Humor isn’t something normally associated with periods. But, The Organic Project (TOP) aims to change the tone of that conversation. In fact, recently co-founder Thyme Sullivan ran the Reebok 10k in Boston wearing a tampon costume. In boiled wool, no less.
The crowd’s reaction? “People stopped her; they thought it was so funny,” TOP co-founder Denielle Finkelstein tells Parentology.
TOP is a new feminine product company with a focus on sustainability, accessibility and, yes, humor. “Let’s bring levity to this,” Finkelstein says of a product line that often results in uncomfortable conversations. TOP’s take, per Finkelstein, “We all want to smile, we all want to laugh.”
And the tampon costume melds perfectly with the TOP tagline: Tampons Can Do Anything.
TOP Is A New Type of Feminine Product Company
Most feminine products are headed up by huge corporate companies. The co-founders of The Organic Project, however, are two moms who have decades of corporate work experience, but wanted to build something different. The inspiration for TOP was an accumulation of experiences, culminating in the pair’s daughters needing information and guidance about menstrual health.
TOP Is Guided By Three Pillars
Sullivan and Finkelstein were alarmed by the lack of honesty regarding ingredients in feminine products, as well as the environmental waste created by them. After doing a deep dive into the feminine product industry, they decided they could do better, both for their daughters and the world.
The first pillar has to do with the lack of transparency in the ingredients. In most states (New York just passed a new law demanding ingredient lists) the ingredients in these products remain a mystery; they can contain synthetics, fragrances, and dioxins, which don’t do a body any good.
TOP products only contain one ingredient: organic cotton. “We want organic feminine care to be available to women and girls everywhere,” Finkelstein said.
Second is the environmental impact. About 20 billion period products are disposed of in the US annually. “Feminine care is worse than straws and plastic bags,” Finkelstein says. Organic and biodegradable, TOP products are sustainably produced in European plants, where organic standards are strictly enforced. And that includes TOP’s tampon applicators, which are currently fully biodegradable cardboard, but are about to be replaced with innovative ones made of sugar cane.
The third pillar is period poverty and trying to correct all the injustices that come with it. According to Finkelstein, one in five girls experience period poverty, meaning lack of access to period products. The impact is lasting: they miss school, activities, and fall behind. TOP counters this injustice with donations. “Currently, we donate one box per subscription. In the future, we will be moving towards a percentage of the profits,” Finkelstein says.
“The biggest thing for us is the accessibility for all women and girls, and that people know there’s an option,” Finkelstein explains.
TOP has partnered with the organization Period.org, to help spread awareness, conversation, and product equality. “We’re so excited to have TOP as a leading member in our MENSTRUAL MOVEMENT COALITION,” Period.org founder Nadya Okamoto tells Parentology. “We created this coalition as a way to build more community in the movement to end period poverty and period stigma, and launched it in honor of the first-ever National Period Day on October 19th.”
TOP is About To Roll Out In Retail
Currently, TOP is online only. Customers can order products singly, or opt for convenient monthly subscription service (guaranteeing you’ll never run out of tampons or pads again).
While online is good, retail stores are better. Having both — perfect. About 83% of all period products are purchased in grocery stores and pharmacies. Rolling TOP into those vendors is a vital step for access and success. The company will take this step on the east coast first.
For Our Daughters; For Women of the World
In the end, The Organic Project is a deeply personal business; Sullivan and Finkelstein are doing this for their daughters, and hope to create a more open discussion around the subject of periods. Indeed, TOP even makes first period kits for girls, so parents can introduce the concept of organic, sustainable period products to their daughters early.
By pushing for transparency in ingredients, eradicating the period product sales tax (one of the only “medical” products subject to sales tax), and providing access to products for those who cannot afford it, the pair hope to make a substantive difference.
“We are moms, and we are doing this for the conversations with the daughters. How do we get the moms to get the daughters comfortable?” Finkelstein asked. “We’re out here not to bring fear, but to educate that there are options.”
And, running a 10k in a tampon costume doesn’t hurt, either.