An estimated 800 million women, girls, trans and nonbinary persons menstruate daily around the world, and since the invention of the sanitary pad in the 1920s, pads and tampons have all but monopolized the multibillion-dollar feminine hygiene industry. But as environmental concerns about single-use plastic grow and women search for a more convenient alternative to traditional feminine products, a new contender has emerged on the market: the menstrual cup.
“A lot of people still don’t know about the menstrual cup,” said Christine Brown, the founder and designer of Kind Cup, based in Carpinteria. “This is a truly sustainable and healthy period product that can make a difference in someone’s life.”
Unlike pads or tampons, which absorb blood flow, the menstrual cup is a reusable product that is inserted into the vagina, where the blood is collected. Many people remain hesitant to try this option, often citing reasons of discomfort, but Brown explained that once they’re given a nudge of encouragement, the cup can be a truly transformative experience.
“Our cup is not the traditional menstrual cup — we don’t use the design that came out in the 1930s,” she said. “Our design is for first-time users so that they can have a positive experience and so that they can feel empowered by their bodies.”
After being introduced to menstrual cups in 2011, Brown immediately recognized the benefits of this “superior” alternative to more conventional period products. “The most obvious advantage is that you’re reducing waste big time,” she said. “Around 4,800 tampons is equal to the lifespan of one menstrual cup, so the amount of single-use plastic that you divert is massive. Another benefit is the huge amount of money you save.”
Brown, a sixth-generation farmer who grew up on a ranch in Carpinteria, spent several years as a consumer before she realized that most companies were not interested in finding ways to improve functionality or comfort, and she was inspired to look for the solution herself. By 2018, Kind Cup had begun to design and manufacture their own products that were more practical and user-friendly.
“The first aspect is that the cup is more ergonomic to fit the curvature of the vaginal canal and the overall internal anatomy,” Brown explained. “The second and most obvious point of differentiation is the elongated stem for removal. I wanted to create something that people didn’t fear, like they wouldn’t be able to reach or locate their cup.” The cups, which are made of silicon, are also packaged with environmentally friendly materials.
While Kind Cup has faced the same hurdles as any other entrepreneurial endeavor, Brown’s unwavering belief in her company’s mission has been her driving force. “People don’t have regular access to period products, which should be considered a basic human right,” she said.
“This product is worth fighting for, and I’m reminded of that every time customers reach out and tell us that they’re absolutely elated about how well the cup has worked for them. That is what gets us through the challenging moments.”
To learn more, visit kindcup.com.
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