For the love of “M.”

December 10th, 2014 by Madeleine

monica performing For the love of M.

A shining star of a person has been blazing her way across Vancouver and the Lunaverse for the past few years: we are sad to see her move on to other solar systems (namely California), however so grateful for the time that she was here with us.

The one and only “M.” (then known as World Hip Hop Mom Monica Morong) entered our orbit at a Living Extraordinary event in 2012 where Suzanne and I had been invited to share our story. She came up to our table afterward and instantly blew us away with her energy, enthusiasm and original vision. Who else, after all, would consider writing and performing a rap song about our products?

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FDA Compliance & The Cost of Doing Business

December 8th, 2014 by Suzanne

There has been a recent flurry of activity on the topic of FDA registration and questions from our customers about whether Lunapads are FDA compliant. The short answer is YES we have been compliant since 2001. Having looked into this subject closely for many years, I have this to add to the conversation:

Medical Device Categorization:

FDA cleared1 300x223 FDA Compliance & The Cost of Doing BusinessCloth pads have been considered medical devices and subject to FDA compliance since the 1990′s. This is nothing new. Like many cloth pad manufacturers, we had no idea this was a requirement. Once we did, we went through the intense process of obtaining our 510(k) Premarket Notification and paying the Annual Registration Fee. More recently, we had to refile our submission because someone from the FDA noticed that our  product “classification” needed to be defined as “reusable”, a classification that didn’t even exist when we originally registered!

FDA and Regulation:

We think that it is important that organizations like the FDA exist to regulate products for the safety of the public. But, there is a cost to regulation and we regard the annual FDA registration fee as simply a cost of doing business. We don’t love the fact that this cost is beginning to exceed $4,000/year. It is no different than paying for product liability insurance (which costs us a lot more than the FDA fee!) These are costs of operating our business ethically and responsibly in the industry we have chosen to be a part of.

WAHM makers, we feel your pain.

I can relate to the pain that WAHM (“Work At Home Mom”), Etsy & other cloth pad makers are feeling now that they know about this fee. But, it feels only fair that all of us in this industry are treated equally and bear the same costs. We cringe at the criticism we often receive that Lunapads are expensive and told that one can buy cloth pads from WAHM brands for much cheaper. Well, now you know one reason why. Once all WAHM brands start paying these fees and building it into the price of the pads, it will level the playing field a bit.

ms ss successful you 300x300 FDA Compliance & The Cost of Doing BusinessAnd, please don’t forget that Madeleine and I are moms too: we sometimes work from home and sometimes work at the office. We are working hard to raise our families and struggle to pay our bills just like any entrepreneur. For more on this, see Madeleine’s post; Lunapads: big or small business?.

Safety & Compliance:

As feminists, while we don’t buy into the notion of menstruation being a medical condition and products like ours being medical devices, we know that menstruation is not always a simple experience. Many people have harsh reactions to certain kinds of menstrual products (such as rashes from pads) and are still reporting to the FDA the affects of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Institutions like the FDA are there for consumers to report adverse effects and hold to account manufacturers for compliance and safety.

Sign the Petition:

We support the We the People Petition to lower or eliminate cloth pads from the medical device classification. Cloth pads are in essence garments and should be exempt; indeed, it is what Health Canada has already told us. Why should the FDA feel differently? It is interesting to note that the FDA website specifically states “There are no reductions in annual establishment registration fees for small businesses or any other group.” Gee, thanks a lot. 

petition FDA Compliance & The Cost of Doing Business

While the petition gathers signatures, we will continue to be compliant with the FDA. We are happy that the level of consciousness has been raised on the issue and now hope that customers have a better appreciation for the challenges that businesses like Lunapads, Gladrags and other WAHM manufacturers face in running a small business.

25 years later: what has changed?

December 5th, 2014 by Madeleine

10620154 10152393821936786 2786716741557754475 o 1024x432 25 years later: what has changed?

