Aunt Flow Student Advocate

What Hello Giggles has to say about free menstrual products

HelloGiggles (HG): Can you elaborate on the mission behind selling menstrual products to businesses?

Claire Coder (CC): Toilet paper is offered for free, why aren’t tampons? I started Aunt Flow as a result of an unexpected period. We have all been there — I was at an event, got my period, and there were no tampons in the bathrooms. I was surrounded by men, and I felt uncomfortable asking the few women if they had any “supplies.” I ended up leaving that event early thinking

“WOW. I just missed out on huge opportunities, simply because of a natural bodily function.”

I was frustrated that an anatomical male has everything he needs in the bathroom for natural bodily functions, but a menstruator does not. I was frustrated that no-one talks about menstruation. I set out on a mission to change the conversation and to ensure everyone has access to menstrual products. 

HG: What has the response from businesses been like?

CC: Overall, businesses GET IT. The majority of business owners and HR professionals have never considered offering free tampons and pads for employees in their bathrooms. Let’s face it — menstruation is not a savvy topic like the next app that helps connect employees. However, we are able to explain to businesses that by offering free Aunt Flow menstrual products in their bathrooms, they can reduce lost work hours from people frantically running to the store, and it improves the opportunity for businesses to rate higher on rankings that consider best places to work for women.

tampons in offices

 HG: Why is it important to Aunt Flow to commit to ensuring access to menstrual products for everyone?

CC: Menstrual products are not covered by WIC or food stamps, making the nearly $10/month cost unbearable for many people living at or below the poverty line. When deciding where to spend that $10, food becomes the priority. As a result, many people are forced to use dirty socks, rags, and even plastic bags when on their period.

Aunt Flow believes people should have access to the necessary tampons and pads no matter their economic status. As we’ve grown and listened to those around us, we realized we needed to expand our idea of inclusivity to include gender. Those who identify as cis women are not the only people who menstruate. Trans men and those individuals who do not identify as either binary gender also menstruate. To stay true to our mission — to ensure EVERYONE has access to menstrual products — we could not exclude this population.

This article originally appeared on Hello Giggles.

  • Claire Coder (Forbes 30 Under 30) is a Thiel Fellow and Founder and CEO of Aunt Flow. On a mission to make the world better for people with periods, Aunt Flow stocks public bathrooms with freely accessible tampons and pads.

Stay in the flow — we’ll send you period positivity + timely updates on the menstrual movement.

claire coder,founder + ceo

claire coder,
founder + ceo

Hi! I’m Claire. I founded Aunt Flow after getting my period in public without the supplies needed.

Founded in 2016, Aunt Flow is a certified WBENC women-owned company based in Columbus, Ohio. At 18 years old, I dedicated my life to developing a solution to ensure businesses and schools could sustainably provide quality period products, for free, in bathrooms. Our products are made with 100% organic cotton (no weird stuff) and we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact! For every 10 tampons and pads we sell, we donate 1 to a menstruator in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®