It’s not often that women’s hygiene products and hormone-related health concerns are linked together, but two Fort Lauderdale women are helping bridge the gap.
Sara Shake and Jonna Piira, friends and founders of a new women’s hygiene product called Kali, entered the beauty market two years ago after making lifestyle changes. They found that major retailers didn’t provide healthy options for women’s hygiene products and that the FDA recommends — but does not require — companies to disclose the list of chemicals that go into their products.
Shake, a fan of subscription boxes, had been sitting on the idea for a year and after telling Piira about it, they teamed up as business partners to create Kali, a monthly subscription box that arrives at your home with 100 percent biodegradable organic cotton tampons, wipes and a rotating third product.
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“We started doing a lot more research on it, and we realized there’re all these problems with tampons, what they actually put inside them, they use rayon and pesticides. Sixty percent of the pesticides used on crops are actually used on cotton crops. I think it was in between 90 to 96 percent of cotton in the U.S. is GMO,” Piira said. “Where is the awareness there? I’m going to Whole Foods, and I’m not even thinking of that, so that’s where the organic piece came in.”
After receiving FDA certification, Shake and Piira sent out Kali shipments in December and continue to rack subscribers daily across the nation. They are also planning to expand internationally and are currently working on releasing pads and liners in June because of the high demand. For them, it’s about producing a healthy, eco-friendly tampon that’s gentle on the environment and on women.
Mari Draughon became a Kali subscriber after suffering from endometriosis and being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. She researched the associations between feminine hygiene products and women’s health and changed to an organic way of life. She explains to other women about her transition and lifestyle changes on her Instagram The Goofy Mermaid.
“So many women don’t realize that [tampons] can cause [urinary tract infections], yeast infections and other hormonal issues. Sometimes a woman is experiencing that, and they don’t think that it’s a tampon,” Draughon said. “Now with Kali, I have an option to use something that’s safer, that I can use myself, but also recommend to my followers. It’s hypoallergenic, organic and free of chemicals, all of that good stuff so they can feel confident and put it in their bodies.”
The corrugated cardboard in The Kali box is recyclable and brings 14 tampons with a choice of absorbency. For some women with a heavier flow, the third product can be substituted for 10 more tampons a month at no additional cost. The cotton used is 100 percent hypoallergenic and certified organic cotton; the paper applicator and wrapper are also biodegradable, and it takes about five months to disintegrate. The Wipette — also made with organic cotton — has .02 percent fragrance and is also biodegradable. It takes about a month to receive the first box after subscription and then arrives on the first of every month after the subscription.
Shake and Piira have also partnered with Girl Up — the United Nations Foundation’s teen girl empowerment campaign — and one dollar from every Kali box sold will go to the organization. For Shake and Piira, it’s about supporting women worldwide and letting them know they have options.
“We call what we are doing the tampon revolution. We want women to join the tampon revolution. We want women to switch to organic. That’s our goal,” Shake said. “Our goal is educating women, what they’re putting in their bodies and making them switch to organic. Whether it’s ours, whether it’s someone else’s, it’s about making a better choice for your body. The goal is education.”
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