I still remember arriving home from my then-job at a local university on December 6th, 1989 to find my parents glued to the television. What was happening, I asked them? “It looks like someone is shooting women students in Montreal: some crazy guy locked them in a classroom, told the men to leave and started shooting.” My knees buckled.

As a recent Women’s Studies graduate, campus anti-violence leader and rape crisis center volunteer, the news struck hard. This was different, though – until this point in my life, when I thought about gender-based violence (in this case against women), date rape and sexual harassment were top of mind: the idea that it could also express itself as mass murder stunned me.

I was among the appalled who witnessed how the Montreal Massacre (as it came to be called) of 14 female engineering students (14 other people were also injured) was subsequently portrayed as the act of a lone madman, extracted from any wider social context or responsibility.

I mean, here you are, faced with one of the most egregious and blatant examples of a massive and widespread social problem, and people were like, “It was just some random crazy dude.” Some random crazy dude who hated women, in particular those who dared to pursue careers in a male-dominated field. He told the male students to leave the room and locked the doors. And it’s not gender-based. Really.

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The Lunapads Holiday Gift Guide

December 4th, 2014 by Morgan

The name Lunapads has been synonymous with eco-friendly period products for over a decade, but in recent years we’ve expanded our product lines to include so much more! Carefully crafted and curated items that we personally use and love, and we think you’ll love them to! Here are our top picks for the holiday season – natural, reusable and sustainable gifts that will surely delight anyone on your list. Save 15% on these and other great gift ideas with discount code: NIFTYGIFTY

xmas4 1024x657 The Lunapads Holiday Gift Guide

For the yoga or fitness enthusiast
We all know that conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are loaded with questionable and unnecessary chemicals like aluminum salts, triclosan, parabens and synthetic fragrance compounds -  but finding a natural alternative that actually works is a daunting task. Sola Coconut Deodorant is the holy grail of natural deodorants! Its’ coconut oil-based formula wont leave you feeling sticky after applying, or stinky half way through the day. Pair it up with some 100% Organic Cotton Leggings from Maggie’s Organics for a truly sustainable workout.

For the Fashionista
Maggie’s organics cushioned crew socks in stylish stripes will keep their feet warm and comfy while they’re out pounding the pavement in search of the latest looks. ULAT dryer balls are a great way to shorten drying times on laundry – reducing your energy bill and environmental impact while keeping your duds static-free.

For the Desk Jockey
Office lunches can be a little sad. Brighten up someone’s break with awesome lunch bag accessories from Cuppow and Planet Wise. The Cuppow BNTO adapter turns an average canning jar into ultimate 2-compartment reusable container. Keep your salad and dressing separate or your yogurt and granola un-stirred. Nearly 20 million plastic sandwich baggies are thrown out every day in the US alone. Help them break the trash habit with Planet Wise snack bags. Available in 2 sizes, both lined with FDA food safe material and featuring a no-leak design. Throw in a Lunapads handkerchief as a washable napkin and their reusable lunch kit is complete!

For Mom
Give your mom the gift of a good night’s sleep. Using innovative Drylon technology, Lusomé sleepwear wicks away moisture, keeping you cool and dry for the best sleep ever. Did you know that keeping your feet warm helps you fall asleep faster? La Pinède sleep socks in luxurious Mohair will keep those tootsies toasty, plus they’re machine washable.

For the Stressed-out Sally
We probably all know someone who needs a little extra self care around the holidays. The Lunapads Therapy Pillow provides hot or cool relief for aches and pains, plus it’s soothing Lavender scent is sure to help them relax. Hurraw Vegan Lip Balm is made from only the best ingredients and keeps your lips soft without feeling greasy or grainy – the perfect way to turn that frown upside down.

