“I have always believed that WUKA is the future of period products and the old, traditional non-organic tampons and pads are on their way out.”
We were in awe with everything that WUKA stands for ever since we found out about Ruby and her mission. WUKA underwear is truly changing periods for so many girls; making them more comfortable, more sustainable, and cheaper, too! You can check out Ruby’s incredible period talk from She Loves Plants on The Vevolution Podcast here.
Tell us a bit about your journey with WUKA. What has been the biggest challenge, and what has been the most rewarding moment?
It’s been an exciting journey right from the beginning when WUKA was born in 2017 when a customer bought the very first pair. I have always believed that WUKA is the future of period products and the old, traditional non-organic tampons and pads are on their way out – not least because of health concerns and the devastating plastic waste created by them in our landfills and in the ocean.
There have been many challenges along the way, from creating the product, to ensuring our sizing and styles meet the needs of everyone who needs period products in the 21st century. Starting out from scratch we had to tell people about WUKA using social media and digital platforms and some amazing people have supported us along the way with blogs and vlogs and fantastic reviews.
The key challenge from the start, has been that of changing people’s attitudes to the product they use. If you have used tampons all your life, what does it take to get you to give period underwear a try? The global, traditional companies have been selling us this single-use product with scarcely any changes for over 50 years. By using them we produce over 200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste every year in the UK, much of it ending up in our rivers and oceans. We are also wary of health scares such as Toxic Shock syndrome, and the impact of chemicals inside our bodies, but still it’s a challenge to get people to make the switch reusables– even though it’s completely safe, simple to wear AND vastly reduces waste. People get into a habit – like driving cars rather than walking – and helping people to change attitudes is what I work with every day.
The next biggest challenge is about convincing the UK government that reusables are the future of period products.. When they issued their contract to provide free period products in schools they didn’t include period underwear – it was so disappointing to see this after all their talk on the subject. So girls in schools still won’t get the choice of reusables –– even though reusables are a win-win for girls, the schools, and government targets to reduce plastic pollution.
Why is reusable period underwear better than pads or tampons?
Firstly they are so simple to use as you wear them, wash, dry, reuse just like any normal underwear – and this makes them so straightforward for all of us. They keep you dry using your period and are leak-free. But they also have a particular role for girls starting out on their periods; for girls and women with learning difficulties who may struggle with other products, and for girls and women with physical disabilities. Our customers say that the pants are a game-changer – making a period comfortable, with no rustling of plastic, and can be worn for up to eight hours - no changing of tampons or pads during the day, or night. They are brilliant for using during sports like football and running – WUKA have even run the London Marathon!
And of course, they are eco-friendly and sustainable – they can be used again and again – up to two years – enormously reducing the menstrual waste that clogs up our rivers, oceans and landfill. On average a woman will use and throw ‘away’ 11,000 menstrual products in her lifetime – this is crazy especially when we know that one pack of sanitary pads contain the equivalent of 5 plastic bags! In comparison, just one WUKA replaces 100 or more disposable pads or tampons
Healthwise WUKA is a safe product to wear – just like a pair of pants with nothing toxic going inside your vagina. Also WUKA period underwear is registered with the Vegan Society.
“It makes periods at schools a lot easier to manage, reduces embarrassment that can happen around leaks, and they can wear the pants all day, including with sports activities.”
Congrats on the ‘My First Period Pack’ launch, by the way! Is your product popular with younger girls? Or is your main demographic young adults at the moment?
Thanks, our First Period Pack was designed to provide a budget friendly option for girls in schools. We want to introduce young people to the reusable journey – helping them with the conversation about the climate emergency and environmental impacts. Each of our 200kgs of lifetime menstrual waste adds to methane in landfill, which contributes to global warming – and many people don’t realise that most pads contain 90% plastic. Young people want system change and are looking for ways to be part of the solution, and at WUKA we want them to have the choice of using reusables and reducing their personal impact on the planet.
Feedback from younger girls who get the chance to use WUKA is very positive. It makes periods at schools a lot easier to manage, reduces embarrassment that can happen around leaks, and they can wear the pants all day, including with sports activities. They also say that they love that WUKA is eco-friendly.
“To be period positive means we live in a world when no-one has to whisper anymore when talking about periods.”
Can you explain period positivity? What does it mean to be Period Positive?
To be period positive means we live in a world when no-one has to whisper anymore when talking about periods. Menstruation is part of reproduction; part of the process of creating the next generation and we seem to have forgotten that. It’s like being embarrassed to talk about babies – and we would see that as nonsense. I’d like to live in a society where we can share our experiences of periods, where girls’ first periods were celebrated; where monthly cycles were understood, and where health issues about menstruation were openly discussed. We need to be loud and proud talking about periods, and men should be just as comfortable as women in this conversation. WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass – something we should all feel like doing every day!
“Vevolution Festival celebrates innovation and movements geared towards a better future and aligns really well with what we do at WUKA.”
What is next for WUKA? Do you have anything exciting that you want to share with us?
Our latest product launch is our new bikini style WUKA Medium, designed in two colours; marl grey and black. It holds at least 15 ml of period flow or light leaks - around 2-3 tampons worth. This style is made with cotton and is quicker drying.
We are continuing our fight to get the tampon tax removed and will be challenging the government to include plastic free reusable menstrual products in their schools’ initiative. We are also producing some TV adverts – shhh! Look out for the ads.
What made you want to get involved with Vevolution Festival?
Vevolution Festival celebrates innovation and movements geared towards a better future and aligns really well with what we do at WUKA. The new period tech revolution is coming!
We also love the people involved; we were at She Loves Plants – a sister event of Vevolution and we had a great time with a very supportive community. And we all need to support each other.
VEVOLUTION FESTIVAL IS ALMOST HERE! DON’T MISS OUT!
The countdown is truly on for the 2019 edition of Vevolution Festival. This year, we are coming back BIGGER and BETTER than ever. We have our whole team working on making this event unforgettable, and super inspiring. If you see yourself as part of the movement that is creating positive change in the world, do not miss out - grab a ticket!