The Period Store

May 23, 2013

The Period Store

By Gabrielle.

In February, I wrote about Le Parcel, a service that discreetly mails you a monthly package with everything you need for your period. Well, a related service launched about the same time. It’s called The Period Store. And instead of going for subtle, discreet and behind-the-scenes, they have a different approach. They are encouraging women to talk about their periods openly, and without embarrassment. One of the founders wrote to me saying, “We believe we are in a new age of feminism and that it is time for periods to be a more included part of our womanhood as much as our hair, skincare and cosmetic regimes currently are.”

To demonstrate their openness they make videos about women talking about their periods, they have a blog called The Periodical that covers a wide range of period topics — some funny, some more serious — and includes stories from real women, and they host events, like this Menstruation Celebration, throughout the year. Maybe my favorite thing: they brand their products with patterns made from silhouettes of tampons and maxi-pads. Hah!

I definitely grew up in the not-talking-about-it-camp. I remember blushing furiously if a tampon commercial came on the TV when I was watching a show with my brothers, or really, even my sisters! So I’m certainly someone who could learn to be more comfortable about my period. In fact, I was sort of amazed when I watched the video at how open the featured women were.

The Period Store

What’s your take on this idea? Are you already comfortable talking about your period freely? Or do you feel this is a subject you’d rather keep behind the scenes? Do you dread your period? If yes, would a site like The Period Store help you think about and experience your period differently? And can you imagine getting to a place where periods are talked about as openly as hair care or makeup?

P.S. — Yes, you can also subscribe to The Period Store’s monthly package. They offer brands like Kotex and Always as well as sea sponges, menstrual cups and international products from around the world — plus goodies like hand-crafted sweets, packets of tea, and a 5×7 art print.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christy@SweetandSavoring May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am

I love, love, love this idea. Love what one of the founders said about periods needing to be a more included part of womanhood! Yes! It would be wonderful to continue bringing our periods out from behind the proverbial curtain , where woman don’t have to feel weak or silly or embarrassed to talk about their cramps, or needing to find better products (big Diva Cup fan myself!). Even just the name- The Period Store- says it right off the bat, no euphemisms, no hiding. Hurray!

Of course, I’m not saying that I’m dancing around joyfully when I’m bleeding, but this service is really necessary. I remember being almost ashamed when I was a young teenager- glad that today’s young girls get to experience things like this as they grow and learn about their bodies.

Thanks so much for featuring this, Gabrielle!

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2 Mary @ My Life in Scotland May 23, 2013 at 9:16 am

I love this! I grew up not really talking about it but if I was a teenager today I think I’d love this. Get a package every month to help me during that “time of the month” seems like something fun instead of dreadful. Not to mention that I never seem to have chocolate when I need it! I’d have everything I need right here.

I think I’d like to get this for my niece. She’s getting to that age. It would be fun!

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3 Andrea May 23, 2013 at 9:21 am

Yes! This is so needed! Why should women and young girls be ashamed about something so integral to human life? While I’ve definitely wished to never get my period again (and the cramps, bloating and headaches) I was blessed to be born in a family that was very open about just about everything. I was so confused when I heard from a friend that her mother hadn’t even told her where the tampons/pads were stored in their house so when she got her first period she was completely at a loss at what to do!

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4 Chelle May 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

I dunno. There are things that I like to keep private; not out of shame, but out of respect for myself. And I REALLY don’t want to know the details of your period. REALLY. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

But I totally get that women and girls need information (and products!!!), and that sometimes that means giving up privacy so that others can be informed.

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5 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

“sometimes that means giving up privacy so that others can be informed”

I’ve never thought of it like that, Chelle. So wise!

