Don’t be fooled by Cora’s sleek designer packaging. The tampon subscription service is more than a good-looking way to deal with “that time of month.” For one thing, Cora’s tampons are made of 100 percent fragrance-free organic cotton, which mean no hinky chemicals in your you-know-where. Cora also has a social mission. For every month’s supply of tampons you order, the company provides a free month’s worth of sustainable pads to girls in need in countries such as India, where as many as one in five drop out of school because of inadequate sanitary napkins, sanitation, and separate facilities for girls.
BUY ONE, GIVE ONE
“While traveling throughout developing countries, I saw how menstruation negatively affects girls and women who are poor,” Molly Hayward, co-founder of Cora, explained on her website. “Unable to afford menstrual products, they resort to using old rags, newspaper, animal dung and tree bark—even pieces of old mattress—all of which can cause infections and reproductive health problems, not to mention humiliating leaks.
When Hayward learned about that many feminine products sold in the United States contain potentially harmful substances, such as synthetics and pesticides that can cause endocrine disruption, cancer, and other health risks, she became even more concerned.
Enter Hayward’s business partner, Morgen Newman, whose wife mentioned how poorly designed tampons were.
“When my wife actually showed me a tampon up-close—fresh from its flimsy and noisy wrapper—and we talked about the synthetic materials and chemicals sitting side-by-side with some of her body’s most vulnerable tissue, I was shocked,” he said. “How is it that no one has improved this pain point-filled experience yet? If I was going to use 10,000 of anything in my life, I’d sure as hell seek out a brand and product that made the experience better for me.”
So Newman and Hayward banded together, launching Cora to not only allow American women manage their periods with grace, dignity, and safety, but also ensure that no girl is left behind because of her biology.
Cora doesn’t just send its products abroad, since doing that can undermine the local economy. Instead, it partners with social enterprises and other organizations to produce the pads locally through small-scale manufacturing units in rural villages and urban slums.
Buying one of Cora’s “little black boxes,” in other words, sets off a chain reaction: you get a month’s supply of tampons in elegant lipstick-like tubes, Cora buys the equivalent supply of sustainable pads from its local partners in India, local women are employed and paid a living wage, and girls in local schools receive pads they otherwise can’t access or afford.
A Cora subscription costs between $9 to 18 per month. Tampons are available in packs of six to 24 and in your choice of regular or “super” absorbency. While the applicator the company currently supplies is bisphenol A–free plastic, Newman and Hayward are working on developing a bio-based plastic for an “even more neutral environmental impact.
“We believe what you put in your body matters,” they said. “Our aim is to offer women the safest, purest tampons in the world without sacrificing performance.”