Let's talk about tampons
For years, online expat forums have been rife with the same question of where to buy tampons in China, and for years the answer has been the same. You can find them, but at great expense and inconvenience – particularly if you’re caught unprepared.
It was early last year that two women in Shanghai, Olivia and Jean, found themselves lamenting this situation. They were fed up with reliance on friends being roped in to bring quality brands back for them from trips abroad (aptly dubbed ‘tampon mules’). In a city of 12 million women, why were basic sanitary products so hard to come by?
“We started speaking to women about their menstrual routines around the same time as the 2016 Rio Olympics. Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui was being praised by western media outlets for speaking openly about her period affecting her race time. Interestingly, the reaction amongst many of the women we were speaking to in Shanghai was not surprise at her speaking openly about menstrual symptoms – this is normal here – but surprise that she was able to swim on her period.”
LUNA founders, Jean, Liu Jin & Olivia
This was just the start of uncovering what Olivia and Jean call ‘the period myth’ – the misconception that menstruation is naturally unpleasant and requires women to restrict their lifestyles every month. It became increasingly clear that limited education around female health was to blame for tampons being largely unknown or negatively perceived in China.
Together with intrepid tampon explorer Liu Jin, they launched LUNA, a tampon brand that seeks to educate women about the sanitary options available beyond pads and in doing so, drives essential conversation around menstruation.
Beyond guiding first time users through tampon use, the LUNA WeChat platform promises ‘content by women, for women. No bullshit.’ Olivia tells us, “we were tired of the same old period subterfuge being used to sell sanitary products across the world. Women deserve information about their bodies that is engaging, honest and relatable.”
Alongside their platform, this women-led team will be launching The LUNA Box, a subscription service delivers a personalised selection of imported, applicator tampons direct to women’s doors across China on one of three delivery dates closest to their periods. From September 10th 2017, you will be able to subscribe through the LUNA WeChat store, to receive a beautiful package of tampons and thoughtfully curated treats that help women through that previously torrid time of the month, including tea, chocolates and other edible goods.
“By creating a stylish option for periods, LUNA redefines the traditional role of a sanitary brand and encourages women to think of their menstrual health as an important lifestyle choice rather than an uncomfortable afterthought.”
For more information, you can email Olivia at Olivia@thelunabox.com
Only 2% of women in China use tampons
76% of Chinese women feel uncomfortable in any social setting while on their period
China made 85 billion sanitary pads last year, and not one tampon
Johnson & Johnson’s O.B. tampons appeared on shelves in China in 1993 and are still the only brand widely available in stores (these tend to be high-end stores)
And... That's it!