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6 Kristen E May 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

I used to teach women’s reproductive health to college students, mostly at church-related conventions. I’m very, very open about that stuff and am always a bit surprised to remember I need to dial it back for the comfort of other people! I definitely don’t mention it around men (except my husband, who isn’t embarrassed by it either – he will buy me pads if he’s at the store and I need them), but I don’t think it needs to be a secret, hidden topic. It’s a normal part of our lives that happens EVERY MONTH for 30-40 years. Thank you so much for sharing this website! I’m definitely going to check it out – I wonder if they do non-chocolate snacks, since I’m not allowed to eat it anymore…

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7 Raleigh-Elizabeth May 23, 2013 at 9:33 am

I love this idea. Mostly because I remember being so mortified and afraid and ashamed (and exhausted and crampy and confused) for so many years, and I didn’t understand how grownpus could be so cool about something so dreadful. Now, of course, I don’t blink at all over it – but I think that when you’re about that age? Having someone make it a little less awful would be amazing. Because truthfully, we all know it takes some getting used to. Might as well make it a party!

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8 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

It DOES take some getting used to. I swear, it still surprises me every month.

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9 Rachel Schindler May 23, 2013 at 9:34 am

Camp “I would rather not talk about it”…

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10 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I hear you Rachel. I suppose part of why I seem to be surprised by my period every single month is that it’s not something I spend time thinking about.

And for me, it’s not just my period, I’m the same way about odd aches or pains, or even an unexpected rash. I’m like the opposite of a doctor — the human body isn’t one of my favorite interests.

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11 Adrienne May 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

This post makes me think of my dad, because he taught his daughters (and sons) that periods a completely normal part of the female experience. My dad would willingly and without shame purchase ‘our products’ for us, as if he was just taking an order at a restaurant: ‘Tampons? Pads? Wings? No wings? Super? Light? Order up!’ He always made sure to bring home a treat during that time as well. My father is perfectly proper, and never crass, but he always treated matters pertaining to the body as perfectly normal (which they are!) and it wasn’t until I grew up and realized that his attitude was not the norm that I was able to truly appreciate what a great dad I have in this respect.

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12 Brandi May 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

Your dad sounds SO awesome!

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13 Adrienne May 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Yep. He’s the best.

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14 Christy@SweetandSavoring May 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

What an amazing dad & attitude he had!

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15 sarah May 23, 2013 at 11:21 am

truly an amazing dad. i love the order up style of it. i only have boys, but i would have wanted to make my girls as comfortable as possible about it all since i wasn’t as a teenager.

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16 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I love the story about you Dad, Adrienne!

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17 Megan M. May 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

That is so sweet! I have two daughters – I may have to read this to my husband and tell him the bar has been set! :)

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18 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay May 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Love love love love love your dad.
:)

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19 Brandy May 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I love this. I have 5 girls. This is wonderful!

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20 Pamela May 23, 2013 at 10:21 am

i remember getting my period and leaving a note for my mom on her pillow. the next morning there was a box of stayfree on the stairs! so, no..there was no talking about it. i did not want it to be like that with my daughter. in fact..when i read Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup…in it she wrote that wouldn’t it be wonderful if when a young girl starts her menses…we celebrated it! took her to dinner..bought her flowers..got her ears pierced! personally, i’ve been blessed with horrible periods. i say blessed because if it weren’t for those periods, i wouldn’t have my 4 children. but..now that i’m done having children…i’m kinda done with my period too!
i just posted on my blog that i think i’m going through “the change”…i received some emails saying how could i talk about that on my blog!! why shouldn’t i? it’s a normal phase of a woman’s life non?
great topic gabby!

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21 Maike May 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I grew up in the in-between camp. My mom suggested to celebrate it before I actually got it. And when it happened I was too embarrassed to tell her. We never talked about it again.
With kids and openness there are two levels: one is what you think and say and the other is, how you yourself feel about it.
I so hope I feel comfortable enough now so that my daughter can be open and not embarrassed when she is that age. It makes me really sad to think of all the loneliness that came with the shame and the feeling to have nobody to talk to.

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22 amy May 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

huh. I looked at their website and learned that people use sea-sponges as tampns.

fascinating

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23 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I had no idea about that either, Amy! And I’m intrigued by their posts about how periods are taught, handled and perceived in other countries. The human experience is so amazingly varied!

Part of me wants to try all the different products, and part of me wants to make do with what I know — it’s like I don’t want to give any more time to my periods than I already have. : )

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24 Barbara May 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I’ve heard horror stories about sponges getting “stuck” and women having to go to the E.R. To get them out. Makes me never want to try it!

