The new subscription service Athena Club just received $3.6 million in funding to deliver tampons timed to your cycle each month
Buying tampons doesn’t have to cramp your style.
Your period can be stressful enough; besides the physical discomfort, 58% of women admit feeling embarrassed about being on their periods. But Athena Club’s new tampon subscription is here to eliminate the hassle — and potential humiliation — of having to run to the store to restock your supply every month.
Athena Club is offering 18-packs of tampons starting at $6.50 per month with free shipping, compared to the $10-plus you could pay for an 18-pack online. And orders can be timed to your cycle, so they arrive before Aunt Flo does.
“We always wondered why it’s so complicated to have a period. You have to go to a store at very inconvenient hours [if you get your period unexpectedly] or you have to pay a fortune to get them delivered,” Maria Markina, Athena Club’s co-founder, told Moneyish. “Our dream scenario was to have tampons teleported to your bathroom, without [you] having to go out and buy them.”
Athena Club just received $3.6 million in funding from investors, including Henry Kravis of KKR and Cue Ball Capital, to produce its high-quality organic and premium tampons made in Germany and delivered to U.S. customers.
Women can already sign up for recurring Athena Club deliveries, and choose between premium ($6.50) or organic, biodegradable tampons ($7.50); select the absorption (light, regular, super, super plus or a customizable combination); delivery frequency (every month, two months or six months); and quantity (each pack contains 18 tampons). An order of two packs per month (or 36 tampons) will cost you $13. (In comparison, Americans typically spend between $7 to $10 on tampons per month, and use around 20 tampons per cycle, according to the Huffington Post. Playtex tampons cost around $9 for a box of 18 tampons on Amazon.
The tampons are unscented, made without harsh chemicals or dyes, and come with BPA-free plastic applicators. And you can set your delivery to arrive at the same time each month, and make it a recurring order so that you don’t have to think twice about it.
“Everybody needs necessities, there were so many subscription services for men that were affordable, like the Dollar Shave Club,” Markina said. “We thought, ‘How can we have a necessary women’s product delivered to them without the luxury price tag?’”
Feminine hygiene products are a $5.9 billion industry in the U.S., and a $35.4 billion one globally. And growth shows no sign of slowing — the latter figure is slated to surpass $40 billion worldwide in the next three years, according to Global Industry Analysts.
In most states, that time of the month also comes with a “pink tax,” or an extra cost tacked on to feminine products like tampons, which women need to serve a biological function they can’t control. A woman has her period for an average three to seven days per month and menstruates from age 12 until 52, according to the Office on Women’s Health — and between buying tampons, painkillers, birth control, heating pads and other products associated with menstruation, the total cost of having periods could cost up to $18,171 over an entire lifetime, the Huffington Post reported.
More states are pushing to end the “tampon tax,” however. Nine states — including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — have removed menstrual products from their sales tax items, while seven states (most recently Arizona, Nebraska, and Virginia) have introduced legislation to follow suit. In 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation making free menstrual products available in all New York City public schools, shelters and jails. And in January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a law requiring all New York state schools to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms for girls in grades six through 12.
Athena Club will also allow customers to donate tampons to the non-profits Support the Girls or Period.org — which help underprivileged families get access to free hygiene products — through its referral program. And for each friend referred to the Athena Club service, customers can either receive a free bag of tampons for themselves, or donate that bag to one of the charity partners.
“Tampons aren’t a luxury; they’re a basic right,” Markina said. “And people shouldn’t have to choose between purchasing food and purchasing tampons.”
Athena Club isn’t the only subscription service providing women easier access to feminine care products. Tampon Tribe, an $8 per month organic tampon and pad subscription service that launched last year, has a similar business model, although consumers can only get up to 16 tampons per pouch. Then there’s the organic online feminine hygiene company Lola, another subscription-based service that sells 18-pack tampons for $10 per month along with liners, pads and cleansing wipes, all between $9 and $10. And the organic tampon brand Monthly Gift ships tampons and other hygiene items starting at $10 per month.
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