HOW ON EARTH DID HELLO CUPS GET SO CUTE?
Hello Cups are made in Napier by an awesome team. We spent a long time perfecting the design. The initial driving force was to create a menstrual cup that had exceptional functionality while still looking damn cute so that women who previously found period cups “gross” or unappealing would give them a go.
We didn’t want to be dictated by the generic shape of almost every other cup. We wanted to create a shape that was more “vagina friendly”. We didn’t want any ridges or edges that can be uncomfortable – and also make them harder to clean. Having cute colours was really important to us. We wanted them to not only be functional but also beautiful.
WHO ARE YOUR MENSTRUAL CUP HEROINES?
While there were various attempts to invent menstrual cups as early as the 1860s, full credit has to go to the American actress Leona Chalmers who, in 1937, invented the first menstrual cup that is actually similar what we use today. Clearly she was before her time – because they didn’t take off and along came a man who invented the tampon – a product that makes manufacturers money every month rather than once every few years.
We feel that big business managed to keep menstrual cups under the radar until recent times when, largely thanks to social media, people can sing the praises of products they love and word can spread organically. There’s nothing better than a recommendation from someone you know or a friend or a friend. We no longer have to be dictated to by large companies who can afford to take out ads on television.
We love the ‘Put A Cup In It’ girls. They run a fun website that offers advise on how to find a cup that is right for you. They have a good sense of humour, which we like. We’re also fans of a Kiwi woman called Jess Claris who is on Instagram as @dotdashnz. She bought a Hello Cup a few months ago and initially told her followers that she wasn’t going to go into any details about it – but she ended up giving a hilarious daily ‘Cupdate’ during the first week she used her Hello Cup. Luckily she nailed it and was a total convert!
WHO ARE THE MAGIC MAKERS BEHIND HELLO CUP?
Robyn McLean and Mary Bond launched Hello Cup in December last year. They first met in Form One (Year 7) in Wellington and have been besties ever since. They always talked of starting a business together. There were plenty of great ideas over the years but none that were akin to that ‘light-bulb’ moment – until they started talking about menstrual cups. Mary is a registered nurse and Robyn is a former journalist and PR / Marketing manager so they’ve been able to use their skills within the Hello Cup from day one!
YOU MUST GET SOME PRETTY COLOURFUL FEEDBACK?
We love getting feedback from our customers and we’ve received some amazing emails – some have even reduced us to tears. Our customers are seriously gorgeous.
Some of the things they write just make us melt – they are like love letters! We had no idea what an impact a single period cup could have. It’s common for women to tell us that since they have been using a Hello Cup they actually look forward to getting their periods, for the first time ever!
In the early stages we couldn’t agree on what to call ‘vaginas’ on our website. We came up with the idea of having a ‘vagina switcheroo‘ on our website. It allows women to enter the term they feel most comfortable with.
There have been some hilarious names entered including ‘Lady Muffington‘ ‘Notorious V.A.G’; ‘the artist formerly known as Muff’, ‘Foo Foo McFlorence’, ‘Twinkle Cave’. We take what we do very seriously but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun at the same time.
We are so stoked when we hear back from women who had initially said they didn’t think a Hello Cup could help them – whether it be horrifying periods, endometriosis, prolapse etc – but then they write back to say what a difference using a Hello Cup has made in their lives.
We can’t promise that the Hello Cup will work for everyone but we know they have made a hugely positive impact for many women who were really struggling to manage their periods beforehand.
WHICH CUP IS MOST POPULAR WITH NZ WOMEN?
Our Pick n’ Mix box has always been our most popular. It’s two sizes in one box at a discounted rate. It’s a great option if women are not sure about sizing. Interestingly we have found that many women fit both sizes anyway and use the larger cup on heavier days and the smaller one on lighter days.SHOP PICK N MIX
TELL US ABOUT THE TEEN CUP – ARE GIRLS BUYING THIS THEMSELVES?
The thing that struck us when we first started using cups was that we wished we had discovered them years ago. They simply weren’t an option for us when we were at school. From know from the outset when we were developing the Hello Cup that we wanted our range to include a smaller cup for first time users. The Hello Cup TEEN is softer but still pops open really easily. Our first run is in a cute soft lilac colour and the girls seem to adore them.
