Olivia Cotes-James is founder and CEO of LUÜNA naturals, Asia’s first 100 percent female-led period care company. Her and her team are “making periods better – for our bodies, our planet and our sisters in need.”
Earlier this year, they launched an organic cotton period care subscription service and the LUÜNA Period Cup in Hong Kong. “This isn’t just about creating convenient access to period products – though that’s important in a city where many women still have to ‘mule’ them from abroad,” says Olivia. “Every purchase of our products is an investment in the future of feminine care; in a company that puts health and sustainability before profit.”
With offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, Cotes-James and her team have spoken to thousands of women across Asia about menstruation, advocating for education, awareness and smashing global taboos that persist around female health.
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“We’ve sent human beings into space, yet when it comes to menstrual innovation, we still have pads and tampons made from synthetics and chemicals dominating the market. As soon as I stopped using these products, the irritations I’d blamed on my body for over a decade stopped. Moreover, no one knows the true long-term health consequences of exposing our vaginas to these materials, though increasing research suggests they can be dangerous,” says Olivia.
On an environmental level, says Olivia, the situation is also critical. “Over 90% of women in Asia use non-degradable period products, most believing they’re made from cotton. When you consider we use around 11,000 during our lives, the environmental impact is staggering.”
Olivia points out that LUÜNA organic cotton products, while keeping the users body free from synthetics, are not 100% plastic-free yet. For hygiene reasons, they come in thin plastic wraps. “We’re committed to our sustainability goals and are currently testing our plastic-free next generation products which we will bring to market next year,” she adds.
We’re also combatting plastic waste through social initiatives, donating a LUÜNA Period Cup for every subscription or cup sold. It takes work to safely educate communities about this product, but it’s worth it when you consider the environmental and health benefits of doing so.”
The team have big goals for next year. “We’ll use a portion of profits from corporate partnerships to donate 5,000 cups and run educational workshops for low-income women and girls by Women’s Day 2020,” says Olivia.
This initiative allows companies, as well as customers, to invest in the future of ethical feminine care. In tackling menstrual taboos at all levels, we can advance gender equality, reduce plastic period waste and ensure health & wellbeing for women and girls across Asia.
Olivia’s determination and excitement about this next phase is palpable. “It’s long overdue but we believe a new era is dawning in the field of menstrual care in Asia. Make no mistake, LUÜNA are going to be leading the way.”
If you’re a company or organisation that wants to take part in LUUNA’s “A New Normal” initiative, message
In partnership with LUÜNA naturals