December 6, 2017
Five mins with Affi, Founder of Freda
Freda is a period subscription service that has a strong focus on natural and eco-friendly period products as well as social responsibility. You get natural periodcare products exactly when you need them, and a portion of every purchase helps women in developing countries get access to the products they need as well.
We caught up with the Founder, Affi, to find out more about this wonderful brand and the ethos behind it.
What made you decide to start Freda?
I used to be a market analyst advising companies on new product launches and provided strategic advice to a few start-up projects. Experience taught me that the best ideas were always the most simple ones – as a woman, as a daughter of refugee parents, and the mother of a teenage daughter, I was saddened by the images of refugees fleeing their countries of origin and being stuck at various European borders or in refugee camps and one question that kept popping up in my mind was how did the women and girls manage their periods. The answer after some research was they don’t manage. Cultural taboos around menstruation had pushed the provision of any period products under the radar. The same taboo had also somehow deterred women from scrutinising the ingredients of their pads and tampons. Many of us buy our products on auto-pilot, assuming they’re made out of cotton because subconsciously, the decades of adverts espousing cotton-like comfort has made us think our tampons are cotton – the one ingredient missing!
What makes Freda different from other subscription boxes for periods?
We have developed our own myth busting brand, in partnership with our manufacturers who have 70 years of experience in this field. So although we’re one year old, we do come with significant experience. Our manufacturers have all the environmental organic certifications and comply with all the global industry standards and that’s why we can ship worldwide.
We also have a giveback pledge at the core of our business. We want to be more than just a period care company, we want to reboot a stagnant market and make it more transparent, more accessible and more sustainable.
Why should women consider using organic tampons and sanitary pads over the brands found in pharmacies and stores?
Like all other consumer products like food or beauty products, there has been a move towards stripping out chemicals and additives and we can’t see why pads and tampons, which are the most intimate product a women uses every month for almost 30 years of her life, should be exempt from this. It’s all about having a viable alternative and giving women a choice.
You support a lot of charitable causes that provide support for girls in deprived countries with accessing products to use during the time of the month. Why do you think the world has not gotten a grip in ensuring that girls around the world can experience this time with dignity?
The fact that there are 5000 euphemisms for periods may explain the lack of dignity and access. The terms sanitary products and feminine hygiene imply periods are dirty and therefore linked with shame and embarrassment.
What needs to be done to address the above?
Open conversations – periods are private, not secret. No more shoving tampons up our sleeves.
What have been some of the challenges in starting a business and how have you overcome these?
Periods are not sexy so in a world of social media, it’s hard to get people engaged with a product that they have never had a reason to think about.
What does the future look like for Freda?
When we don’t have to talk periods!
To find out more about Freda visit their website here