We have been thrilled at the number of young women trying the Teen Cup – they are so much more aware of the environment and their bodies than we were. We’ve been asked by many schools to come and chat about the Hello Cup and we have been blown away by how open and positive the response has been by young women. If girls start using cups at an early age they will save thousands of dollars over the course of their ‘period lifetime’ not to mention the fact they’ll stop hundreds of kilos of sanitary waste from going into our landfills.
WHAT WERE YOUR TOP MENSTRUAL CUP DESIGN PRIORITIES?
We wanted to create the most comfortable, New Zealand-made menstrual cup on the market.
It was essential they were comfortable, functional but also super cute so women actually loved them rather than seeing them as just a boring old sanitary item. By making them appealing, we think we’ve created a new demand that wasn’t there before.
Affordability was also really important to us. Our cups pay for themselves in a couple of months. Yes, there are cheaper cups out there – but trust us, there are some particularly nasty brands that you wouldn’t want going anywhere near your vjayjay. We are in control of every step of our manufacturing process and can stand behind the safety and quality of Hello Cups.
WHAT ABOUT THE MATERIALS – WHY DID YOU USE TPE?
The Hello Cup is the only New Zealand made menstrual cup made from TPE (which is a type of plastic). We choose medical grade thermoplastic elastomer (often referred to as TPE) over silicone as it is an incredibly safe and stable material that is great for women who have sensitivities to silicone. It lasts for up to 5 years and although silicone (if cared for) can last longer than that, unlike silicone, TPE is 100% recyclable. It also take less energy to produce than silicone.
At the Hello Cup we have access to a machine that can grind down cups very easily so we offer to recycle our customers cups when they have finished with them for free. TPE has a huge number of uses and we are looking into products that we can make out of our recycled cups!
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER OH NATURAL?
Before we even launched the Hello Cup we really wanted to be stocked by Oh Natural. So when Jenna contacted us, we were so stoked. Oh Natural is like an online world you can lose yourself in – so many amazing natural and cruelty free products in one spot. Jenna makes it so easy for us to make better choices for ourselves, our whanau and our planet. Oh Natural is obviously a totally gorgeous website too so we feel like that’s a fantastic fit for the Hello Cup.
Ed: We couldn’t agree more ladies, love your work!
WHAT NEXT FOR HELLO CUP?
We are currently designing some washable liners. They will be made in New Zealand too. We believe they are a great product to sit alongside the Hello Cup, either as an extra level of “just in case” protection or on days when women may choose to only wear a liner. Again we wanted to make a beautiful product that our customers will love.
We are constantly looking at ways to innovate at the Hello Cup. When we first started just had one firmness, then we introduced a firmer FIT cup and noticed the reviews were phenomenal.
So we surveyed over 100 women who had both types and found that while most liked both – if forced to choose between the two, most would choose the FIT over the classic because it popped open easier but was just as comfortable – something that we considered to be vital because so many of our customers are first-time cup users and we want the experience to be as easy as possible for them.
We decided it would be less confusing for our customers it there was only one choice of firmness – choosing a size is hard enough but then having to chose a firmness added another level of difficulty, so we made the decision to stop the ‘classic’ cups and make the ‘FIT’ cups our standard and just call them Hello Cups.
It’s vital to listen to your customers – they are the ones we will help us continue to grow and improve and ensure we continue to be the best menstrual cup on the market.
At the Hello Cup we are acutely aware that sanitary products are unaffordable for many people in New Zealand. We strongly believe that if menstrual cups are gifted, this needs to go hand in hand with excellent education and ongoing support. If you are giving out free cups without a genuine desire from the woman receiving it to actually want to use it, it will end up in the rubbish. We are currently in discussions with some amazing people to find a way to get our Teen Cups to those that need them – so watch this space.
Win a Hello Box
With two Hello Cups (one larger one smaller) for $69.00, the Hello Box is the ideal way to ensure you get the perfect fit cup, or have different cups for different flow days!
We have TWO to be won. Enter here!