Durations are a pure, wholesome a part of our month-to-month cycles, but we’re usually made to really feel ashamed and embarrassed of them, whilst grown adults. That is at all times disturbed Nadya Okamoto, who, since 2014, has fought to destigmatize durations and finish interval poverty by her nonprofit, Interval, the place she led younger activists in rising the accessibility of menstrual-care merchandise. Now, she’s engaged on a brand new enterprise, August, a way of life model devoted to reimagining durations.
“Durations is usually a trouble, however they’re highly effective.”
“Let’s be actual, durations is usually a trouble, however they’re highly effective, and we must always have a interval neighborhood, tradition, and product that reaffirms that,” Okamoto informed CelebrityPie. Cofounded by Okamoto and her good friend Nick Jain in February 2020, August was born out of the gaps they recognized in interval care, due to the quite a few Zoom conversations they’d with younger menstruators around the globe.
Picture Supply: Heather Hazzan
Many manufacturers could label themselves as “for Gen Z,” however in August’s case, the descriptor is rooted the truth is. “In the beginning, we’re creating for our personal neighborhood,” the 23-year-old Harvard graduate defined. The group spent the previous yr and a half chatting with a various subset of Gen Zers about all the things from the duty of companies on the subject of interval poverty and stigma to discovering what’s lacking from the market. “It isn’t like when you consider the connection it’s important to a magnificence model, to a Glossier or a Fenty Magnificence, the place you are posting about it, you are excited for it, and there is this on-line neighborhood and model publicity,” she defined. “I do not suppose that these younger menstruators really feel any type of connection to interval manufacturers. The interval manufacturers that they use and know of, they don’t seem to be linked to them.”
What initially started as a gaggle of individuals simply “excited to speak about durations” changed into an internet neighborhood that is now dubbed the #InnerCycle. The group additionally created Ask August, a database crammed with solutions (verified by medical doctors) to generally requested questions on durations. And this week, August launched period-care merchandise individually and within the type of customizable month-to-month subscription containers, permitting shoppers to select from tampons, pads, and liners of assorted absorbencies to create the proper set that works for them. “By reimagining that tradition round interval stigma, we wanted higher merchandise from a model that stands for its values,” Okamoto mentioned. “We’re not the primary folks to acknowledge that durations are a robust factor, however I feel we’re a neighborhood who’s actually pushed to take that to the following stage.”
Not solely are the merchandise one hundred pc biodegradable (for context, most sanitary pads take five to eight centuries to decompose) and recyclable all the way down to their packaging, however they’re additionally carbon impartial, and you may trace every part of the supply chain on August’s web site to verify of it. However most significantly, the model is the primary of its sort to cowl the tampon tax — a gross sales tax imposed on feminine-hygiene merchandise that also exists in 30 states — for each client; Okamoto has been combating towards the tax since she joined the interval motion over six years in the past.
Picture Supply: August
“I essentially consider that companies have to hold pushing the boundary of what it means to take a stand for one thing,” she mentioned. “For us, we have been like, how will we not simply say we hate the tampon tax, however take it to a different stage? If we’ll say that there shouldn’t be a tax on interval merchandise, then we should not f*cking cost tax on interval merchandise. It is simply inherently hypocritical. So after we came upon that we may legally do that, effectively, it was a no brainer.”
“We’re not the primary folks to acknowledge that durations are a robust factor, however I feel we’re a neighborhood who’s actually pushed to take that to the following stage.”
Okamoto has been on a mission to finish interval poverty since she was simply 16 years previous and based Interval, the nonprofit she led till January 2020. Final summer time, Interval severed ties with Okamoto after she was accused of monopolizing the period space and silencing different activists of coloration. She informed CelebrityPie she was so hyperfocused on hustling, rising, and simply persevering with to get interval merchandise out the door that she wasn’t “aware and even educated sufficient” in regards to the areas she was in.
“You get into it since you’re so passionate, however we’re residing in a time of commodified activism, the place we actually need to do the work, take the additional step to coach ourselves in regards to the area that we’re working in and the implications of, not simply the work we’re doing, however the identification that we’re working with,” Okamoto mentioned. “I feel that was an enormous studying expertise.”
After grappling with whether or not she may earn again the belief of the interval neighborhood, she realized there was nothing she was extra captivated with than menstruation and utilized her learnings to bettering August, an organization she sees as an evolution of her previous work. “One of many largest studying experiences was taking a step again and understanding what it means to thoughtfully and slowly develop, which has been an enormous a part of August,” she defined, whether or not that meant organising constructions of accountability by surrounding herself with mentors, strategic traders, and group members or partnering with grassroots nonprofit organizations.
Whereas Okamoto was beforehand targeted on fixing the problems of interval poverty and stigma on the nonprofit aspect, she’s now dedicated to tackling the issue at its root. “When you requested me why the stigma exists because it does at this time, I feel it is as a result of we reside in a tradition that has commodified interval merchandise to perpetuate damaging stigmas round durations to promote merchandise, convincing us that that is one thing to be ashamed of,” she mentioned. That is why with August, Okamoto and her group are working to reinvent the worldwide provide chain and create that influence immediately.
Get a better take a look at August’s new offerings — and that lovely packaging — forward.