The cloth pads manufacturer Stefanie Wagner, alias Ms. ALMO, tells:
My plan wasn't to become a cloth pads saleswoman. Actually, I never wanted to be a saleswoman anyway. Nevertheless, I actually became a retail saleswoman in my first apprenticeship. Which of course helps me a lot now.
How did I become fabric sanitary towels maker?
Actually, I was just looking for alternative products for myself. I tried the mooncup, but since I've never liked tampons, it wasn't a surprise when I couldn't handle it. That's why I bought some cloth sanitary towels. Because I'm not the first and only one to sell cloth sanitary towels. So back then, around 10 years ago, I bought 10 different brands of sanitary napkins. Already after 3 months were 9 of them ready to be thrown away. I was very annoyed because that was a waste of time and money. They should be durable for a longer while.
So I thought, how a woman sometimes thinks she could make something so easily and quickly, I'll do it better myself. No sooner said than done, I fiddled and filed for 2 years until the almost perfect cloth pad was ready. Actually, the sewn pads were only for me. BUT my mission was born: Everyone around the world should have this good feeling in his pants. Because my cloth pads couldn't be compared with plastic sanitary napkins, they were even much better.
Well, I became a cloth pad maker. Even if I never wanted to talk about menstruation or menstrual hygiene. Yes I did it, even if I was always ashamed to use sanitary napkins. I always looked around, when buying sanitary towels, to see who was in the store and always went shopping with a bag, in order to make the sanitary towels disappear immediately after the checkout.
Should I sell sanitary towels now? Really? Phew.
Well, I've grown with my tasks and with my products. My first friends should try them out to find out, whether I am not the only one who thinks these things are great. They gave me their GO. And then somehow everything happened very quickly. The first festival was coming up and I made a stand with my products. The first online shop was still on the do-it-yourself platform Dawanda (now Etsy). Then followed many trade fairs, markets, congresses, the first own online shop and then, in June 2019, the world's first menstrual shop.
Today when I think back about the past, the first few years were really tough. I drove home from one or the other trade fair and wondered why I was actually doing this and that it would have been more lucrative if I had stayed on the couch at home. BUT the day after a trade fair I already looked at the next one. My mission wanted to be lived. There was nothing I could do about it. In 2013 the taboo about the menstrual cycle was much, much, much bigger than it is today. And even today it's still pretty much present. Even if a lot has happened in the meantime. And there are few things I can talk about with so much joy and love as menstruation and my body-friendly / environmentally friendly monthly hygiene products.
I love it when I get feedback from customers who say "thank you". They ask me why they had to be 40/45 before they could find such products with a new attitude towards life / menstrual period. Women who are looking forward to their menstrual DAYS to finally try out the cozy sanitary towels / period panties. My heart is leaping. And I know that all the effort and work I made in the last 10 years were so worth it.
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