TABOO SANITARY PRODUCTS
The 3 greatest things that have come out of South Australia since the Malls Balls (Eloise, Izzy and their company). Eloise & Izzy are doing big things with TABOO Sanitary Products are changing the world one tampon at a time. Get to know them here.
Founders: Eloise Hall & Isobel Marshall
E: I was 16 when we developed the idea and am currently 18
I: I was 17 when we began and am now 18!
Current Location: Adelaide, Australia
Handles: insta- @taboosanitaryproducts , facebook- /taboosanitaryproducts
What is Taboo Sanitary Products and how did you come up with the idea?
TABOO Sanitary Products is a social enterprise which sells menstrual health products (pads and tampons) to generate profit for the sanitary care of women in Developing countries. 100% of profits from our sales will be dedicated to providing those in The Developing World with access to menstrual health education and products. In early 2016, we were influenced by Daniel Flynn, the co-founder of Thankyou at a leadership conference in Queensland. We absolutely loved the concept of selling a product that is in high demand, and directly dedicating 100% of the profits to a related cause. We brainstormed a list of necessities that we could take advantage of in the market, and finally came across sanitary products! It seemed so simple when we considered pads and tampons. 50% of the population buys these products every month for a significant duration of their life and it is a product that will not decrease in demand. We both share in the Christian faith and have a huge heart for people who are suffering. When we discovered what women in developing countries do to deal with their period, we were completely shocked to say the least! Many women are forced to use tree bark, cow dung or kitchen sponges to soak up their blood. Due to a lack of water or appropriate cleaning supplies, these solutions become completely unhygienic and will often cause infection. The lack of menstrual health education often means that when these girls start menstruating, they think that they are dying because no one has taught them about periods. Because it's too culturally inappropriate to be seen bleeding, the girls do not attend school for 1 week of every month and are then often led to terminate their education. The thing that fuels our passion is the fact that this tragedy can be easily eradicated if people like us work hard to help these people.
Did you ever think that you'd have your own business/working for yourself 5 years ago?
E: 5 years ago I was 13 and probably envisioned myself as a Zookeeper. I definitely did not think I would be running my own business or be my own boss.
I: 5 years ago I was too busy stressing about my own period, let alone other people's! There was no way I could see myself in this position - I was quite set on doing medicine and watching as much Grey's anatomy as I could!
Are you at uni or studying? If so, how do you manage your time? If not, how do you spend most of your time?
E: I have deferred my uni course by a year and am still unsure if I will study full time next year. I have a part time job but most days I am attending meetings, writing reports/articles, contacting mentors, suppliers and other team members. Our days and weeks are very varied, the other week I made 10 wheat bags for the exclusive packages we sold, where as other weeks we will have 5 meetings in one day and many other business duties to undertake.
I: I have also deferred my uni degree to focus on TABOO. I will start medicine at Adelaide in 2018 and am still waiting to see what that will look like in terms of balancing study and work! Currently I have a part time job in retail but am prioritising work for TABOO. Eloise and I do most of the work together but also delegate certain tasks to suit our individual skill sets. It is also so important for us to maintain the relationships we have with the people around us, so we make sure that we dedicate enough time to enjoying a fun night or day trip with our friends and family!
Who has been your greatest supporter so far?
E: I am very thankful for the amazing support our mentors have provided us with. Our friends and family are a great reliance. And of course Izzy Marshall the amazing woman I am starting this business with, she’s been the greatest blessing and I’m so thankful we get to share this experience together.
I: I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a strong support network. Eloise is an absolute joy to spend every day with and I am so thankful that we appreciate each other's company and support so much. My parents absolutely love this initiative and are so pumped to be heavily involved which is so encouraging to me too. My boyfriend Nick is also amazingly encouraging. He loves TABOO and does everything he can to practically help - from dropping off deliveries to helping us choose a colour palette for the logo! We're so lucky to have so many willing people involved.
What were people's reactions when you said you were going to start your own social enterprise?
E: This reaction depends on the crowd of people. Younger people tend to get very excited which is amazingly encouraging, especially when they offer their time and skills. Because of the taboo around the nature of our products, older generations can be very apprehensive about talking about it because “pads and tampons are nothing to be publicly spoken about”. However the overall reaction has been fantastic, people have offered an abundance of skills and time to us with incredible advice and knowledge.
I: I second that Eloise! ^^ We have discovered that the more confidently we present ourselves, the more people take us seriously. But we have a lot of fun with it - we are willing to be vulnerable and speak about the topics that people tend to avoid. What we have found is that people find the discussion quite refreshing and want to take part in the conversation!
Pizza or pasta?
E: I love them both too much I can’t choose!
I: PIZZA! There is no way I'll pass up a pasta, but a cheesy pizza is definitely the way to my heart!
What's the biggest thing you've learnt so far?
E: It’s been an incredibly fast paced learning journey, we’ve learnt an incredible amount of new skills, new vocabulary and so much about business. One new skill I’m very thankful for is how to lead a group of adults in a respectable manner. As young girls we’ve found that some people use our age as an excuse to not take us seriously, but after conducting ourselves in the right manner it’s great to see how we gain that respect from older professionals.
I: Coming from a super encouraging and compassionate school environment, it has definitely been a learning curve to discover the 'real world' and the people in it. Initially, Eloise and I were only working with each other, and we have only recently begun to learn how to work with adults and other people who want to be involved.
This has been an amazing experience and we have discovered how important it is to keep people in the loop and involved.
How can we support TABOO Sanitary Products?
If you’ve decided you would love to purchase our products when we release them, please don’t hesitate to pre-order your products on our website. We are currently finalising our manufacturer but in the mean time please head to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/taboosanitaryproducts/ to share and like our page. We also have an Instagram account which can be found at@taboosanitaryproducts. Please follow the account to keep up to date with what we’re up to! We have a gofund me page which you’ll be able to find on our Facebook page and website. Financial support will be incredibly helpful in regards to business start up costs, so please donate if you are willing and feel passionate about the cause. It’d be great to hear your feedback so don’t hesitate to message us either.
INSPIRED BY ELOISE AND IZZY?
BE A GOOD SAMARITAN AND BY A PAD OR TAMPON FOR A LOVED ONE, FLOWERS ARE OVERRATED.
IF NOT, FOLLOW THEIR AMAZING JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK.