a free spirit and enjoys singing, nature and discovering (and embracing) healthy options for her health and lifestyle. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada with her husband Wes and their two fur children.

 

*** Do you have a DivaCup story you want to share with the Diva Community? Email your story to our team at blog@divacup.com.

Q & A with the Lunagals

Earlier this month DivaCup co-founders, Francine and Carinne Chambers had an opportunity to talk with Lunapads co-founder Madeleine Shaw about period care, the incredible program Pads4Girls and the many wonderful moments of female entrepreneurship. Join the conversation by reading our post below and sharing it with the Divas in your life!

Can you share a bit about the history of Lunapads?

I started developing Lunapads and Lunapanties in 1993 when I realized that the recurrent vaginal infections I was experiencing were starting within a few hours of the onset of my periods (ie putting in a tampon). Until then I had been exclusively a tampon user, and was unwilling to switch to disposable pads, which had always seemed wasteful and bulky to me. Having a background in fashion design, I decided to sew my own cloth pads and padded panties.

LunapadsWebsiteUsing something comfortable and pretty to manage my flow, as well as going through the previously unimaginable experience of washing and reusing rather than throwing away the products showed me that rather than being gross and inconvenient, my period was actually really cool and worth paying attention to.

I noticed that I started feeling better about my body in general, and even started learning about my cycle and its relationship to the lunar cycle. Periods for me basically went from being a messy chore to being something special, so I decided to commercialize the products in the hope that this would also be true for others who tried them.

My business partner Suzanne and I met at a community leadership course in 1999. Realizing that we shared a dream for healthier women and a healthier planet, we combined our talents to grow Lunapads into the brand it is today.

Although there are many, if you had to pick just one, what aspect of sustainable menstrual care do feel is most important?

While Lunapads definitely came out of the desire to address a specific health concern, I feel like sustainable menstrual products support women’s health and wellness in many other ways as well: by creating a cleaner environment, as well as sending more positive messages about our periods and bodies that in turn support self-esteem.

Have you encountered any barriers to launching a new femcare product and business within an already established industry?

Definitely, and yet one of the advantages is that sustainable innovations like Lunapads, Lunapanties and The DivaCup are just flat-out so much better than disposables. Put another way: I have yet to hear a customer tell me how much she loves the disposable products she is currently using – they are as drying and uncomfortable as they have ever been, so all we really need to do is address the perception that dealing with your menses instead of throwing it away is taboo. Not that that’s always easy, but the feedback that we get again and again is that it wasn’t a huge deal, and, as was the case for me, changing how you think about it can be liberating and help us to love ourselves more, which is light years away from what any disposable product can do

What inspired you to start Pads4Girls?

Our mission with Pads4Girls is to support education for girls in developing nations by providing them with sustainable, affordable menstrual products. The program also supports economic empowerment for women by supporting locally-based padmaking initiatives.

one4herInitially, the idea grew from a letter we received in 2000 from a Zimbabwean/Canadian woman, who informed us that girls and women there had little or nothing to help them manage their menses and asked us whether we could send over some Lunapads.

Lack of access to menstrual products affects millions of girls in the developing world. As many as 10% of girls miss school because of it. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education, thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy, as well as limiting career options.

In many communities, disposable products are impossibly expensive or simply unavailable. Providing reusable products means the burden of purchasing products each month is removed and the environmental devastation that thousands of disposable pads would have on the landscape is alleviated.

Can you explain how Pads4Girls works?

Since 2000, we have been providing school girls with washable menstrual pads and underwear that, like Lunapads, will last them for years. During the following years, we would either make the pads and panties ourselves, or gather pads made by customers and supporters, and send them to whoever asked for them.

LunapadsAFRIpadsIn 2008 things changed when we were approached by two development aid workers in Uganda who had come across Lunapads via a volunteer from Vancouver: they asked us if they could copy the products and start a business there selling them. We said yes, and today AFRIpads employs 65 people!

Following our trip to Uganda in January 2012 we launched our One4Her program. Similar to the TOMS Shoes model, with eligible purchases of Lunapads, we provide girls with AFRIpads. Since its launch, in partnership with dozens of groups, individuals and NGOs, Pads4Girls and One4Her have reached over 120,000 girls and women in 15 nations with supplies, giving them immediate and practical means to have a better future.

How does One4Her empower women? 

One of the things of which we are proudest (and that also happens to make total business sense!) is that One4Her supports economic empowerment for women. In the beginning, we used to make all the pads and panties here in Vancouver and send them where they were needed. Which was great for the girls who received them, however expensive and inefficient.

Working with AFRIpads, the pads are made in Uganda using local labour, which creates employment, as well as increasing the capacity to provide more pads since we are no longer paying to have them made and shipped from Canada.

When we went to Uganda and visited AFRIpads, the workers each wrote us a personal letter telling us how their lives have changed thanks to having a job – they are now able to send their kids to school, buy homes and livestock, and even start their own businesses. This in turn raises their overall status as women in their communities, giving them greater power and respect.

What period care options are viable options for the regions you work with? 

We are excited about the increasing variety of choices becoming available as awareness of the Menstrual Health Management (MHM) issue grows, including sustainable disposable, as well as reusable, options. We work with each group individually to assess things like water availability, social taboos, and whether or not the girls or women have underwear to determine which options are best for any given population.

How can our Diva Community support your programs?

You’re doing it right now! We love the Diva Community, and are proud to count Francine and Carinne as treasured longtime friends and colleagues. Liking Lunapads and Pads4Girls on Facebook (as well as following @lunapads and @pads4girls on Twitter) is a great place to start. You can also support Pads4Girls directly by donating here.

Where do you see Lunapads in ten years?

We are doing a ton of behind-the-scenes product development at Lunapads right now, as well as thinking about other ways to support reproductive wellness and body needs from menarche to menopause and beyond.

Our legacy will be that the next generations of girls are more fully aware of their options and choose healthier and more natural choices for themselves. We want girls to be as shame-free about their bodies as possible, and to grow up to be healthy, empowered adults

What advice would you give to women looking to start a business?

We always tell people to choose something that you’re passionate about, because being an entrepreneur is not always as easy road, so you want to make sure that what you’re going to be spending so much time and effort on truly matters to you. We are also big proponents of business partnerships: doing it solo can be tough, so finding someone with complementary skills who shares your dream is a big asset.

Lunapads co-founders Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens

SuzanneSiemens-MadeleineShaMadeline and Suzanne are well-known social entrepreneurs and longtime DivaCup fans and distributors. Their business success in the sustainable menstrual care world has also brought them an opportunity to make a unique difference in supporting education for girls in the developing world with their Pads4Girls and One4Her initiatives.