An Islington company is turning women’s periods into a successful business.
“The idea came out of my own frustration with the way tampons and pads are bought,” says DAME’s founder, Celia Pool.
“I saw the whole manner of how other utility products come through the door, things likes contact lenses, coffee etc. and realised that is actually a serious problem for most women that they need these (sanitary) products every month,” she added.
The company, located in a small office along White Lion Street in Angel, operates as an online business where buyers choose their preferred brands and types of sanitary products, purchasing them as a box that gets delivered.
Celia explained the company’s selling model: “We’re doing bundles where people can get the things they need. Lots of women need painkillers and have sweet cravings during their periods.
“We’re offering healthy sweets because we believe in looking after the whole month which will actually lead to a better period. We give information to women about periods and hormone changes which makes it a holistic approach.”
DAME, previously called Sanitary Owl even appeared on Dragon’s Den but failed to secure funding. Co-founder Alec Mills said “Dragon’s Den did not take us seriously at all. The BBC really wanted us because we were dealing with a taboo subject and that makes good TV. The reality is that we were in it for an hour and a half talking about all sorts of things like concepts, production and our charity work, which weren’t aired.”
DAME offers a ‘My first period’ box for £15, which includes a range of tampons and pads suitable for early menstruation, a drawstring bag and a zipped travel wallet for when out the house. The box also has a book on puberty for girls as well as guides on menstruation.
They also sell eco-friendly sanitary pads with five layers of absorbency that can be reused after washing. Purchasing one eco-pad buys another for an Indian girl through their Pad for Pad programme.
Alec added: “We’re used to offering just one box to which you can add extras. We asked women and found that a lot use painkillers and have sweet cravings so those are the two areas we address.”
The business, which currently employs part-time health specialists and marketing advisers, is set to expand. Alec said: “We are about to start working with people from Specialist Works, the people who own the office building we are in,” he added.
Despite the fact they were denied funding by the Dragon’s Den, DAME received funding from ‘well noted’ investors.
“We raised a quarter of a million pounds regardless of the Dragon’s decision. So there were investors out there who saw value in what we did,” stated Celia.