The self-made business changing the world one tampon at a time

Image Source: University of South Australia

By Annalise Toms | @annalise_toms

Adelaide women Eloise Hall and Isobel Marshall are leading the entrepreneurial way with their self-made business ‘Taboo’.

Taboo’s mission is to ensure women from all over the world have access to sustainable menstrual healthcare products, and the appropriate education on their periods and menstruation cycles.

In many countries around the world, girls and women are ostracised, dehumanised, and humiliated for simply being female and menstruating once a month.

This is particularly evident with females in developing countries who do not have access to the right education and resources to understand and cope with their periods.

Consequently, this is affecting their education, work, and social aspects of their lives.

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Image Source: Taboo’s Facebook page

Co-Founder and Director Eloise Hall said, “[We] have an absolute passion for menstrual healthcare overseas, especially considering how poorly periods can affect a girl’s prospects at school.”

The amazing part about this business concept is that Taboo dedicates 100 per cent of its profits back into various menstrual projects overseas and in places, such as Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Eloise and Isobel feel so passionately about their mission and are selling their product online through a subscription, which will not only be affordable, but also very convenient.

These young women have been able to break down the stigma and uncomfortable connotations that periods are usually associated with, and have been able to spread awareness about poor menstrual hygiene conditions that are faced by many around the world.

They have seen so many people empowered by the conversation through travelling, presenting, and educating in many schools around Adelaide.

Taboo said that the most rewarding example of their work thus far was when they went to Kenya and India last year.

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Image Source: Taboo

The Taboo girls donated pads and panties to school girls in both these countries, who are faced with these pressing realities.

Eloise and Isobel said the reaction from these girls was absolutely life changing.

Since it all began in 2016, the girls have received an overwhelming amount of support from their communities and crowdfunding campaigns.

Taboo’s social enterprise model does not rely on funds from investors and shareholders.

Therefore, much to their surprise, over 270 people raised over $56,000, which kick-started Taboo’s mission.

Eloise said the hardest part of the journey so far was all the waiting they had to do.

“It has taken us 2.5 years to finally confirm the manufacturing process of our pads and tampons…”.

“…we are so amazed, relieved, and just in shock that our product will be finished and ready for shipment to Australia from Barcelona next week,” Eloise said.

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Image Source: Taboo

Taboo’s long-term goal is to have their product on the shelves of supermarkets and retail stores around Australia, and to ultimately be one of the leading menstrual hygiene brands in Australia.

This long-term goal would allow them to raise as much profit as possible to be able to donate to menstrual projects all around the world.

Incredibly, both women are still studying at university, as well as running this sanitary product enterprise.

Eloise is studying a double degree in Business and International Studies at Flinders University and Isobel is studying Medicine at the University of Adelaide.

“It has definitely been challenging juggling everything, but we are so lucky to be in it together, supporting each other.”

We have definitely had to make sacrifices (especially in our social lives), which have sucked at the time, but seem worth it when we remind ourselves of the mission and what we are working towards,” said Eloise.

These sacrifices have paid off with Taboo winning innovation competitions, such as the Fish Tank Competition through the Unley Council and the Start Up Weekend Adelaide.

The women at Taboo have also been able to work at the collaboration centre in UniSA and Thinc Lab at the University of Adelaide.

They were also interviewed on Channel 9 news, where Eloise said it was, “totally terrifying, but also such an amazing experience and some great exposure.”

So how can you help?

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Image Source: Taboo’s Facebook page

Isobel and Eloise are looking to launch their range in a few months’ time.

You can subscribe to their product if you are menstruating and if you don’t menstruate, you can subscribe on the behalf of someone who is.

Check out their socials and their official website for all their information and some really groovy merchandise, which supports the non-for profit business, not only financially, but also in spreading their important message.

If you want to get on-board and volunteer for this incredible cause or host a fundraiser for your school, work, or community, you can email them at: volunteer@tabooau.co.

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