{Guest Post} DivaCup, Thank you for The DivaCups!

Photo3This summer, my friend Owen and I rode our bicycles from San Francisco to New York City. We rode 4,624 miles through 12 states over 3 months. We carried our essentials (about 70 lbs, bikes included), met hundreds of people, received incredible amounts of kindness, and talked a lot about periods.

I am a spokeswoman for a project called Sustainable Cycles. As I traveled, I facilitated discussions about menstrual products. Women, men, people, bookworms, students, graduates, clinicians, mothers, teenagers, environmentalists, bicycle enthusiasts, even those who passed by – we all gathered to talk about the cost (~$2,000 over a lifetime), waste (~260 lbs of trash), and content (synthetics, pesticides and dioxins) of conventional pads and tampons.

I carried some props—a disposable pad, a tampon, a cloth pad, sea sponges, and menstrual cups—to show, and we created a space where any question could be asked and any story be shared. The goal was to have open, honest, and unashamed conversation about anything menstruation related. As party favors, people who wanted to make the “switch” from disposables left with a new DivaCup.

Photo2Owen and I had never done a long-distance bike trip before, but by now we’re pretty good at it. Our farthest day was 123 miles from Cleveland, OH to Erie, PA. The longest stretch without services was 84 miles in Utah. Our tallest summit was 11,400 feet in Colorado, and we only ran out of water once (which was enough) in Nevada. At night we stayed in parks, campsites, at friends of friends’ places, with online hosts, and with random strangers we met in bike shops. I am humbled by the generosity and openness we were shown by people all across this country. We were treated to countless meals, showers, beds, laundry, great conversations, and all kinds of support—from extra water to homemade strawberry milkshakes.

Sustainable Cycles is small, it is young, and it is one of the most amazing projects of our time. I happened upon it earlier this year as I was brainstorming about how to fund my cross-country bicycle adventure. I found a blog about two young women who bicycled from Seattle to Los Angeles in 2011, hootin’ and hollerin’ about menstruation and giving away free menstrual cups as they went. Toni and Sarah were “sparking a grassroots movement toward more sustainable menstruation” and, armed with almost 300 cups donated to them, started Sustainable Cycles. A satisfied cup user myself, I contacted them, began to raise funds, received a number of cups generously donated by DivaCup, and pedaled eastward.

The purpose of this bike ride is to call attention to the environmental, economic, and health impacts of conventional products and to create a space where people can question exactly what they support with their dollar. It is a call for more research about the health impacts of the products we use. It is about sharing what knowledge we do have, and it is here to help us empower each other. Everyone is invited to the discussion, no matter what product they choose to use to care for their cycle. I see menstruation as a phenomenon that connects us “menstruators” despite race, color, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, language, ethnicity, culture, ability, education level, shape, size, etc.

Photo1During my three months on the road, I held discussions in all of the states I pedaled through, gifted cups to interested persons, and met a lot of people I otherwise may never have—like a professional taxidermist in Nevada, a man in Nebraska whose first and last name are exactly the same, and a woman in New York State who gifts menstrual cups to her friends just for kicks. Most of the people we encountered were supportive and/or surprised by the project. I got anywhere from a pensive “Um…that’s interesting…I’ll tell my wife” to a passionate “Thank you so, so much for doing this.”

I believe in this project. It promotes bicycle travel, it organizes a space for unfiltered discussion about menstruation, and it creates a community that can chat about exactly how to get a menstrual cup in (and more importantly—out!). I look forward to more bicycle rides, more menstruation discussions, more Sustainable Cyclists, and more adventure. Thank you, DivaCup! For all of your encouragement, for donating menstrual cups to the ride, and for your continued support.

The ride is over, but the movement lives on! I look forward to parties, group discussions, one-on-one conversations, and bicycle rides celebrating menstruation. To get involved, check out www.sustainablecycles.org.

