People who get periods have a lot to deal with. Beyond the physical discomfort and inconvenience of menstruation, the social stigma and inability to access menstrual health products is so profound that the United Nations declared it a public health, gender inequality, and human rights issue. Emmy Hancock, the founder of apparel company Oluna, wants to change that.
Before 2016, Hancock “had never really looked at menstrual items as an obstacle.” It wasn’t until she saw the award-winning film I, Daniel Blake that her perspective changed. “There was a scene where the protagonist shoplifts from a food bank and the first item she takes out are menstrual products,” Hancock says. “That opened my eyes completely.”
Since its founding in 2018, Oluna has been hard at work destigmatizing periods and increasing access to period products, a need that has only increased since the pandemic began. According to UNICEF, the economic uncertainty that goes hand-in-hand with COVID-19 has made it nearly impossible for those living in poverty to access period supplies.
But for every pair of comfy-yet-chic Oluna pants purchased, one year of period supplies is provided to an American in need. The company has also partnered with the nonprofit Days for Girls as well as 10 homeless shelters in the Dallas area to ensure that those in need receive menstrual health products. “I think that every business should have a social-impact thread woven into it,” Hancock says. “As someone who has had so many opportunities in life, I would be remiss not to give something back.” In addition to the donation of period supplies products, 50 percent of proceeds are put toward funding menstrual research and education, creating a foundation for long-term meaningful change.
Beyond addressing the public health crisis, Oluna emphasizes the importance of investing in women by creating a U.S.-based supply chain that is entirely women-owned, from the fabric manufacturer to the modeling agency.
In the future, Oluna hopes to expand its impact beyond homeless shelters to public schools and prisons across the nation and internationally.
Head to Oluna’s site to shop the cause.
Image courtesy of Oluna
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Sylvie Baggett is in constant search of the perfect sour candy, as well as a 2019 graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design where she majored in Writing and double-minored in Creative Writing and Fashion Journalism. Lately, she spends her time taking long walks through the woods accompanied by her feline companion, Bruce. Follow her on Instagram at sylvie_baggett.