Bleed For You: How buying tampons can save the world

Can buying tampons save the world? Yes, they can! A Newcastle business Bleed For You is helping women help other women simply by purchasing monthly tampons.

I caught up with Vanessa Alexander, one of the founders of Bleed For You to find out more about their new social conscious business.

What is Bleed For You?

Bleed For You is a Newcastle based, subscription, free delivery to your door, organic tampon company, committed to giving 50% of profits away to support women.

We will be sharing the profits locally and internationally, with the accounts and donations overseen by our Charities Advisor Kimberly Hikaka (who currently work in the NGO sector herself).

Our 2017 commitment is to give the first $10,000 in profits to The International Medical Corps (for women caught up in the Syrian Refugee Crises) and homeless women through Share the Dignity.  Kimberley will  take on the task ensuring that we give to organisations that make the best use of dollars, and longer term we hope to form some ongoing partnerships through that.

How does the Bleed For You tampon subscription work?

Go to the website www.bleedforyou.com and sign up right now please. You can cancel at any time AND we deliver to your door, so you won’t ever have to send your partner to the shop in the rain at 2am again.

You can also guarantee that you will no longer be funding the profits of big pharmaceutical conglomerates, or male CEOs that may not even support women’s rights, fair wages, environmental protections, ethical production, etc.

How can women become foundation members?

That’s open to everyone who signs up or donates over $30 by 15 April 2017 only. Foundation members get a chance to win a year’s subscription, and will be listed on our website forever (so your granddaughters will know that you were part of the revolution to ensure that profits are used for good).

We urgently need at least 200 subscribers to help us land our first order – we have 100 subscribers so far. Subscribers will have to be a little patient because they won’t be receiving boxes for around 4 months, but they can feel good that they helped kickstart a business committed to helping women.

I mention donate, because you can just donate as a one off gift if you want to help us and don’t use tampons or no longer need them. You will still be helping us get started and can collect good karma.

What inspired you to start Bleed For You?

In a world where half of the world’s wealth is in the hands of eight men, we want to provide an alternative product that gives 50% of all profits back to women.

It all started with this simple question. Should big business corporates be raking in the profits from women bleeding once a month? Or is there a way to see these profits returned to women?

Across the average woman’s lifetime, she will purchase around 40,000 tampons. The entire female hygiene market worldwide is set to reach $42.7 billion by 2022. So, we looked up where the bulk of those profits were going. It turns out most of the Australian end of those profits are going into the hands of big multi-corps who provide little or no evidence that they use these profits for good.

Mostly their products are uncertified (ethically or organically), which means they are not produced in a way that is either good for environment or the workers and communities who make them. The chief objective of these companies is to basically extract as much profit as possible for shareholders at the expense of the greater good of humanity.

Johnson and Johnson is a case in point. CEO and former military man Alex Gorky was recently implicated in a giant Big Pharma drug kickback scandal. This same man (the company has never had a female CEO) remains on a salary of $25 million a year.

All over the world women face inequality. They have less access to money, education, opportunity, and resources, yet they shoulder the burden of raising children while working often on their own. We think that business profit sharing (like us) is a small but important step on the long road to an equal world.

In our case, we wanted our focus to be women. Kimberley Hikaka, who provides oversight for our profit donations and currently works for Doctors without Borders in Sudan, tells us that women and children are by far the most vulnerable in every situation she’s worked in.

We wanted women to provide an avenue for women to be in charge of their own profits. We figure if you’re going to bleed once a month – you may as well ‘bleed for you’.

Who is behind Bleed For You?

left to right (Cherry Connew, Vanessa Alexander and James Sulzberger)

Left to right (Cherry Connew, Vanessa Alexander and James Sulzberger)

The team consists of myself (Vanessa Alexander), Cherry Connew, James Sulzberger and Arlo Alexander-Meylan. Three of us are Newcastle parents who met at the school gate and shared a desire to do something great for women and build on the conscious capitalism model.

I’m a screenwriter for shows like ‘Love Child’, ‘The Wrong Girl’, and ‘Secret Daughter’ who has fought in my own industry for better access for women. I produced an Emmy nominated teen series for girls, and am a passionate advocate for equality, and the importance of seeing female stories on screens.

Cherry is an engineer and now a social media consultant, who came up with the idea of running this whole thing as an online subscription business.

James has spent 25 year in manufacturing so was great at helping us meet all our requirements.

Arlo is my university age son who attended a conference on social change through profit sharing businesses and got us all thinking about how we could do something.

Here’s his thoughts on Bleed For You.

What are your plans for Bleed For You?

Tampons to save the world. We’re not joking! One of the things that gave me the courage to go ahead was the brilliant words of anthropologist Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

When I walked in the Women’s March with my daughters in Sydney, and I wanted to do something even if it involved putting my own money on the line. I wanted to feel like I had tried to improve the world for women, knowing that I had benefitted from the ones who came before me.

If even a small portion of the profits from tampons was given back to women amazing things could be achieved. We just hope that over time we can grow out investment into pads, and other products as well. At the moment our focus is growing the Bleed For You brand, but our broader interest is growing businesses that give back.

I’m pretty keen on doing something with soap or dishwashing liquid, so if there’s anyone out there thinking that way I’d love to hear from you. At this stage we’ve basically put all our own money into this, but I think we all recognise the potential of growing relationships with like-minded people who want to offer people a way to spend their money well.

For more information or to sign up for a tampon subscription, visit the Bleed For You website or follow us on Bleed For You Facebook page or on Twitter @webleedforyou.

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