For the Fence-Sitter

For your friend who’s still on the fence about this whole reusable menstrual products thing. You’ve ranted and  raved about it but they still can’t bring themselves to fork over the cash and save themselves from a lifetime of bummer periods. Now’s your chance to do it for them. No more pussy footing around (pun intended!) Get them anything from our One4Her department. Not only will they feel great about their new menstrual care routine, they can also feel good knowing that using Lunapads products helps girls in East Africa stay in school, and creates jobs for women in Uganda.

Save 15% on these and other great gift ideas with discount code: NIFTYGIFTY

octnewhead The Lunapads Holiday Gift Guide

 

Meet the Lunapads Ambassadors: Melissa

November 17th, 2014 by Guest

We started our Lunapads Brand Ambassador Program over a year ago and are so grateful for the fabulous ambassadors we have all over Canada and the US spreading our mission and sharing our products with their communities. We started the program to nurture the special relationship we have with our customers and to support them in creating a community around them to hold space for body positivity, self-love, personal growth, and social change.

Here is an interview with one of our inspiring Ambassadors: Melissa!

melissaphoto 254x300 Meet the Lunapads Ambassadors: Melissa1) How did you find Lunapads?

I found Lunapads just through a search engine. About five years ago, my fertility doctor had suggested that I quit using tampons, due to my endometriosis, and I was very unhappy about switching to pads. They felt disgusting and I was having a terrible time adjusting to them. Somehow, I came across the Lunapads website and I was in awe. I had never heard about anything like that, ever (and I’m a fairly “crunchy” person)! I immediately ordered a few to try them out.

2) What is your first experience with cloth pads?

I convinced a friend to try them with me, so we both ordered our first reusable pads together and compared notes for those first few periods where we were learning to use them. I found them to be “bunchy” at first, because I was used to relying on the adhesive of the disposable pads to hold them down. My friend reminded me that this wouldn’t be the same, but that it would still work. Having that person to talk to really helped. We gave each other ideas about how to handle and launder the pads.

3) Why did you want to become a Lunapads Ambassador?

I was so excited when Lunapads launched this program! I have always wanted to share the idea of reusable pads with others, because I personally believe that they have helped my health. However, I had no idea how to share that kind of information! I didn’t know how to broach the subject with my circle of mom-friends, and I certainly didn’t want to post things about my period on my Facebook wall for my dad, grandpa and uncles to see!

Besides helping me to share something that I feel passionately about, I felt that this Ambassador program was perfect for me because it wasn’t a sales job, but there was the potential to earn money. There was only the smallest initial payment on the kit I had to buy – but if things didn’t work out, then I figured I would simply add the kit to my personal collection of pads.

As a stay-at-home mom of three toddlers (adoption + IVF twins), my funds and my time are precious resources. I have very little spare time or money, so this program was perfect for me.

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Stephanie Nolen: a shero among sheros

November 13th, 2014 by Madeleine

It’s not every day that you get to meet one of your all-time heroes, but it happened to me just last weekend when journalist Stephanie Nolen was briefly in Vancouver.

2014 11 09 14.01.56 1024x7641 300x226 Stephanie Nolen: a shero among sherosThanks to my Mother’s influence I have been a Globe and Mail reader for most of my life. Stephanie’s writing first came to my attention when she donned a hijab and headed to out to cover the invasion of Afghanistan and fall of the Taliban.

Her knack for illustrating a macro-truth based on one person’s story immediately moved me, as well as her particular interest in the situation of girls and women. She was my kind of hero: brave, hugely talented, social justice-minded and up for adventure. As I said to Suzanne at the time, if I wasn’t already lucky enough to get to be me, I’d want to be Stephanie.

Speaking last weekend at a gathering hosted by 60 Million Girls, a Canadian charity that takes its name from the number of girls deprived of education in the developing world, Stephanie chose to focus on the story of some remarkable students and one determined activist at two unique schools in rural Bihar state in Northern India, taking as her starting point how “laughter and dignity”, as much as careers, independence and a wealthier and healthier life, are what girls miss out on when denied access to schooling. (The full story, including multiple feature articles and audi slideshows, are here.)

