Two years ago, college friends and entrepreneurs Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman quit their jobs to disrupt the multi-billion dollar tampon industry.
They set out to solve a problem most women have experienced: Your period comes and your tampon stock is out.
Their startup, LOLA, makes sure that never happens by letting subscribers order tampons to their door and customise their pack according to their flow.
This week, the company announced it was bringing a cult-favourite feminine hygiene product to its monthly delivery service: the non-applicator tampon.
The average American woman uses more than 16,000 tampons in her life, according to the National Center for Health Research.
Those end up in landfills and take centuries longer to degrade than the lifespan of the user, especially when wrapped in plastic wrappers.
The latest from Lola, which has been called the “Birchbox for tampons,” prevents waste by never manufacturing the applicator in the first place. It’s made of 100% organic cotton and looks like a tiny, white rocket ship with a string trailing from the end.
The company also claims its new non-applicator option is easier for travelling and more discreet. Each pack comes in a small, white and stone-blue box that wouldn’t look out of place among high-end cosmetics on a bathroom shelf. It costs $9 and includes shipping.
But, if there’s no applicator, how do you insert it?
Kier and Friedman, who met in college and did stints at tech companies before launching Lola, have no trouble speaking plainly about women’s bodies and hygiene.
“Get up in there,” Kier says.
“It’s not a dainty push,” Friedman adds.
In 2014, when the pair started doing research on the tampon market, they learned most of the big brands use synthetic materials — usually a blend of the artificial fibres rayon and polyester, among others — in their tampons.
Business Insider’s Natalie Walters and Jacquelyn Smith reached out to Tampax, Kotex, and Playtex earlier this year and were told the percentage of materials used in their tampons was proprietary information or unavailable.
With that in mind, Kier and Friedman created biodegradable tampons (that do use applicators) and made their “ingredients” easily discoverable on the company’s website and packaging.
The non-applicator option carries on this tradition of transparency, while also catering to an environmentally conscious buyer.
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