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25 Christy@SweetandSavoring May 24, 2013 at 6:08 am

It’s important to be careful with whatever women choose to put in their vaginas- women can also ‘lose’ tampons inside of them and need them removed. So it’s certainly not just sea sponges!

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26 Julie May 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

Sure! Why not talk about it? I mean, is it really a secret? We all watched the video in 4th grade right? Although I do like to call it “Shark Week” rather than say “I have my period.” But that’s just plain old fun!

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27 Brandy May 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

As in, I might bite your head off? Funny!

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28 Hilary May 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

What an awesome website! Such a great idea and I love the education around it. We have always been really open in our house about our bodies and what they do. One day my nearly 7 year old (and youngest) son asked why I didn’t have another baby?? And I said our family felt complete when we had him. And he said “But you still could have another baby, right? Cause you still have a point” HUH?? OH A POINT…a PERIOD! Get it??? Point! It’s what he has always called a period, the kind in a sentence, so when he heard me talk about my period, he thought point! I laughed so hard!

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29 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious, Hilary! I love it.

I remember being about 9 when my mother told me about periods. She said she was running to the store to buy supplies for something called a period, but it was a different kind of period, and she would tell me about it when she got back.

I totally rolled my eyes and said, “I already KNOW about both kinds of periods mom. There are periods at the end of sentences, and periods at school (like 3rd period and 4th period).”

Boy was I in for a surprise.

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30 Brandy May 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

That is funny! “Un, no, the third kind of period!”

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31 Kristin May 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I’m pretty open about my period, and would LOVE something like this. We had what we called “coming out parties” when we got our first periods – lunch with just Mom to celebrate. I’m the oldest of 4 girls, and I think we’re all pretty much in the same boat about how we treat it.

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32 Lisette Wolter-McKinley May 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I love it when women support other women in all facets of life. I like the idea behind The Period Store.

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33 kristin May 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I love this idea! My mom was pretty open with me and I have been that way with my children as well. I remember my Mom coming home from the drug store with a box of pads , a new archie comic book and a Hershey bar. It meant the world to me! I already have a period gift basket (with pads, bath salts, comfy socks, chocolate and camomile tea) made for my eldest daughter (she’s 12) for when the day comes.
I also love the story above about the father!

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34 Design Mom May 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

What a kind mom. I’m inspired!

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35 Ashley Seil Smith May 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thanks for this post, Gabrielle! We’re so happy to see these supportive comments. I grew up in a family of five girls so I always say I didn’t know people weren’t “supposed” to talk about periods. =) I’ve always had awful periods and launching The Period Store has been really helpful for me personally because I get to hear from all you ladies out there who have tips and products to make it more manageable. We wanted a space where women could share this wealth of period knowledge and just be normal about it. And maybe make it a bit more fun and interesting.

I love the father story – so perfect.

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36 Nicole May 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I remember clearly when they told me I was pregnant with a little girl (after two little boys) that I knew I would raise her to love and respect her body and celebrate her period with her with some kind of celebration! The Period Store sounds awesome! I really admire your vision (and just told my husband the father story!!! ;) !!!

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37 McKenzie May 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

In some cultures young girls are taken with other women in their family to a celebration of sorts when they begin their cycle. I would have liked if someone did that for me and made it more of a celebration. I felt so much embarrassment and disgust for so long. I still don’t love it, but I think I would embrace and love it more if I had begun with a celebratory experience rather then a scary bloody experience in the school bathroom in sixth grade. Perhaps I will do something celebratory with my daughter.

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38 Connie May 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I am firmly in the “let’s talk about it – it’s natural and nothing to hide or be embarrassed about” camp. I have two young daughters and I have been open about periods from day 1 with them both. I never want them to feel embarrassed about something that is a natural part of being a woman. They have always asked questions, and I have always answered. I think the time for feeling embarrassed or secretive about these things is long gone.

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39 Megan M. May 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I love this idea! I knew next to nothing about periods when I got mine. My mom was unprepared (she got hers at 16, and I got mine at 12) and she left me to figure out the products on my own. I have two young daughters and have always planned to tell them absolutely everything about it by the time they’re eight. Some girls are getting them as young as nine these days!

