Tired of feeling like menstruation — a natural, human occurrence — is something to feel embarrassed about, some Gen Zers are taking matters into their own hands.
Nadya Okamoto, a 23-year-old Harvard graduate, and co-founder Nick Jain recently launched their own line of menstrual products under the brand name, August, in the hopes of making periods “dignified” and fostering a community for all people who menstruate.
“Periods can be a hassle, but they’re powerful,” Okamoto told POPSUGAR. “We should have a period community, culture and product that reaffirms that.”
The new brand seeks to differentiate itself from other menstruation-product startups like Thinx and Modibodi in a variety of ways, from using sustainable materials for its products and packaging to being transparent about its carbon footprint. August also says it’s the only brand absorbing costs of the sales tax imposed on feminine hygiene products in 30 different states, known as the “tampon tax.”
Okamoto has been a period activist since she was 16, when she co-founded a nonprofit called Period. Her new startup represents something of a comeback, as Period’s board terminated its contract with Okamoto last summer after fellow activists accused her of not being inclusive.
Okamoto, author of the book “Period Power,” told the Today Show last fall that she was so laser-focused on growing the menstrual movement that she didn’t realize she was “monopolizing” the conversation. She added that she is working to gain back trust.
She and Jain, who began working together in February 2020, appear to have won fans in the period space by posting content on Instagram and interacting with August’s online community, who often use the hashtag #InnerCycle. The brand already has 146,000 followers on Instagram.
The co-founders also launched Ask August, a space where commonly-asked questions about menstruation are answered with the verification of different doctors.
For his part, Jain told the Today Show that he grew up like other boys, thinking periods were a taboo subject, but now wants to do his part to end period poverty, where people can’t afford menstruation products and sometimes miss school as a result.
“I was almost shocked that I knew so little about this,” he said. “I started realizing a lot of the injustices that exist around something as natural as menstruation.”