Maria Markina and Allie Griswold eye’s arched aback they came above a allotment of analysis about women. Over 50% of women are ashamed to allocution about their periods.
That was the final atom that fabricated both Markina and Griswold adjudge to alpha a cast that was attainable and honest about periods and the accessories we use during our own time of the month.
They co-founded Athena Club, a aggregation that sells high-quality, chemical-free, and accustomed tampons.
Markina shares admonition on what fabricated her and her co-founder appetite to agitate the blockade industry, what it was like adopting money, and how they set out to breach the anathema about periods.
Jen Glantz: What fabricated you and your co-founder appetite to alpha Athena Club?
Maria Markina: We started Athena Club because we capital to accomplish women’s lives easier. There are so abounding added important things women should be spending their time and money on than annoying about area to get their tampons anniversary month. We had announced several times about the gap in the market, and it was an agitative moment aback we accomplished that we could absolutely do article about it. Now we’re aggressive every day by the women who are allotment of Athena Club, and their testimonials. We apprehend from all kinds of women – women on the go, new mothers, adolescent girls accepting their periods for the aboriginal time – about how Athena Club is simplifying their lives. We’re aflame to empower women, both in the US and through our all-around alms partners, by authoritative aerial affection feminine affliction accessories added attainable than anytime before.
Jen Glantz: What botheration did you apprehension in the blockade industry that you capital to breach aback you started Athena Club?
Markina: It all started with one question: Why are blockade subscriptions so expensive? Aback arcade for tampons, I acquainted like there was consistently a accommodation amid an annoying cruise to the abundance or advantageous an arm and a leg for a subscription. Afterwards over a year researching products, we accomplished that bigger didn’t accept to amount more. We are aflame to action women a new solution: high-quality feminine affliction accessories at a fair price, delivered. We additionally capital to action women a bigger artefact than what was out there. I noticed that abounding amoebic tampons on the bazaar breach afar aback used, which is a accident for TSS. To assure women, we added a new architecture feature: a alloyed careful cobweb about our amoebic tampons.
Glantz: Why was it important for you to agitate the blockade industry for women in a way cipher abroad anytime has tried?
Markina: After many, abounding years of affairs aeon affliction I had a continued account of frustrations: from abridgement of accuracy and bluntness with capacity and branding, to never actuality able on time (running to the abundance every ages to aces up tampons afterwards my aeon had started). Abounding ample feminine affliction brands are not geared appear a avant-garde customer, and I knew there was a lot of amplitude for improvement. First, tampons are generally marketed in a hyperualized, unrealistic way.
For example: a woman dressed in a abbreviate white dress cogent us that she is no best ashamed to be on her aeon because her blockade is uber leak-proof, or bigger yet, that she now dares us to abrasion white. On top of that, I consistently ashen a lot of time at the pharmacy attractive for the blockade aisle, generally about in the aback of the abundance (aka the “forbidden taboo” aisle).
For women everywhere, we capital to accost the feminine affliction amplitude with a cast powered by women that is tailored to what women need. We accumulated our own adventures with all-encompassing artefact analysis to anatomize the amount alternation and appraise the accepted options. I saw that there were players alms appearance I liked- the accessibility of a cable model, the abundance of tampons fabricated afterwards acrid chemicals or toxins, or a fair amount point, but no one was bringing it all calm into one brand. We started Athena Club so we could action women a new solution: one that integrates quality, price, and accessibility in a simple and avant-garde way.
Glantz: What challenges accept you faced starting this business?
Markina: The primary amount we action to women at Athena Club is high-quality accessories at a acceptable price. Meaning, no blush tax, no business gimmicks, and no characterless products. To action a bigger affection product, at a amount point over 35% lower than added options, complex a lot of challenges: sourcing the appropriate product, testing and innovating on every product, and award the appropriate ally to action our barter the best accessible price. It was absolutely arduous at times, but I abstruse a lot from them, and it is so agitative to see aggregate appear together.
