More so than ever before, this year we have seen the Black Lives Matter movement go global. Since the death of George Floyd, a wave of international protests have sparked against police brutality. Many have taken place during the pandemic, which has highlighted alternative ways to support the Black community too.
Many donate to organisations that directly serve the Black Lives Matter movement. Some share petitions that hold law enforcement accountable. Others amplify Black-owned businesses. As 21% of US Black business owners fear they won’t survive the pandemic, support for Black owned businesses is crucial.
When it comes to menstruation, people often erase Black women. For example, a lot of people assume that the menstrual pad was invented by Benjamin Franklin. However, it was actually developed by Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner. People ignore Black women when it comes to period poverty efforts too. Chelsea VonChaz, co-founder of Happy Period, states that white organisers will often push their beliefs onto young Black girls.
Menstrual care products make up a global multi-billion dollar industry. You already know the big corporations, but smaller (and often woman-owned) companies are out there too! Here’s some Black owned companies to support through the pandemic and beyond:
The Honey Pot
The Honey Pot is popular for its use of plant-based and environmentally friendly ingredients. Not only are their products chemical-free, they infuse them with essential oils like lavender, aloe, rose & mint. The purpose of the oils is ease discomfort with their “cooling effect”. Founder Bea Dixon was inspired after suffering from bacterial vaginosis for months and couldn’t get relief. All of their products are gynaecologist-approved.
When Davielle Jackson’s friend was experiencing a heavy flow, Jackson set out to create a solution. The result was the Pretty Panty, a “fashionable panty and absorbent pad in one unit”. They have since gone on to create a subscription box service that includes all-natural CBD pain-relieving ointment and wipes.
Clean & Cute Panty Wash
Developed by gynaecologist Dr. Tosha Rogers, this panty wash is a response to the issues Rogers treats on a regular basis. People are treated for vaginal infections, but there is little consideration for the panties where the “infected discharge is spilling”. Some detergents are harsh on the body too. Clean & Cute is a hypoallergenic, organic, non-GMO, vegan, paraben free, sulfate free and formaldehyde free alternative. Their focus is panties that are actually clean, not just perfumed!
After giving birth, Breighl Robbins wanted to address the emotional and physical challenges of postpartum periods. Ebi focus on a postpartum wellness in general and includes underwear, nipple pads as well as wellness kits.
Founded by Crystal Etienne in 2015, Ruby Love is an apparel company that offers maximum absorption and protection against leaks. They set out to prove period days can be like every other day, but have since launched leakproof menswear too.
Breast cancer survivor and OB/GYN, Dr. Barb created a chemical-free line of products that help address issues like chafing, irritation and more.
Tiffany Johnson is all about creating awareness of and making sustainable, high-performing quality products accessible to all. After making the change to menstrual cups, they noticed their black peers were not aware of the alternatives out there. This inspired Johnson to create a brand where people of colour have space to see themselves choosing more sustainable options.
After suffering a cervical tumour that was linked to chemicals, founder Arion Long created an eco-friendly, organic line of products. Their best sellers include cotton pads, pantyliners, and menstrual cups.
Besties Tara & Susan created Flo after Co-founder Tara wondered why organic tampons were so unattainable. They aim to make products that empower people to feel better about their “messiest bodily moments”. They are launching bladder care products and a sex-related line next.
Twistie On The Go
Tawana J switched to menstrual cups and noticed how inaccessible they were for people in developing countries. Twistie On The Go aims to provide period care for everyone no matter social or financial status. The cup is available in North America, the UK and the Caribbean with plans to expand to other, developing countries.
Focusing on building a community with menstrual self-care at the forefront, Fluer’s subscription service launches soon.
More info here.