Rachel Horn

Photo2Rachel Horn studied Earth Sciences and Forestry at UC Berkeley. She now lives in Los Angeles. You can find her cooking with her friends and family, playing at the beach, or riding her bicycle to the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research’s Boston conference in June 2015!

 

 

{Guest Post} Bringing your Period into Balance

Alternative medicineToday more than ever, people are looking for natural ways to solve their health concerns. For many women, this means looking for alternative options to help with their periods.

Naturopathic Doctors (ND) are highly educated professionals, trained in bringing your body back into balance and treating the cause of your health problems. We use natural therapies such as acupuncture, botanical medicine, nutrition and homeopathy to help our patients. Additionally, NDs are taught that periods are a normal, important part of a woman’s health, even giving insight into your overall well-being.

While it may be common to experience menstrual cramps, bloating, headaches and fatigue, it does not mean you need to be uncomfortable or rely on solutions that can have adverse side effects on your health. In addition to choosing an eco-friendly period care option like The DivaCup, here are some tips about bringing your period back into balance:

  1. Avoid external sources of estrogens:  Known as xenoestrogens (estrogens not normally found in your body) these chemicals can disrupt your natural hormonal state. This shows up as heavy periods, painful cramps or even skin breakouts. Some common sources of xenoestrogens include plastics, body care products, non-organic meats and air fresheners. The Environmental Working Group has a fantastic cosmetic database that lists thousands of products and rates them according to toxicity. Search for your favorites here.
  2. Embrace period friendly foods:  Choose foods that nourish your body and provide nutrients essential to balancing hormones. Foods high in magnesium can help decrease cramping, such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocados, figs and dark chocolate. If you already feel bloated during your period, avoid foods that could make it worse, like beans, artificial sweeteners, greasy foods and high amounts of salt.
  3. Choose pain relief that works to re-balance:  Did you know that acupuncture is good at decreasing menstrual pain both during your period and the rest of your cycle? That’s because it works to bring your body back to its normal, balanced state. If needles aren’t your thing, there are lots of different herbs that can decrease pain and balance hormones too.
  4. Keep moving:  Most often, the last thing women want to do during their periods is exercise, but some movement can actually be beneficial. Not only does this get your energy moving it can also release precious serotonin in your brain, also known as the happiness molecule! Nice, gentle exercises to try include yoga specifically geared toward opening up the pelvis. Check out Yoga Today’s Yoga for Your Cycle video for insight.
  5. Listen to your body:  If you watch tampon commercials, it seems like we’re supposed to be horseback riding or running a marathon during our periods when really, it’s a time to turn inwards and relax. Traditionally, women took this time to rest and reflect on what was going on in their lives. Sometimes just listening to what your body is trying to tell you can help – if moving around increases pain, then allow yourself the space to rest; if movement decreases pain, then go for a light walk.
  6. Choose better period care products:  Trying a reusable period care product like The DivaCup is also very beneficial to your menstrual health and the health of our planet. Reusable and easy to use, The DivaCup offers12 hours of leak-free protection and is made only of health care grade silicone which means you do not need to worry about exposing your body to the chemicals, plastics and dyes found in traditional options.

Our periods are really a message about how balanced we are in our lives. It is our monthly invitation to reflect on what areas need more attention and where we are making progress. Seeking advice from a Naturopathic Doctor can help you create an individualized treatment plan to bring your body back into balance. To find an ND in your area you can visit the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

dr.kateDr. Kate Appleton, ND. Vive Integrative Health Group

Dr. Kate is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Calgary, AB. She has a special interest in women’s health, pregnancy, pediatrics and stress management. She organized her school’s Women’s Health Week and was president of their volunteer doula club. Learn more about Dr. Kate today!

 

 

10 Best Diva Moments

The Diva Team enjoyed being able to share our “10 Best Diva Moments” with all our Divas over the past two weeks! The celebration was a great success, with hundreds of entries each day in our Facebook giveaways.

We thought to bring together all the moments in one place for all our Divas to view and share! Thank you again to everyone who made this celebration so wonderful!

