A new social enterprise that will retail sanitary towels on a ‘buy one and give one’ model launched this month with the aim of tackling period poverty in the UK.
Hey Girls, which are based in Scotland and launched their new ecommerce website today, Monday 8th January 2018, will provide free sanitary towels and educational resources with the aim of assisting girls in the UK to manage menstruation in a way that doesn’t put them at risk of infections.
The sanitary goods industry in the UK is worth £400 million and dominated by just a couple of major vendors, each with a 25% market share. There currently are no other ‘buy one and give one’ sanitary towel initiatives and the Hey Girls model is based on a commercial ‘for purpose’ retail enterprise, but with all profits from sales being moved to the donation and education arm of the enterprise. For every pack of sanitary products they sell - they give a pack away to a girl or young woman in the UK in need.
Hey Girls was founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Becky and Kate, with the philosophy that girls and young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health. Having been a single parent, Celia understands first hand the financial strain of buying sanitary protection when struggling to survive on benefits. The situation for women just like Celia hasn’t changed in twenty years, which is why the Hey Girls concept was born.
Speaking of the launch, Hodson said; “We are delighted to finally be launching Hey Girls – it has been a long and exciting journey so far! It all started with a heated discussion between myself and my two daughters that resulted in a big hairy audacious goal! We simply wanted to work out if we could fix period poverty and what that would look like.”
Hodson continued;; “It is so important that we seek sustainable ways to address period poverty in the UK that are not reliant on the Government. If you have to buy menstrual products anyway, you may as well do something good with the cost. Hey Girls provides an alternative shopping experience for those wishing to make a difference with the items they purchase for themselves. By “buying social” they are doing good directly via each pack they buy. The support so far has been overwhelming and we can’t wait to embark on this next crucial chapter.”
Hey Girls will initially offer two varieties of no leak, super comfy, chlorine and bleach free, environmentally friendly sanitary towels. These are now available to buy online at www.heygirls.co.uk. There is also interest from major UK supermarkets and the hope is that Hey Girls sanitary towels will be on shelves nationwide by Spring 2018. Hey Girls are also currently developing a further product offering and tampons will also be available by the end of 2018.
Celia’s Story – In her own words
“I guess like a lot of young women who are my age now – I just got married too young. And although not the fault of either of us really, we grew apart and I eventually found myself alone with my two daughters and my son – managing on benefits in the North of England.
Back in the 80s and 90s benefits were drawn weekly at the post office. And I well remember having jam jars to budget for electricity, food, clothing and toiletries. And of course, when an unexpected bill came along or the kids needed something for school, then the jar that covered that cost was the toiletries and menstrual health jar. Like most mums, I didn’t want my girls to feel any different from other girls at school. So sometimes buying sanitary pads meant that the family was then on soup or oven chips and nuggets for that week.
I had a hysterectomy and the first thing that crossed my mind when the doctor told me I was to have an operation, was that I was going save us a fortune each month! It was tough back then and you would think in 2018 my rather a Dickensian story would be a thing of the past. But it’s not. I believe it’s even worse now. And in reality there is less help for a family on benefits and the working poor.”