Green Brands We Love: Saalt
By Nisa Z.
March 27, 2019
Here at The Speak Collective, we consider ourselves lucky to be able to meet other amazing companies we admire.
They have such inspiring stories about how and why they started their companies. They also have a mission to make a difference to the world in their own unique, special way.
To kick off our new series championing other green brands we love, we have a chat with Cherie and Amber, founders of period care company, Saalt.
Saalt creates sustainable, reusable, period care products, including menstrual cups and you can check them out here.
1. What inspired you to start Saalt?
Saalt started with a phone call to our aunt in Venezuela who had gone for months without period care. The country’s political instability had halted the supply chain, leading to huge shortages of basic consumer staples like pads and tampons. I immediately thought of my five daughters and what I would do in that situation.
The dependence we have on disposables really kept me up at night, and I started looking into reusable options. I was soon introduced to the menstrual cup and was sold on the benefits right away. I found that even though they were less known, they were actually more comfortable, healthier, could be worn for 12 hours (wow!), and could last up to 10 years when manufactured with premium, medical-grade silicone. I bought several to try out, but couldn't find one that I felt was reliable enough to recommend to friends and family. That's when I decided to design a menstrual cup that met all my ideal criteria.
Amber also became a cup convert, and once she and I began to understand how something as simple as a cup could give people a healthier way to care for their periods, divert waste, and keep girls everywhere in school, we became passionate about taking the cup mainstream. That’s when we joined to start Saalt. (—Cherie)
2. How does Saalt differentiate itself from other brands?
We knew when we started Saalt that we wanted to offer a premier product that was made in the USA and designed with precision, and also create a trusted brand that would make the cup more appealing to the mainstream consumer. Entering the reusable period care space meant we would be up against two major stigmas surrounding period talk and the perceived fringe status of the menstrual cup. But to us, we saw it as an opportunity to tell the product story differently.
We created beautiful packaging that flipped the stigma on its head and placed the cup on a pedestal to elevate the product for what it really is—a simpler, healthier, and more sustainable period experience.
We also steered clear of the traditional flowers and butterflies you often find on feminine hygiene products and instead used earthy tones in our branding with patterns inspired by the natural landscape to suggest a more natural solution to period care. Our team’s passionate devotion to helping each new cup user through the learning curve of using the cup has also helped Saalt become known for offering new users an amazing cup experience. (—Cherie)
3. What are some of the misconceptions about period cups that you're trying to dispel?
We want people to understand that using a cup simply makes for a cleaner, better period.
There are so many other benefits to the cup that people can forget that benefit. Yes, the cup is nontoxic and chemical free; yes, the cup can divert massive amounts of waste; yes, you can save a lot of money by not buying pads and tampons for 10 years; and yes, you experience more freedom because you can wear the cup for up to 12 hours.
But people who have never tried the cup often don’t understand that once you get past the learning curve, your period is just more comfortable and cleaner when you are using a cup in place of disposables.
New cup users also often think that the cup is a fringe product that very few people use. We encourage people to ask around and find out which of their friends use cups. People are often surprised to find that they do have a friend or two who uses a cup and who is happy to talk about it.
We also like to clear up misconceptions about periods. One important misconception is that we need to be discreet or choose not to talk about periods.
At Saalt, we choose not only to talk about periods, but to be period positive. We have learned that being open about periods means that a young student will not be embarrassed to speak up when she needs to take care of her period, and that she will not feel shame about her own body but instead will learn to talk about periods intelligently and productively.
We seek community in almost every aspect of our lives, but with periods we tend to walk the path alone. Menstruation isn't easy and we all need to recognize that culture is doing us a disservice by telling us to keep it hush hush. We need just as much community around our period as any other area of our life. (—Amber)
4. Any words of encouragement for someone who is still unsure about trying period cups?
It’s okay and normal to feel nervous or unsure about trying a period cup. Start by finding a friend who uses a cup and ask for their honest story of learning to use it. Or join our Saalt Cup Academy on Facebook and watch the questions and suggestions that other new cup users have. It can help you feel familiar with the learning curve that some new cup users experience.
Once you understand the benefits of the cup, that you can wear it for up to 12 hours, that you can sleep better at night wearing the cup, that one cup can last for up to 10 years, and that the cup makes for a cleaner and more comfortable period, you’ll probably start to feel more comfortable with the idea of trying a cup. Nine out of ten people who try a period cup never go back to pads or tampons.
When you do try the cup, if you are still nervous, remember that trying the cup doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The first time you try it, you can fold the cup and insert it one or two centimeters, and then you can call it a win for the day. Chances are that eventually, you’ll learn to use the cup so well, and it will be so comfortable, that you’ll forget that you are on your period on your lighter days. (—Amber)
5. We love your mission of giving back to the community by empowering girls and women worldwide through education. Tell us a bit more about how that started and what your goals are for the cause?
We knew right away that supporting girls’ education would be a key pillar to our social mission.
Education opportunity has done more to shape our confidence, prosperity, and fulfilment in our personal lives as women than any other single factor. Yet so many girls and women are halted early in their educational pursuits. The loss of potential is heartbreaking, and yet the solution is so simple.
We're so passionate about the power one menstrual cup has to afford a girl the opportunity to finish school, provide for her family, and break the cycle of poverty for generations. Each additional year of school can increase a girl's lifetime earnings as by as much as 25%! Most importantly, it empowers a girl to care for herself and increase her feelings of self-worth.
Our big dream is to have our daughters and every young girl grow up in a world where they are limited by nothing but their own hard work and resolve to accomplish their dreams. To think that we could do something to help create that world is worth any effort we can give. And the beauty is that just by sharing the cup, everyone can take part in supporting that cause.
We love that the diversity of experience and high-level thinking shared by cup users coming together for a common cause to share a better period solution simultaneously works to break stigmas, push meaningful conversations, and create change. (—Cherie)
6. Happy (belated) Earth Day! What level of awareness do people have about the environmental impact of menstrual products?
We love Earth Day! Honestly, our lives can get so busy that it can be hard to look for ways to be eco-conscientious. It is great to have a day focused on making small changes that have a big impact for the earth.
The truth is, most people haven’t thought about the impact of their period management, and still see pads and tampons as their only choices. We’ve found that once we explain the amount of waste that one cup can divert—up to 3000 tampons over 10 years—that people are blown away. When a person hears that, whether they menstruate or not, they usually follow up with a lot of questions and very quickly become excited about the environmental impact of period cups.
We spent two days on Venice Beach this year in honor of Earth Day, and found a local graffiti artist to paint a giant menstrual cup on a cement cone there. We placed tampons in the sand to bring awareness to period waste, and we had so many amazing conversations. At two different times we had someone who had done beach clean-ups run up to us and share that plastic tampon applicators were one of the most common types of waste they picked up.
The idea that we can divert that waste so easily really fuels us to keep spreading the word, and we’re so grateful to everyone who helps—parents, sisters, brothers, friends, everyone. (—Amber)