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Moment # 1 Choosing The DivaCup name

Choosing the name “Diva” was a really pivotal moment as the word “Diva” embodied the empowerment we believed in and defines The DivaCup brand. Learn more about our brand here.

 

 

CheckMoment # 2: Being awarded FDA and Health Canada market clearance

This milestone meant that The DivaCup was ready to go into production and was ready to be introduced to the world! Learn more about our Quality and Standards!

 

 

DearDivaMoment # 3: Receiving customer testimonials within weeks of The DivaCup launch

The amazing testimonials that we have received, and continued to receive over the last ten years, are incredible. It shows us just how life-changing The DivaCup is and how much it helps to empower women.

 

 

AliveAward.fwMoment # 4: Winning our first award

We were so honored to be recognized by Canadian retailers in the Alive Awards and going on to win 6 consecutive years in a row!

Read more about our Awards and Recognition today!

 

francine_Carinne_1stTradeShowMoment # 5: Turning heads at our first Canadian and US retailer trade shows

In a very conservative industry where there are not many changes, DivaCup certainly made a huge impression!

 

 

Wholefoodlogo.fwMoment # 6: Getting our first planogram approval for Whole Foods Markets

We were so excited to be on shelves nationwide in all the Whole Foods Markets and happy to be offering The DivaCup to an expanded customer base.

 

Gifting_LoungeMoment # 7: Celebrity Gifting of The DivaCup

Participating in multiple celebrity events in LA and Toronto and seeing The DivaCup advertised in national magazines and on a huge double sided videotron in Times Square, NY was incredible to see.

 

 

TVMoment # 8 Television feature on The DivaCup

It was an honor being selected to be included in a segment for the Special Edition Series “In View” with host Larry King which highlighted companies that were contributing to environmental sustainability. Watch highlights of the feature here!

 

TeamMoment # 9 Growing Team Diva

Expanding our ever-growing Diva team and making The DivaCup headquarters a dynamic, fun and exciting place to work.

 

 

10-Years-SealMoment # 10 Realizing success!

Coming to the realization that despite the incredible growth and success of The DivaCup over the last ten years, we have only just scratched the surface and the best Diva moments are yet to come!

 

Diary of a Diva: Fighting the elements thanks to The DivaCup!

Manos_2My name is Jill, I am a firefighter, surfer and eco-enthusiast and have been using The DivaCup for three months. My life revolves around water; I live on the ocean, I play in the ocean and my job (as a firefighter) uses water daily!

I remember during one of our community beach clean-ups, finding a used tampon applicator in the beach grass and my friend saying: “If more ladies used The DivaCup, we would not find these all over the beach”. She then went on to explain to me, and a few other girls in our group, about how The DivaCup worked and why it was so awesome.

At first it was really hard for me to get past the thought of using this foreign object, and I am sure a lot of girls are afraid to try it because they are skeptical or just nervous. But honestly, it is really not as bad as you think; it just takes a bit of practice, patience and technique.

Once you get it, you will never turn back.

Being a firefighter is a stressful (but rewarding) job. There are enough events going on in the run of my day, my period is something I do not want to have to think about. A part of my job that has now become less stressful is the fact that I do not have to change my DivaCup every few hours (unlike when I used to wear tampons).Not knowing when the next bell is going to ring would have me in the bathroom every few hours to make sure that I always had a fresh tampon in and I was ready for action.

Manos.1I also found myself at that time of the month in the bathroom at work wrapping wads of toilet paper around my tampons and stuffing them to the bottom of the trash can to hide them. As if sharing a firehouse bathroom with all the guys was not bad enough, I am trying to avoid the embarrassment of leaving behind evidence of my flow. At the end of the day, I would rush to be the first to grab the trash and take it out to the dumpster to prevent one of the boys dumping the can with my hidden treasure at the bottom.