It was a point that landed well with the audience of seasoned leaders, educators and philanthropists already well aware of the benefits of educating girls. Stephanie first encountered the Prerna School for Mahadalit girls and its intrepid founder Sudha Varghese thanks to a tip from a friend. Following a lengthy search, she finally pushed open an unassuming gate and witnessed a rare sight in rural India: a green schoolyard of laughing, playing girls. The girls greeted her with a polite salutation before carrying on with their games, itself highly unusual for a tall, lone, female foreigner who typically drew curious crowds, not to mention low-caste girls, who would normally have shied away.

2014 11 09 15.30.25 300x2241 300x228 Stephanie Nolen: a shero among sherosIn and of themselves a rarity in India in general, these particular schoolgirls were an especially unlikely find, being as they are from the bottom of India’s caste system (“Mahadalit” basically translates as “lowest of the low”). “These girls have basically lost the global lottery,” in terms of social privilege, she explained, and was astounded to find an entire school dedicated to nourishing and educating them.

She went on to share Sudha’s story of determining to become as nun as one of the few ways to lead an independent life as a woman, learning of the plight of the Dalit people (also commonly known as “untouchable”) and determining to do what she could to support the most marginalized among them: girls.

Prerna means “inspiration”: the name of the school she founded on a shoestring in 2006, and inspiring indeed is the tale of how one woman has singlehandedly created two schools that now house and educate almost 200 girls. One of the most striking curriculum items is karate, a program where the girls have excelled to the point of winning local, state and even competitions in Japan!

Despite this extraordinary success, there are still massive challenges to be faced: often Prerna students are forced to get married when they return home to see their families, a common practice among their unschooled peers. Stephanie explained that while to Westerners the technically illegal practice of marrying off girls under 18 (most are married by the time they are 13) seems patently barbaric, to their parents it is doing their best to protect their daughters’ futures. Furthermore, while the Prerna girls may be getting an education, the rest of their society still sees them as inferior by virtue of both class and gender: what opportunities will they realistically have?

Lakshmi wants to be a judge, and Gunia, a teacher. Thanks to people like Sudha and Stephanie, they are far closer to those worthy goals than they ever would have been otherwise. Here’s hoping that they are the tip of a massive landslide of educated girls who fulfill the promise of the “Incredible India!” tourist billboards. Oh and hey: it only costs $200 to support one of Sudha’s students for a year. Email Stephanie if you want to help: snolen@globeandmail.com.

 

Margaret Cho Rocks Lunapads

November 7th, 2014 by Suzanne

lunagalscho 1024x882 Margaret Cho Rocks Lunapads

Madeleine and I have a lot to be thankful for for these days. One of the #1 reasons Lunapads has been a success is due to the hard work, dedication and brilliant minds behind our team. So, when I heard that Margaret Cho was coming to Vancouver, it seemed like a great way to thank the gang for their efforts and go on a Lunapads Staff outing! We adore Margaret for her fierce talent and vocal support of women and LGBTQ rights. Plus, she’s kick ass funny as hell.

Leading up to the event, we used Twitter to reach out to Margaret, who is not shy about talking about vaginas and periods. We wondered “does she know about our products” and “is she a fan”? We could only hope. She replied to one of our tweets with the hashtag #giftbasket. Ready with a gift basket full of Lunapads goodies, we wondered “How will we get it to her? Will it happen during the show”?

The big event finally arrived, and we eagerly gathered in our seats. The opening act featured actress/comedian/dancer Selene Luna, who immediately treaded into a topical conversation about sex and consent. Right now in Canada, we are reading stories daily about the evolving scandal around Jian Ghomeshi. As uncomfortable as the subject and jokes were, both Selene and Margaret shared very personal stories about their own experiences of sexual abuse and expressed their anger against those who perpetrate violence.

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This post was reposted from the DivaCup.com blog by Sophie Zivku.

