Franki founder Chloe Ridge. Image supplied.
Franki Period Care is on a mission to create a safe, educational and self-loving approach to periods. The brand launched in Aotearoa this week and aims to help all those with periods discover an alternative to single use period care and change the way we view and deal with our periods. Franki’s reusable period care range offers a more sustainable, economical and effective way to deal with periods with products including menstrual cups, period underwear and bamboo cotton reusable pads.
The brand was founded by Chloe Ridge, an entrepreneur, wife and mother, who drew on her own experience of trying to manage her periods and a desire to tackle the stigma that still surrounds menstruation. She created her range with no harmful chemicals or toxins so Franki products are kind to your body as well as being a more sustainable approach. Franki’s full range of period products and accessories is available online now.
We caught up with Chloe to find out more about Franki, how we can make our periods more eco-friendly and what Franki is doing to further our education about periods?
Where did the idea for Franki come from and how did you go about creating it?
The idea of Franki came to me when I discovered reusable period care a little over a year ago by sheer chance. After having had my two babies my periods had become extremely heavy. I was searching for a new brand or higher absorbency to my usual “go to” single use period care I had previously been used to. That is when I stumbled across menstrual cups and period underwear and was rather ‘confused’ as to what they were. Underwear that act as pads? And menstrual cups? What on earth were those!?
So, off I went home, did some research and decided to give them a go! I’m always up for trying something new, especially something that would help my two hourly changes become something of the past. I was amazed at the convenience of it all. Menstrual cups changed my period game and the period underwear, well, were amazing!
After speaking with friends and family I also realised there was a real mix of thoughts on reusable, as well as half of the people never having even heard about them. Some were like hell no, others were like “oh yeah, I’ve been using them for years, life changing!” Why didn’t more people know about them and why was there such a small range of reusable amongst a sea of single use period care in the supermarkets? This is when the idea sprung to mind.
So, I set myself a mission to help spread the word on more comfortable, convenient, affordable period care that doesn’t need to be icky, scary or weird and not to mention better for the environment.
Why did you choose the name Franki and what does it mean?
Finding a name was a bit of a challenge. I wanted a name that was approachable and with a bit of fun and also a name that wasn’t solely based around menstrual cups as I have grand plans for the brand and wanted a name that I could evolve with a range of products based around ‘that time of the month’. It was also important for me to choose a gender inclusive name as there has been a huge shift in how brands now have removed the word ‘women’ or ‘girls’ from their marketing/branding. Not all people with periods relate to as women, some are non binary, some are trans and for a lot of them that time of the month is a reminder that they have to deal with something they do not relate to.
My French background also played a big part in the naming process. I had a light bulb moment with Franki being both a boys and girls name.
After searching the meaning behind Franki I found that for a girl it means ‘little french woman, or free woman’ and for a boy it means ‘a frank and free man’.
And so Franki was born; gender inclusive, frank chats around periods and period freedom!
Franki’s colourful range of soft and durable period cups.
How can we make our periods more eco-friendly?
It wasn’t until I embarked on this venture that I realised how much waste we actually create each period. With around 1.8 billion people menstruating each month that is a whole lot of waste in our landfills if everyone of those people were to use single use. Not to mention a lot of it ending up in our oceans and beaches!
Making periods eco-friendly doesn’t have to be complicated. There is an alternative to each single use period care out there. If you are a tampon user, menstrual cups or menstrual discs are the number one alternative as they are inserted in the same manner and do not feel any different once inserted. And those who prefer pads can use period underwear or reusable pads. They can last many years making it affordable and create little to no waste.
What makes menstrual cups a smart option for periods?
Menstrual cups have a long list of benefits and the priority of which benefit is number one will be different for everyone. A menstrual cup can hold anywhere between 3-5 tampons worth of blood giving you a whole lot of time in between changes, they can safely be left inside your vagina for up to 12 hours, which means you can get on with your day and have a long sleep without worrying about leaks.
They are great for active people who just don’t have time to stop every few hours for a tampon change, great for athletes/runners who are training or competing and perfect for days at the beach.
They are all natural unlike many tampon brands on the market that contain harmful toxins and chemicals such as bleach. Instead of absorbing blood like tampons they collect it so it leaves your vagina pH balance intact reducing infections. They can last anywhere between 5-10 years with proper care, which saves a whole lot of dosh and your cup is always on hand which means you are never caught short. Oh, and the best part is you are helping make a difference by reducing waste from single use.
Franki’s period cup and helpful accessories.
Why do you think there is still a stigma around periods and what can we do to change that?
I always found it strange that for something that happens once a month (that’s around 10 years of your life spent on your period!) we still don’t openly or frequently talk about periods.
It wasn’t until recently that we are starting to see a shift on how period products are being labeled. It was always “female hygiene” products or the “female hygiene aisle” in the supermarket, which really is implying products to make females clean! Periods are not dirty but it is still thought of that way by many. I like that we are seeing a lot more supermarkets or brands using ‘period care’. In the end these are products to help you care for your periods not make you clean!
For a lot of people their first experience may not have been a memorable one or even a frightening one especially if they didn’t have a parent or guardian that was supportive through the process. I remember when I was growing up a lot of us used to hide our tampons up our sleeves at school because we didn’t want our friends to know we were on our period.
I think to make a change we need to see more social media platforms, or media talking about it and showcasing it is ok. Creating social media platforms where people can get information, learn things about periods they didn’t know and create a safe space for people to chat with others especially if they don’t have someone they can confide in.
I believe times are changing and the younger generations are a little bit more confident and more open to change.
What are your goals for Franki and where would you like it to be in five years time?
I have a huge vision for Franki and it goes beyond the business side of things. I really hope to be able to help people with periods make a change to reusable because it truly is something that can make periods more comfortable, better for your body and affordable.
I hope to be able to slowly change “the out of sight, out of mind” mentality many people have with reusable period care. People still get uncomfortable with seeing or dealing with their period blood and think it is easier to flush and dispose of than to empty, rinse and reinsert, or for pads and underwear to wash in your laundry.
I also want to create an amazing social media platform where people can learn a thing or two about periods, health, sex and feel safe to comment and chat and also add a sprinkle of fun to that time of the month.
Franki’s goals are to expand to Australia early next year and to France where I will be basing myself in a months’ time. There are also a lot of exciting new products in the pipeline that are all about periods, sexual health and general well being. Franki is set to make a big change and impact periods and lives for the better.