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Conscious Business With Guest My Cup NZ Questions answered by: Kimberli Schuitman, Founder and Director My Cup NZ is a Christchurch based manufacturer of menstrual cups and retailer of sustainable period solutions.

can’t. So, we offer choices of products and brands with education support– and affordable options too. Knowledge is power.

I started My Cup after I discovered menstrual cups and had a bit of an epiphany around periods; how I felt about them and the taboos that society places on menstruating people (Yes, I said “people” not “women” – not all menstruators are women) along with the sustainability issues that go with the level of waste our 'traditional' period management products of the last century have caused.

Describe your unique business attributes: We were the first in NZ to start the 'buy one donate one' menstrual cup for period poverty initiative. Initially I did this with a menstrual cup that I imported specifically for this purpose, then switched to using our own brand. I spent a lot of time fostering relationships with community partners who gave cups with support and education. To date we have gifted over 8000 cups to NZ organisations and crafted a range of free instructional videos to tackle menstrual education for ages 10+.

I started selling menstrual cups to tackle the issues of sustainability and long-term affordability of menstrual options but felt that the overseas options didn't meet all the issues I wanted to tackle so I started down the R&D path and, well, 3 years after launching the very first NZ Made menstrual cup, ours is still the only one made in NZ from medical grade silicone.

But, I realised that despite huge numbers of people now doing similar buy-one/give-one schemes, no-one actually gave the option of choice to the recipient. After discussion with one of my community partners we formed The Good Fund to offer these choices to women and menstruating people. To offer anonymity of asking for help online.

How do you do business more consciously? I try to be an ethical employer. I employ parents with young children and we’ve worked hard to ensure that our business operates during school hours with close-down over Christmas holidays so my team can be with their families when it counts the most to them. I also consciously try to work with contractors and businesses that are small and local. Sustainability isn’t just environmental waste management, it’s local solutions and workforce – small things all add up.

The only criteria to applicants is that they menstruate. There is no financial criteria. Applicants just have to ask. This means that no part of society is omitted.

We work with people to find their best solution – that might mean that my own brand is not right for them. I’ve got to work this way because to do otherwise is, in my opinion, not ethical. We’ve got to factor in that every single person is unique and they have their own circumstances that mean their solution is right for them. I wish a menstrual cup could work for everyone, they completely changed my life, but there are so many reasons (age, religion, non-binary/gender diverse, sexual abuse for example) that they 44

Issue #7 | The Inspired Guide | January 1st 2020

How have you found doing business this way? The community I’ve surrounded myself with are incredible. The businesses and the people I get to work with regularly are very supportive and I know they’ve got my back. The period (products/education) industry itself can feel very ego-centric and quite political at times, almost as if it’s less about coming up with a solution and more about being the person to come up with the solution. It’s not that simple though, there is no 'one-size fits all' box or we would have nailed that long ago. I have felt ostracised at times because I continue to stand-up for what I believe in and that’s not always popular. But times are changing and we’ve had some really great wins lately which are heartening.

THE DIVINE FEMININE FEATURE

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The Inspired Guide - Issue #7  

Read Issue #7 of The Inspired Guide - FREE Conscious Living and Holistic Wellbeing eMagazine! Filled with inspiring and informative article...

The Inspired Guide - Issue #7  

Read Issue #7 of The Inspired Guide - FREE Conscious Living and Holistic Wellbeing eMagazine! Filled with inspiring and informative article...

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