Easy Period with Alyssa

I have worked within the scope of global health over the last 5 years, in women’s sexual and reproductive health, and I have seen the extreme end of one spectrum where for many women accessing tampons or pads, is a luxury. Consequently, many suffer from vaginal infections. On the other end, in the western world, I can walk into any food, drug and corner store, and I can buy my pads and/or tampons at a reasonable cost. However, it is often the same brands that we see off the shelves, and the quality believe or not, isn’t always the best. Since the vagina is such a sensitive area, carefully monitoring what you expose it too, is extremely important. That is why, when seeing the Easy Period brand advertised on my social media feed, as an upcoming female dominant startup company in the Toronto market, I had to reach out to the founder of this fascinating company, Alyssa Bertman, and have a seat down chat with her. To my surprise, Alyssa was extremely responsive and welcomed me into her home where I had the chance to better understand the genius behind this brand, and its revolutionary impact on women’s health not only in Toronto, but internationally.

Listen to the full interview: nohemieco/easy-period

Q1 Who is Alyssa? Tell us about yourself
A. My name is Alyssa. I was born in Toronto, to a teen mom and dad who were high school sweethearts. I grew up in a small town outside of Toronto (Pickering). I studied at Ryerson University, majored in Psychology and I did a research thesis at the end of my degree. I went on to do research in various healthcare settings afterwards throughout the city. Last year (2016), I launched a company called Easy Period, which is a subscription delivery service for organic cotton menstrual hygiene products. We donate a portion of our profit to delivering menstrual hygiene products to girls in Kenya.

Q2 What made you start a Women’s tampons company? Out of the products in the market, why this one?
A. It wasn’t intentionally chosen, it was simply a service that I wish existed. When I was on my periods or I knew my periods were coming and I knew that I needed these products on hand, I always complained jokingly about someone delivering me these hygienic products. I felt like I would appreciate it if this product were readily available in the market, and I know other women would too. It wasn’t until I got to a place of discontentment in my role at the hospital, and I had a lot of friends in creative roles doing what they wanted to do for living on a day-to-day basis and pursuing things that really matter to them, that I became inspired.

The summer of 2016 when my mom got really sick, and slowly recovered, seeing her being sick was like facing one of my biggest fears. All of the sudden it was a wake up call of life and death, and seeing how close we are to death at all times. So then, I was looking at what I was doing with my life at the time, and I realized that I wasn’t happy with where I was at, and realizing that there is no time to waste in life. I have this idea that I talk to people about all the time, and people think it’s interesting, so why not do something about it? That’s when I started to take steps towards building the company.

Q3 Your product markets itself as ‘organic’, why did you choose for it to be organic?
A. At the time when I started my company, I didn’t know there was such thing as organic menstrual hygienic products. I started to dive into the research and literatures of these products, and I discovered that corporations are not legally bind to list the ingredients of these products, and I had no idea, that’s when I became fired up as an activist because I felt like people are not getting the truth about the things that they’re using. Especially for women who are using products that are so close to their reproductive organs, and they don’t know what these products are made of.

Big name brands for pads and tampons sold on shelves, they use synthetic fibers like polyesters or rayons that are found in clothes, and are more likely to shed in the vaginal walls. They often use bleach by-products for cleansing and keep the vaginal area white. Our products to keep things clean, use naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide. The product itself (EasyPeriod tampons), is 100% cotton. That cotton is grown without pesticides, no bleach, no chlorine.

Q4 Your product markets itself as easily accessible. Why make the product deliverable and not sell off the shelves of retailers who have a larger demographic?
A. I want to stay true to my initial vision, which was to make this a deliverable service. I feel like our society is moving in that direction; things coming right to you. I wanted to build a brand, and getting people to understand the concept and model of our business, that every subscription gives back. The subscription model, where you buy once and you don’t have to think about it again. Down the line we may go into retail shelves, but for now it is a minimal viable product, and we are taking it step by step.

Q8 What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
A. Sweet. Ambitious. Kind.

Q9 When leaving this earth, how would you like to be remembered?
A. I want to be remembered as a lover, and someone who made things seem possible for other people.

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