Pioneering a New Category w/ Heli Kurjanen of Lunette

Lunette is committed to changing the future of feminine protection. And not just by offering a menstrual cup that is highly effective, ecological, safe and economical, but by speaking openly and honestly about a subject that many people around the world still feel has no place in polite conversation.

In light of Instagram’s recent removal of artist Ruki Kaur’s image of a woman menstruating, it seems that Lunette’s goal to educate, inform and help remove the deep-rooted social stigma around women and their periods has never been more relevant.

But let’s rewind. Menstrual cups are not a new invention, in fact the first usable commercial cup was patented all the way back in 1937. So why are they still relatively unknown? Most likely because the big players in $3 billion feminine protection category have little financial incentive to sell a product that can last five years or longer. But now that more and more women are committed to making sustainable, eco-conscious purchases, the menstrual cup movement is gaining momentum.

It really is a better choice.  Not only does it work, but the number of feminine protection products used per year is staggering.  At an average of 286 products per year per woman, annual product usage is around 21 billion products per year.  Just imagine the global environmental impact a woman can make by switching to a reusable cup – wow!

We had a chance to  spend some time with Lunette’s founder, Heli Kurjanen and she shared with us what it’s like to pioneer a new category for women.

Heli blog

Brandettes (B)- Please tell us about the development process for Lunette – we can imagine getting the size and shape correct was very difficult!   Were any materials other than medical-grade silicone considered? 

Heli Kurjanen (HK)– From the beginning it was clear that we would use only the highest medical grade silicone. That’s the only material I felt would be safe enough for this kind of product. We, as a company, want to offer only safe and high quality products.

The process of manufacturing started by addressing the problems with existing menstrual cups I had used. I made draft drawings and the silicone experts told me how it could be done. I had a quite clear idea of the ”best cup ever” and luckily the first round was successful. My friends who tried out the first cups were as happy as I was, and Lunette went in to production. The smaller size (model 1) was introduced almost two years later after we got feedback from younger girls that they had problems inserting the (bigger size) cup.

 

(B)- Education is so critical for a product like this.  What strategies or avenues have been most successful in terms of effectively communicating Lunette’s unique benefits? 

(HK)– We have lots of information on our website. Not only about the products but also about anatomy and periods in general. In certain markets we have created a special booklet for young girls about periods that is distributed by school nurses and moms. In the booklet, we educate about periods and different options for how to manage them. We know that lots of young girls don’t want to use a cup because it’s internal, but they should know that there are options to pads and tampons.

 

(B)- Do you feel Lunette resonates best with a particular age group?

(HK)– Over the years we have noticed that most of the cup users start when they are around their 20’s or 30’s. But there are women from all walks of life; the youngest are 10 years old and the oldest are over 50. The only thing in common is that they have periods.

 

(B)- We love that eco-consciousness is part of Lunette’s DNA.  Can you tell me about your commitment to the environment?

(HK)– Environment is really important for us. I think it’s part of the Finnish heritage too; we are living in the countryside and surrounded by the beautiful nature. It’s not just that our product is environmentally friendly. Our office is mainly paperless, we recycle and everything in the packaging is recycled, and can be recycled. The new cup packaging we have is totally compostable. It doesn’t have any plastics. The cup can even be burned after it has served the user and it will leave only white ash.

 

(B)- We know that 800 million girls around the world drop out of school because they don’t have an effective way to manage their period.  Lunette offers a life-changing alternative for these girls.  What are some of the greatest challenges of distributing and educating women in these areas?

(HK)– The greatest challenge in some countries is hygiene. We don’t send cups to places where women can’t wash the cups properly because that would make the usage unsafe. In rural areas with limited water we recommend using cloth pads. One of the biggest problems in developing countries are the taboos related to periods. Girls and women can’t live normal life because they are on their periods. There are rules like women can’t touch food when they are on their periods because men will go crazy. So in order for these women to live normally, lots of education is needed not only to women but men too.

 

(B)- We love all the colors!  Do you have a favorite?

(HK)– So do we! My favorite is definitely the purple cup.  My second favorite is the yellow, which is such a bright and happy color.

 

Thank you to everyone who entered the Brandettes’ Lunette Giveaway, the contest is now closed. Our lucky winner will be notified privately. – Brandettes

 

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