For those of us unlucky enough to be forced to accommodate mother nature’s whims on a monthly basis, you know that — in addition to cramps, headaches and mood swings — it can be a challenge to find time in your schedule to buy the period products you need.
Desperate trips to the pharmacy when disaster hits can suffice, but the co-founders of the tampon subscription service Athena Club, Maria Markina and Allie Griswold, thought there had to be a better way to provide women the products they need in a cheap and empowering way.
“We’ve both had our fair share of tampon war stories,” Griswold told TechCrunch. “It’s something that every woman goes through at some point in her life and it’s a universal problem that we wanted to make easier. There are so many other amazing things that women can and should be doing than worrying about [where to get tampons] every month.”
Athena Club launches today after receiving $3.8 million in seed funding from investors including Henry Kravis of KKR, the Desmarais Group, Cue Ball Capital, Philippe Laffont, Founder of Coatue Management and Robert Fetherstonhaugh. The company currently offers two tampon types (Premium and Organic) and a variety of absorbances (ranging from light to super+ for its Premium product and regular to super for its Organic one). The company also has plans to expand its products into pads and liners as the brand progresses.
In each order, customers can decide how many bags they need (each reusable bag includes 18 tampons), what type of tampon and what mix of absorbances they want, and how frequently they need them delivered. A selection of its Premium tampons cost $6.50/bag and its Organic selections are $7.50/bag.
For the founders, this level of customization was an important part of giving women autonomy over their periods.
“[We chose] the name Athena Club because we believe Athena is a really strong, fearless, independent woman and we’re very excited to bring that essence to our brand.” said Griswold. “Like Athena, women today have many passions and talents. They can’t all fit into one box and we want to provide [the option] to find the right customized package that works for their body.”
Athena Club also recognizes that for some women, access to tampons and period products is more than just a nuisance but a critical health issue. To help provide security and education surrounding periods and women’s health to women in need, Athena Club is committed to supporting groups like Period.org and Support the Girls. To date, Athena Club has already donated 10,000 tampons to women in need through Period.org and has plans to continue that support on a yearly basis.
Athena Club is joining a fairly crowded feminine care subscription space, but the founders say that its price point will help it stand apart from the crowd. Tampon subscription companies like LOLA offer a subscription plan priced at $10/box for 18 plastic applicator tampons (the same type and count as Athena Club) and Cora offers 18 tampons for $13/box. Other more extravagant boxes, like Hello Flo incorporate add-ons like chocolate or underwear in their boxes and can be priced upwards of $40.
And, all of these models are up against long-term, reusable period solutions like Thinx period underwear (which can cost up to $39 for two tampons worth of absorption per use) and plastic menstrual cups like the Diva Cup (which retails for $40.99.)
With so many options, Athena Club presents itself as the cheap, no-fuss solution for women who are through letting periods disrupt their lives.
Updated to reflect seed round funding contributions