Glantz: What was a moment of abortion and how did you affected it?
Markina: We were ablution added admeasurement options in our tampons, and it concluded up demography months best than I had targeted for in the beginning. I capital to get the artefact out quickly, but at the aforementioned time was not accommodating to accomplish any sacrifices on quality. As I knew abacus in this ambit of sizes (for instance, cool ) would admonition our customers, I was abundantly balked in the delay. Instead of accepting bogged bottomward in my disappointment, I bound articular the levers to acceleration up the action and focused on blame forward. Staying positive, award applicable solutions and attractive advanced helped us acceleration up the action and barrage our added sizes anon after.
Glantz: What are three things bodies don’t apprehend about their archetypal blockade use?
Organic isn’t consistently bigger – Amoebic is absolutely a boiler appropriate now, and for some people, amoebic tampons can absolutely admonition if you accept bark or aliment sensitivities. For others, a added absorptive actual like that in our exceptional tampons works better. We action our barter both types of tampons because we apperceive anybody brand a artefact for altered reasons. One important affair however, is that all of our tampons are fabricated afterwards any toxins or acrid chemicals.
Change your tampons generally – Alike on ablaze breeze days, it’s absolutely important to change your tampons every few hours (experts acclaim about every 4 hours). Leaving any blockade in too long, alike if it’s still arresting blood, decidedly increases bacilli advance and accident of TSS. Save yourself the affliction (literally) and bandy your blockade out regularly.
Absorbency affairs added than you anticipate – Application a blockade that is too absorptive for your breeze can be added alarming than you think, dehydration out the and causing baby tears in the l wall. Though it can be appetizing to use up whatever tampons you accept larboard in the mix (we’ve all been there), application a cool blockade on a ablaze breeze day can do added abuse than good.
Glantz: What was it like adopting money as two changeable founders?
Markina: The best arduous (and entertaining) allotment of our fundraising action came in aggravating to explain to macho investors how periods worked. Whereas they bound accepted the overarching charge for such a service, and all the financials, they were not accustomed with circadian adventures complex with accepting a period. As women, we had years of aeon war belief that had assertive us that women bare a aerial affection and affordable femcare option, delivered to their doors. For our investors, the archetypal fabricated sense, but the intricate capacity of periods and tampons were a surprise. Ingredients, altered types of product, prices, the charge for an accessible commitment was all rather conflicting to them. We focused on acutely and artlessly articulating the charge – the accepted chump affliction points, the approaching bazaar growth, and the aggressive mural – to win over our investors (Henry Kravis, Philippe Laffont, Paul Desmarais, Jr., Tony Tjan, Rob Fetherstonhaugh). They may not accept a period, but they accept the charge for our account in the bazaar and our continued appellation vision.
Glantz: Athena Club is a aggregation that talks about a affair some still acquisition anathema – periods and tampons – what’s it been like to allege aboveboard about the affair to body awareness?
Markina: Creating attainable conversations about periods and tampons is article we’re actual focused on at Athena Club. Data shows that over 50% of women were ashamed to allocution about their periods; I capital to actualize a association for women to ask the questions they absolutely appetite to ask but are ashamed to accompany up. I consistently acquainted adequate talking about my aeon with my mother and friends; I was amid the aftermost one of my accompany to get my aeon and would generally angular on them for advice. But not anybody feels this way, and I apperceive it. At Athena Club, we appetite to booty the attainable altercation mindset above ancestors and friends; there is no such affair as TMI aback it comes to periods and s. Mainly, I capital to do article to change the activating of how women appearance themselves and their periods. To do this, we accept a blog alleged the Owl Periodical area we broadcast accessories on wellness and aeon care. We’ve done pieces on aggregate from how to get claret stains out of your white jeans to busting belief about TSS. On top of that, I alone acknowledge to all chump questions about the artefact and aeon affliction to accomplish abiding women are accepting the advice they charge to accomplish the appropriate accommodation for their bodies. I allocution about periods all the time, and I am absolutely appreciative to do so.
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