20140916 172854 1024x768 One4Her provides basic needs to the Pader Girls Academy

On October 11th, organizations from around the world will come together to draw awareness to International Day of the Girl. This day is set aside each October to advocate for the basic needs and rights of girls and to encourage participation in efforts to help girls reach their full potential.

Diva International works with various organizations to help ensure that all girls, no matter where they live, have access to basic rights – food, clean water, shelter, education and hygiene (including access to feminine hygiene protection). Since 2000, one of our partners, Lunapads has been providing girls with sustainable period care through their Pads4Girls program. Period care is a necessity for women and girls, but is often not accessible due to poverty and limited resources.

This past spring, Diva International Inc. partnered with Lunapads in support of their One4Her program in recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day. We committed to donate an AFRIpads Kit (complete with 2 pads with 5 inserts, plus 1 carrying bag) for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May. Each kit provides a girl with a sustainable supply of cloth pads to manage her period for over a year.

Thanks to our Divas, we were able to pledge funds that totaled 443 kits to girls in need!

This summer Lunapads received a request from Maggie Crosby, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, in the School of Public Health, who was working at the Pader Girls’ Academy (PGA) in Uganda. Knowing about Lunapads and their One4Her program, Maggie requested a more comprehensive AFRIpads for the 250 young mothers at PGA that also included underwear (most girls don’t even own a pair) and soap. After reviewing Maggie’s request, Lunapads and Diva International were pleased to use the funds raised from the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign to send 250 comprehensive AFRIpad kits to the young women at PGA.

PGA helps child mothers by making it possible for them to bring their child with them to school. This is unique in Uganda, as often child mothers are stigmatized and going back to school is not an option for them. A survey was conducted to see what the girls would need when it comes to self-care and hygiene and most of the girls requested soap, underwear and pads.

Such basic needs.

The young girls who live at PGA have been victims of rape, coercion or abduction (due to Uganda’s 25-year civil war). At PGA they have been given a rare opportunity to continue their studies while raising their babies in a safe place. These are strong young women who have overcome many challenges, and who are learning to advocate for themselves and their families.

The following is a brief recap from Maggie about how your support of the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign has helped women at PGA live better, healthier lives.

unnamed 4 231x300 One4Her provides basic needs to the Pader Girls Academy

What do the young mothers currently use to manage their period? How does it affect their schooling when they have their period?

Most girls at PGA use rags or old t-shirts to stuff in their underwear during their period. They do not have any money to afford disposable pads and many cannot even afford underwear. Because of this, if their period soaks through their clothing, they may skip classes to avoid the embarrassment. Each student that I asked about this issue during my time at PGA this summer replied that their lack of hygiene necessities negatively impacts their studies. When asked “what information or resources, relating to sexual and reproductive health, would be most useful to you?” the number one response was “pads”.

The effect of menstruation is so stigmatising on the young mothers. Many of the girls often disassociate themselves from the rest of the students until their period is over, which has a big impact on her performance at the end of the term.

How will life improve for them to have the kits?

Owning reusable pads, underwear and soap will have a positive impact on the lives of PGA students. These young women have been robbed of their innocence and their agency – poverty happens to them, sex happens to them, pregnancy happens to them. Possessing the necessary resources for dealing with their periods will provide them with a measure of control over at least one aspect of their life.

Having the kits will also save the girls from a number of negative outcomes of menstruation (a) worries during periods, (b) use of unclean clothes during periods, (c) further infections during periods as a result of using dirty clothes. This will lead to improved performance of the students at school as such better ground for sustainability of the school.

What are their hopes and dreams in going to school?

Students in the vocational training program hope to become seamstresses, to work in hotels or restaurants, or to start their own bakeries or catering businesses. Secondary school students mostly aim to continue their studies in nursing or teaching. They want to be nurses to provide adequate support and care to young mothers and they want to be teachers they can encourage girls to enrol and complete both primary and secondary education. One student told me that she hopes one day to be a member of parliament.

