INTERVIEW
Inspiring Women

INTERVIEW<br>Inspiring Women

8th March 2020 is International Women's Day. We were honored to be included in our package designers blog featuring a number of local WA Inspiring Women.

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Inspiring Women

5 March 2020

By Tracy Kenworthy

Photo: Joshua Bickford

Each year, March 8 is recognized around the world as International Women’s Day. A day of celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action. Women are amazing - let’s face it I’m one of them and if you can’t say it about yourself, well then, who will.

I am blessed. I work doing what I love, with people I admire, respect and love. The majority of them are women. Two of them work with me. They are generous, supportive, kind and compassionate women who are simply amazing in everything they do daily (that’s you Leanne Balen and Marie Henriquez, and for more than 21 years Trish Acker (recently retired). Through our work, we have formed relationships with many women who have helped to shape our lives, improve our business, teach and inspire us to be better people. This International Women’s Day we reflect and acknowledge six of these special women and how they inspire us every day.

Please support them. Support women, together we can make a difference. I hope you find each of their stories as inspiring as I do.

Brenda Tootell, Proprietor, JuJu

When I hear the horrors of women in third world countries enduring shame, and being outcast from their communities while they are menstruating, it makes my heart sink. And, did you know that it is suggested that the disposal of plastic-lined pads may take anywhere between 500 to 800 years to decompose? Can you imagine how many used tampons and pads are polluting our planet?

It encourages me, that women like Brenda are seeking and offering alternative solutions that are both kind to women and the planet. Feminine health care has long been a taboo subject, yet Brenda is here to change that. Launching JuJu to the Australian market with a range of fem-care products her reusable product range is a convenient, cost-effective and Eco-friendly solution all women can embrace. The JuJu website via the blog has a host of supportive information around all things relating to the well-being of women. I encourage you to take a look here.

Brenda approached Dessein with the JuJu logo and a pretty floral pattern in hand and asked how we could tackle her complex range of packaging with a practical, economical solution embracing the caring nature of the JuJu brand. Of course, we accepted the challenge and we are proud, that in some small way, by assisting the JuJu brand, we are contributing to the well-being of women and mother earth.

I asked Brenda to share a little about her experiences and she has kindly done so. I am truly inspired by her values and the good she is doing for us all, as I hope you all do too.

When did you start your business, and what inspired you to do so?

Our first product was launched in 2011. Two years before that, I first learned about menstrual cups. They seemed to be becoming an increasingly popular choice of menstrual hygiene products overseas and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of them. People who used them sang their praises and it seemed we didn’t have the same range of reusables available to us in Australia. I evaluated all the cups on the market and spoke to consumers to get a gauge on what was important to them. From the research, it was clear that a trusted brand, local manufacture, and supporting customers were three key features a person would look for to make the transition from a tampon or pad to a menstrual cup. I decided I wanted to manufacture an Australian-made menstrual cup in Australia to give consumers a locally produced alternative with local customer support. 

What do you produce/offer?

We offer a range of reusable period care products including a menstrual cup, cloth pads, and absorbent leak-proof underwear. These products completely replace disposable tampons and pads making them an eco-friendly and more cost-effective alternative to disposables.

Have you encountered any particular hurdles, as a result of being a woman in business (or any other for that matter) and how did you overcome them?

Thankfully not. I haven’t faced any business challenges that were a direct result of my gender (aside from juggling full-time work and being a parent, which isn’t unique to me alone). I feel incredibly grateful to be living in a country where I’ve had the opportunity to follow my own path but am acutely aware that this isn’t the case for many other women. 

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement (so far)?

Winning the Green Design Awards ‘Wellbeing Product of the Year’ and being a finalist in the Telstra Business Startup Awards are a couple of accolades I am proud to have achieved but I’d still say, without a doubt, that customer’s endorsements are still our greatest achievement. To hear someone say your product has been ‘life-changing’ is so awesome!

What vision do you have for the business or brand in the future?

In terms of our products, we will continue to expand our product range and evolve our existing product range based on customers feedback and needs. We are also passionate about having open conversations around menstruation to remove the shame and stigma around menstruation. Access to menstrual hygiene products is a major issue for many people around the world, so we’ll continue to advocate for access to hygiene products as a fundamental human right as we aim to eradicate period poverty in the future. 

Do you remember how you found Dessein?

Sure do. I found Dessein through our printer. It was important to me to find a local packaging designer and printer so we were supporting local jobs.  

Has Dessein helped to achieve any of your business objectives? 

Absolutely. When we first met with Dessein all we had was a logo, a pattern and numerous product variants that weren’t easily distinguishable on the shelf. Dessein was able to distill a large amount of information into an elegant package through the use of visual aids, highlighting the key features and good design. Dessein has since designed packaging for several other JuJu products and has ensured consistent branding throughout our range. We continue to get customer compliments on our packaging.

Visit the Juju website for more: www.juju.com.au