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40 TennesseeCassie May 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Oh, Gabrielle, please read Her Blood is Gold by Lara Owens. It is such a great guide to stop feeling shameful about our bleeding, and brings about awareness of how our culture slams and ridicules women bleeding. Yes, we need to talk openly about it!!

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41 Anissa Ljanta May 24, 2013 at 5:24 am

Oh, i LOVE this idea. They need to ship internationally or set up a chapter here in NZ. Brilliant. All about ousting the taboo too. x

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42 hannah May 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

i’m totally comfortable talking about my period with just about everyone — although, especially with female relatives + friends. i had to get used to it when i was diagnosed with endometriosis three years ago. since then, i’ve had three surgeries + countless doctor’s appointments where the only topic of discussion was my reproductive cycle! i can talk about it without a hint of a blush now.

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43 Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig May 24, 2013 at 8:05 am

I don’t necessarily talk much about my period with other women, except to sometimes mention how glad I am to NOT have a cycle as the pleasant side-effect of my birth control (ah, birth control…another interesting topic of conversation). But with three teenage daughters, we’re very open about periods at home. Which has had an interesting affect on my 12yo son, who is now fairly comfortable with the topic. He’ll be the husband who isn’t embarrassed to stand in line with pads or tampons for his wife at the grocery store. :)

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44 Jill May 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

Love this idea… It makes it kind of special. I am open with my daughters, but this reminds me we could even talk about it more and create some rituals, like special tea and chocolate each month.

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45 Jessica May 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

I am jealous of some of you ladies. I was raised in a Catholic school, so I have had no education what so ever on any body/sexual/women topic. My parents didn’t bring it up either. Whatever I have learned is from experience or my Aunt’s that I hardly see. I wish my mom could have been more open with me, it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment, and time wasted second guessing.

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46 Josephine May 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

I have two teenage daughters, so we are pretty open about it in our house. Also, my husband had two sisters so he’s used to it as well. My mom and I didn’t talk about it much and I was kind of on my own, so I didn’t want that to happen with our girls. I talked about it before it happened to them so they weren’t surprised and scared and I had supplies ready. To celebrate “becoming a woman” (haha-that’s how they talked about it in our school movies) each girl got to get an ice cream cake when it happened. That way, they weren’t as worried about it and had something to look forward to besides many years of monthly stuff.

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47 Mirinda May 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm

It’s just another bodily function- like burping or eating or urinating. Because my 4yo daughter has attachment issues, she is comfortable with my period as well. She knows she gets to start wearing makeup about the same time as menstruation starts so she looks forward to it. May I suggest a menstrual cup? I love love love mine. There is a variety available to fit every flow and body. Once I got past the learning curve it feels so natural and comfortable.

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48 Lauren May 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm

The Diva Cup changed my life. That I don’t mind sharing. I love it so much my 10 year old is looking forward to starting her period someday.

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49 Beth May 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I’d like to tell a story. We used to live in Egypt. People have big families there. And, in some of the more conservative parts of town, women didn’t go out much…maybe because of religious reasons, maybe because women just had a lot to do in the home. So: you would often see dads out doing the shopping. We have a lot of stereotypes in the West about Arabs and Muslims. One guaranteed “your stereotypes are all wrong!” moment – for me – was when I would go grocery shopping at one of the big stores there – Carrefour etc. – and see all these bearded men with bruises on their forehead (from praying!) pushing carts full of maxipads. Seriously. Two or three “bulk” boxes of pads. Sometimes they would be out with their wives and daughters. Sometimes by themselves. They were totally unphased. They had a wife and two or three teenage daughters at home (you can imagine that many women living together in a tiny apartment…they are ALL getting their period at the same time ), and those men just went out and bought the Kotex. Not embarrassed. Not strategically covering their cart with, say, dish towels or bags of tomatoes. Not seeking out the shortest line closest to the doors. Nope. They just went for it. Like “Don’t mess with me. I’m buying maxipads for my girls!” You know, I’m come from the liberal Northwest of the US, and my own dad or brother would have been mortified to buy tampons for me. So I was always impressed. And it was a good reminder to me to never assume anything about anyone.

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