I am an athlete. I play hockey, basketball, volleyball, basically you name it and I have played it. Naturally, living close to the ocean and loving the beach life, I have become obsessed with surfing. My husband and I teach surf lessons at the beach near our house, and we both compete locally.

How many of you have ever worn a wetsuit before?

Manos_3Where we live (Nova Scotia, Canada), you need to wear a wetsuit (year round) and very, very thick ones in the winter. If you want to stay in the water for a few hours per session, you do not want to have to take off your wetsuit to go to the washroom, and put that freezing cold, soaking wet neoprene suit back on; it is terrible. But, thanks to The DivaCup, I can surf longer sessions and not have to worry about leaks!

I’m going to be a DivaCup advocate in my community and help spread the word.

The DivaCup is amazing. Period.

 

 

Jill Manos

Manos.1Jill is a firefighter, surfer and nature enthusiast who lives on the Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia, Canada. When she is not out fighting fires or competing in surf contests, you will find her enjoying time with her family… by the beach!

 

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

Diva Sales Team 101

plane.1I am often asked if I enjoy working for Diva International. Instead of summarizing a few highlights of my job, I tend to spiral into an in-depth conversation about the many benefits of The DivaCup to consumers, retailers and about how we continue to expand distribution across the globe.

To say I have been a long time DivaCup user would be inaccurate. I initially heard about it a few years back and had the typical “ick” reaction, as we affectionately call it. After meeting with the founders of Diva International for a Sales & Marketing position, I immediately converted to the product and felt a strong connection and knew I had found a dream job.

Having such a unique product is very exciting and interesting to present to a category manager or buyer. Some are familiar with The DivaCup, some are not, and most ask as many questions as consumers – they too are learning about it for the first time!

Product awareness is definitely the most challenging part of our job at Diva and we do a lot of work behind the scenes to further education. Over the course of a year, Diva attends several conferences and trade shows specifically for our retail partners and also events geared towards medical professionals and educators. We continue to invest not only in consumer advertising, but also in trade support to show our commitment to grow the feminine hygiene category.

Since I joined Diva, I have had the privilege to see our company grow and new staff come on board, meet with hundreds of retail partners, travel across North America and also work in an environment where we focus on educating and empowering women to make informed decisions that affect their health. It is also an awesome perk to have a hot pink office, a boss who often plays a selection of loud music from his iPod, and work with such incredible like-minded individuals.

Some highlights from my experience at Diva include:

  • Celebrity sightings and meetings: Kevin O’Leary, Darryl Sittler, Musical Group Dala, Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton
  • Favorite moment in the office: Anytime we get a purchase order from a new account. We have been known to celebrate with some bubbly!
  • Future plans: Continue to expand distribution to make The DivaCup more readily available to women.
  • Best trade show moment: Meeting supporters of The DivaCup who continue to spread the word.
  • Unforgettable thing I saw while traveling: The Grand Canyon. Pictures don’t do the scale, colors and grandeur justice!
  • My favorite city to travel to: Chicago is my favorite city by far. So much to see and do and of course the famous deep dish pizza.

glitter suitcaseSales is a service. Sure, we are offering a product but at Diva we are committed to providing best in class customer service right from our initial meetings with retailers, through to the end purchase by the consumer. Sales is also an opportunity to help someone by identifying and solving a specific problem. The world is constantly evolving, women are looking for more sustainable and healthier options and retailers are looking for the most innovative products. My job is to educate and assist the buyer to understand all options available and guide them in making the best decisions for their business. The most enjoyable aspect of my career is building long-lasting and trusting relationships and representing a company I am very proud of and believe in.

If I can tell a woman one tip for traveling with work, it would be to always schedule a wake-up call and set an alarm. I once made the mistake of only using the in room alarm clock and to my surprise it did not work! Between long airport waits, flight times, time zone changes, and strange hotel rooms, it is not uncommon for your body’s inner clock to get confused. It would be terrible to go such a distance to sleep through a great opportunity.

Don’t forget of course to take your DivaCup…but you don’t need me to sell you that idea.