Who are DAME and what is your mission?
DAME is a design-led start-up making award winning period products, on a mission to disrupt the unsustainable period industry for the better. Our mission focuses on 3 pillars: sustainability, accessibility, acceptability. We believe in improving the world of women. This means every woman around the world should have access to period products free from toxins, discomfort and negative language. We also believe those products shouldn’t damage or exploit our natural world. Our mission as a company is to make periods positive for every woman.
DAME was started by Co-Founders Celia Pool and Alec Mills when they launched the world's first reusable tampon applicator and organic cotton tampons in 2019. In September 2020 we launched our patent pending reusable period pads, and there is much more on the horizon!
What is your role at DAME and what do you love most about working there?
I manage product development at DAME so my role is to manage the design and launch of new products from the kernel of an idea, right through to it appearing on the website or on retail shelves. I also look after our existing products - making sure they are the best that they can be for our customers. This type of product development is never-ending because you always think your products can be better.
I love it because I feel like every week I do a mini MBA and learn about an entirely new industry, process, design, customer experience, regulation etc. I love a challenge and there are no shortages of those at DAME, especially trying to launch new products during a pandemic!
Please can you briefly explain the DAMEchangers challenge?
This year DAME's co-founder Celia won the government's Women in Innovation award and with the prize money decided to launch the DAMEchangers Innovation camp, a summer camp to inspire young female changemakers. We recently ran an online challenge to find 20 passionate, talented girls aged 16-17 to attend the 5-day residential camp this summer in Oxford and we're currently busy assessing all those amazing applications. During the camp the girls will take part in an innovation sprint guided by industry experts and inspiring female innovators to create a period product for girls, by girls.
It's the first time we've done something like this, but we've partnered with some really excellent and experienced organisations and we're so pumped to be hosting what will hopefully become one of many of these types of camps and events going forward!
What recent changes have you made to be more sustainable, both as a business and personally?
My main eco-anxiety at the moment, which has bloomed out of my work at DAME, is around the environmental impact of textiles and fashion. When we were designing the reusable pads, I went down some deep rabbit holes on unsustainable processes in the textile industry and realised how much I didn't know! So I'm trying to be really conscious of slow-fashion practices; using apps like SoJo to repair my old clothes, or fashion rental platforms for outfits for upcoming summer weddings and not buying any new clothes unless it's a direct replacement or can truly be justified for its longevity. I'm also currently switching over all my bathroom products to refillables or plastic-free alternatives.
It looks like your team have done some amazing hikes over the course of the Flex-hex 270 Challenge. Any top tips for sustainable hiking gear?
I would say if you can, research and then invest in quality products that you know will last. I bought a new pair of hiking boots from Solomon for my trip to the Isle of Skye last month and I've fallen head over heels for them! It was love at first step and I don't want to speak too soon... but I think we're going to be together forever!