Breaking taboos one organic tampon at a time

Sometimes people change jobs radically. That happened to Heide Peuckert, who at the beginning of 2018 decided to run her own business and switch from her job at a digital agency to try out her luck in another field: feminine hygiene. With MYLILY, Heide produces organic, biodegradable tampons and delivers them right to your doorstep when it’s that time of the month. Her mission? To break taboos about menstruation and empower women to use healthy products: for their bodies and for the environment.

Text: Sabela García Cuesta Photography: Teresa Enhiak Nanni

Heide from My Lily_Gute Leute_2018_teresa_enhiak_nanni

What are you up to now Heide? Can you explain what exactly is MYLILY?
I’m up to something big, haha! We at MYLILY are rethinking feminine hygiene products. We sell organic tampons but stand for much more: sustainability, education and a community of and for women. That way we strive for each and every woman feeling great in her body – on any day.

How did you come up with the idea?
Honestly, in the past, I wasn’t aware of the fact that regular tampons are bad for the body. And I was quite astonished when I found out. I first started to think about feminine hygiene after meeting an American woman who traveled through Mexico as I did at that time. She didn’t want to go diving because she didn’t want to use a “toxic tampon”. Isn’t it strange that we care about our food and clothes being fair and organic, but do not think about what we put into the most absorbent, sensitive part of our body?

Are tampons really that harmful? Come on, I can’t believe it!
In my experience, 9 out of 10 women are surprised when they find out that their tampons contain chlorine, pesticides, polyester and other harmful substances. But it’s no wonder considering that cotton used for regular tampons is the most fertilized crop in the world. So I wanted to provide an organic alternative that is good for the body but doesn’t lack the comfort or secure feeling of regular tampons.

But many women like me have been using “normal” tampons for a long time and nothing bad happened to them. Why should they switch now?
We as women already suffer enough during our periods, but there are several unnecessary issues we could avoid. Most women don’t relate them to regular tampons yet as the connection isn’t  immediately obvious. If you feel a bit itchy or sore “down there” this can be caused by the substances in tampons that are not organic. These also contain microplastics.

Many women show allergic reactions, for instance to the polymer / polyester coating and the synthetic fibers of the string. As many are used to the feeling it’s thought to be normal. Besides, if we continuously expose ourselves to such substances the chances of evolving allergies highly increase. Besides personal health, everyone who is concerned about our environment should switch to organic tampons. In comparison, these are biodegradable and do not pollute our oceans for years to come. As a plus, our boxes look beautiful in a bathroom. I think that is important, too, because, come on, we have our period, we are not sick.

What do you have to say about other eco-friendly solutions like menstrual cups?
I love any solution that is healthy and makes a woman feel good. In general, hygiene products should be free from chemicals, pesticides and polyester and thus environmentally-friendly and produced responsibly and fair, regardless of its kind. The only downside I see is that menstrual cups are more likely to cause rare toxic shock syndrome and that I am personally unsure about the substances within the material.

For many women the cup is the product of choice, which is great. Still, they are not for everyone, be it because women don’t want to wash it in public bathrooms sinks or because they are afraid taking it out gets too messy. We provide the alternative to all who want to feel better during their period without using a cup.

Are tampons and getting your period still a taboo topic?
Unfortunately yes. Even more so than sex. This was another motivational impulse to found MYLILY. A friend made me realize how much fuss we still make around our period. We were at a conference and she had to ask for tampons. At that moment it struck me in what secrecy we are asking for and exchanging tampons. I was shocked about all those whispers and handing over tampons under tables in closed hands.

Isn’t it ridiculous that in 2018 women are still afraid to talk about what is naturally going on inside their body?! Often the period is regarded as something bad, something to be ashamed of and it is often made fun of. That needs to change. With #MachDirGedanken we want to raise a mutual understanding of the topic and also include men in the conversation.

Heide from My Lily_Gute Leute_2018_teresa_enhiak_nanni

Convince me in two minutes why should I switch to MYLillY for my next period.
There are many reasons for a change in thinking. The one reason is your convenience: I think all women have experienced the situation that they did not have any tampons at home when “it” happens. With our monthly subscription, this won’t happen again. Our MYLILY tampon boxes are designed to fit into every mailbox, so there’s no struggle with catching the parcel from your neighbors or the post office. So we keep you covered discreetly.

With MYLILY there’s no need to worry about your period anymore: it’s safe, convenient, honest, healthy and backed by a community of strong women. We cannot stop your period, but we make sure that you feel better.

How did the community in Hamburg welcome and help your ideas?
It has been amazing. We get a lot of support from the local community, friends, family and former co-workers. To learn further and to increase our community, we introduced test-orders. As we trust the quality of our products we even give the test out for free. Due to this community feedback, we are able to continuously improve our company. Besides that we do a lot of fun activities, like packaging events in our office – this is still done by hand. We are also planning on hosting an event together with Frauenmacht to inspire and empower women and to give back to the community. And of course, we do get a lot of regular orders from our Hamburg community and all over Germany.

Thanks for your time, Heide! Have a happy period 🙂

Of course, I got my pack of organic MYLILY tampons which I will be trying out for my next period. If you also feel curious about trying out something better for your body, you can get a 50% discount with the code GUTELEUTE (valid only for the first three orders).