While we still have many girls who are blocked from attaining their educational career due to re-current pregnancies, most girls who have attained admissions at schools demonstrate commitment in their studies.

Help change a young girl’s life by donating to Pads4Girls or shop to support One4Her today!

unnamed 2 1024x768 One4Her provides basic needs to the Pader Girls Academy

A history of pretty.

September 17th, 2014 by Guest

Reposted with gratitude from Textile Artist Amy Meissner‘s blog, Spontaneous Combustion.

You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’  — Diana Vreeland

 A history of pretty.

“Girl Story 2: How it could be.” Cotton, silk organza overlay, vintage domestic linens, ink, hand embroidered, hand quilted, 2014. Chosen for the show “QUILTS=ART=QUILTS”, Schweinfurth Art Center Nov. 2, 2014 – Jan. 4 -2014. Auburn, New York.

This is a brave post. If you’re squeamish about blood or the magic of women or the power of accepting the physical, then you may wish to pass. But if today you felt a moment of powerlessness, or your own lack of bravery or a body disconnect, then I encourage you to read on. Maybe there’s something here for you.Around 1995-96 I worked for 6 or 7 months in a small garment factory for a woman named Madeleine Shaw. A young entrepreneur with a mind for social and environmental change and what I still believe to be a f***-ing strong business plan, I think of her as the first woman who showed me the power of the feminine. We sewed tiger striped fur coats and sheer blouses for her teeny storefront, generated patterns and garment samples for young fashion start-ups who didn’t have factories of their own, produced mountains of velvet berets for Ooh La La Hat Company (this is how I still know the average head is 22″ around), and we made thousands of washable menstrual pads for Madeleine’s then-fledgling company, Lunapads International. (It was just “Lunapads” then. It wasn’t international yet, but soon would be).

Again, that’s washable menstrual pads.  As in, menstrual pads. That. You. Wash. As in, look, here is the blood you deal with. And wash. And care for. Remember, this is brave stuff, so you either have to lose the squirminess and all that BS you’ve been carrying around about what it means to be female and make the choice to continue reading, or not.

It’s cool.

Click.

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KURA + One4Her = 2,000 girls with AFRIpads

July 30th, 2014 by Madeleine

Sarah Hadden is a former teacher and the US Director of the KURA project, an organization that supports literacy in Northern Kenya.

After traveling to Kenya in 2010 and again in September 2012, I witnessed the sad state of affairs in the schools in Samburu, Maasai Mara and Nairobi.

As a former teacher, it broke my heart to see children deprived of an education for lack of funding. I was told that conditions in the north were far worse with the majority of the population being deprived of an education due to extreme poverty. I soon met Kura Omar, a local resident, who helped me understand even more the great need for assistance. Kura grew up in northern Kenya so he is very aware of the hardships and needs of the people living there.

kura1 KURA + One4Her = 2,000 girls with AFRIpads

Upon returning to the United States, I started The KURA Project (Kids Uniting for Rural Africa), naming the program after Kura, in order to raise funds for school supplies for these underserved students in northern Kenya.

Since its inception the Kura Project has delivered supplies to 11 primary schools in Northern Kenya. These deliveries included items the teachers requested, such as pens, pencils, geometrical sets, story books, rulers, graph books, dictionaries, composition books, exercise books, text books, crayons and sanitary towels(pads). Kura generously donated his time and effort to deliver these supplies to schools in the north.

After delivering supplies to several of the schools, and receiving letters of thanks for the donations, a common theme appeared. Each letter and sentiment passed on through Kura expressed appreciation for sanitary towels. Many girls are deprived of an education because of the lack of this basic necessity. Many girls must remain home during this time and risk the danger of being married off for cows at a very young age.

In 2012 The KURA Project began raising money for AFRIpads menstrual hygiene kits. These reusable sanitary pads last the girls and women up to one year, keep them in school and allow them to go through their monthly cycle with dignity.

kura8 KURA + One4Her = 2,000 girls with AFRIpads

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