A new Victoria-based period care company says it takes “a village of empowered menstruators” to change the industry and it’s ready to start building.
Based on the three pillars of good for body, good for planet and good for community, Joni offers Canada’s only biodegradable bamboo pad and donates one product for every one purchased.
The idea for the company came to co-founder, Jayesh Vekariya, after he moved to Canada from India and was shocked to find that in such a wealthy country something as basic as menstrual products was inaccessible to a large portion of the population.
One-third of Canadian women under age 25 say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual products, according to a 2018 report by Plan International Canada.
In their lifetimes, Canadian women spend an average of $6,000 on menstrual products, and women in rural communities can pay double the price for the same products found in larger cities.
Finding this unacceptable, Vekariya and fellow founder, Linda Biggs, decided to create their own product. “Our mission is about period equity,” Biggs said.
Beyond its one-for-one business model, Joni also offers Canada-wide free shipping to ensure that individuals in remote areas can receive menstrual products for the same price. Its biodegradable pads break down within a year, compared to the hundreds of years plastic-based pads are estimated to take.
While Joni currently only sells pads, Biggs said they are extremely excited to be launching tampons and “a new innovative product” come 2021. They are also planning on selling their products in specialty grocery stores in the new year.
The company is about more than just the product though, explained Biggs. “Joni is about bringing people together and talking about subject matter we haven’t be traditionally comfortable talking about.”
Joni’s website also hosts a blog where guest writers discuss various taboo subjects from how periods are understood in different cultures to what it’s like to have your period after giving birth.
“People can come to learn about their bodies and feel like they’re not alone in the information they want or the stories they want to share,” Biggs said.
Beyond Joni, Biggs said she is excited to see an ever-growing shift in the entrepreneurship community towards focusing on community and sustainability. “We need to be looking at success in a holistic way,” she said.
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