February 07

Entrepreneur says reusable maxi pads do more than save you a few bucks

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Brooke Nantz is a Gainesville, Florida, entrepreneur who has a fresh approach to a product that many women can not do without– the good ol’ maxi pad. Brooke’s line of flannel maxi pads and knitted menstrual cup holders are reusable and can be used repeatedly for years. Her pads, which come in a range of adorable designs like cupcake cootchie and fur burger, can be seen on her website: www.waybetterperiod.bigcartel.com.

 

We got to ask Brooke a few questions about what motivated her to start the business and how buying reusable pads can do more than just save you a few bucks.
Q: Can you describe the products that you make? 
I make reusable cloth maxi pads.  Way Better pads are great for menstrual bleeding, but also for mild incontinence, and post-partum bleeding.

 

Q: How did you come up with the idea to start making feminine hygiene products and menstrual cup covers?
I was just tired of buying disposable products!  I started using a cup when I was 20, and it changed my life! However, I don’t like to wear it when I’m spotting. About five years ago I stumbled upon a blog where a woman detailed her project of ripping up an old flannel bed sheet to make a set of cloth pads, and I had to try it! I made up a simple pattern and went for it. My first batch was not . . .retail ready. With practice and more research, got better and here we are.

 

Q: What are the benefits of using reusable pads rather than disposable ones? 
They can be machine washed and dried or handwashed and line dried. With good care, Way Better maxi pads will last for years, diverting many pounds of waste from the landfill and saving a great deal of money for everyone who uses them.

 

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Q: What kinds of responses have you gotten from people about your products?
Ha! Well, usually people react 1 of 3 ways.
A) They’re all about it! They think it’s a great idea and are really eager to tell me their ideas for new products or venues for me to sell them.
B) They’re embarrassed by my booth and willingness to talk about bodily functions.  Usually, these people think the idea of reuse is gross.
C) Utter confusion. People sometimes mistake the pads for slippers and think the menstrual cup pouches are a covering for wine glasses. . . They just can’t wrap their brains around what I’m selling.

 

Q: How long does it take you to make a menstrual pad? Did you create the pattern or use a template?
It’s hard to quantify the time for a single pad because I usually make them in batches of 15 or so and that takes me about a day. I created my patterns but certainly did a lot of blog reading in my development process.

 

“Every dollar you spend is a vote for the practices that went into that good or service.”
Q: Do you sew and/or knit other products as well?
I love to do repairs and knit gifts for my loved ones. I don’t usually sell these products as it’s hard to charge enough money to cover the many hours of  labor that go in to hand knitted items.

 

Q: Can you tell us about one or two women that inspire you?
My friend Chelsea Carnes is amazing! She’s a local powerhouse when it comes to bringing people together to be productive and have fun at the same time. I got to see her work with lots of young budding feminists at Gainesville Girls Rock Camp last summer and to be honest, I cried a little. Helping out with camp really lit a fire under my ass to be productive and to reach out into the Gainesville community for support with my endeavors.

 

Q: If you had one message to tell the world, what would it be?  
Every dollar you spend is a vote for the practices that went into that good or service. You are approving the wage that the workers were paid, the methods of extracting raw resources and the methods that must be used to break it down when it’s served its purpose. Think about what you’re supporting when you’re shopping.