Today on thedailypretty.com I chat with Emanui co-founders Paul Lequay and Iga Słowik , all about their 'first of it's kind' portable menstrual cup cleaner that provides a safe and secure solution for period care. Iga and Paul's aim is to disrupt the mensuration industry with a sustainable goal in mind and if their first product is anything to go by it's going to be an amazing journey ahead!
Hello Iga and Paul and welcome to thedailypretty.com! I am super excited to chat to you today all about Emanui. I was so inspired when researching your product, mission and purpose so can't wait to dive in! Let's take it back to the beginning of creating your brand. What inspired the creation of Emanui?
From the start, the inspiration for the Emanui came from a problem that we spotted about menstruation and menstruation management. The social barriers such as the lack of tolerance, education, taboo, fear of mentioning that a person is menstruating… is making the crucial cleaning and sterilisation of the menstrual cup an even more complicated task. For example, when a person has to clean the cup in a common sink in front of everyone, or when boiling a menstrual cup in a kitchen pot at home. In addition to that, when being on-the go, managing the cleaning of the menstrual cup becomes even harder. Hence, we designed Emanui to hygienically take care of the menstrual cup and empower its user, no matter the context. Emanui ensures a lower health risk and bypasses the current barriers of using a menstrual cup away from home.
How did you start to create the concept?
After getting a closer look at the every management of the menstrual cup and its struggles, we looked into designing a portable, simple to use and planet friendly product. We prototyped and co-created our product to both understand the needed functionality, but also make sure to transcend the menstrual taboo and create an empowering tool, both functionally and aesthetically. A product which would make our users proud to use to manage their menstruation.
What were the next steps you took to take Emanui from idea to reality?
Designing this innovative product required to test and optimise the experience to find the most natural, yet efficient process to clean. With 3D printed shapes, clay models, hand-made silicone prototypes to injection molded samples, we found the most appropriate design which suits our usersʼ need and the planet. Designed for recyclability and circularity, Emanui is built for an easy recyclability of its part, and future upgradability in order to serve new customers using different cup menstrual cup shapes, or to optimise Emanuiʼ features.
We love your mission "to break down the taboo surrounding menstruation, promoting the use of menstrual cups and creating a more environmentally conscious company". Let's dive into this further, starting with how Emanui is working to break down the taboo surrounding menstruation?
Our strategy is to normalize the menstruation topic. Our communication aims to talk about menstruation at large. We want to communicate about a positive and tolerance message about menstruation, hence for example, we are collaborating with menstruation activists and influencers. Moreover, we do not want to hide what menstrual blood is, therefore, we are using the different blood colours on our graphics and packaging. Our goal is to promote menstrual cups by giving more comfort of usage when away from home and bringing the comfort of sterilizing in the right product without shame. At last, we believe that by empowering our users (we consider all people who are menstruating, and do not believe that only those who identify as women should be part of this conversation), communicating on inclusive values, we can step by step support the transition towards a more tolerant society.
How is your company more environmentally conscious?
We are looking into our environmental impact from the product and company perspective. If we will look at the product itself. The container in which Emanui is cleaned and sterilised is made of medical-grade silicone (same as the menstrual cup), all the other elements are made with PP (polypropylene) which is very easily recyclable. As a result of that, we were able to create a product which could last as long as your menstrual cup and accompany its user for years to come. We made sure that the construction of Emanui does not require any additional glue. Emanui offers the most eco-friendly solutions to clean your menstrual cup because it uses the minimal amount of water 60 ml vs. “bottle - up to 1 liter” under the tap: 1-2 liters of water. So per cleaning, you can save up on average to 2500% less water than other methods. Moreover, by using Emanui, you wonʼt need to use any disposable wet wipes or cleaning products anymore. From a production perspective, we are producing Emanui in Europe, and make sure to use materials which have not been tested on animals, and never will! Emanui brand is conscious about the planet, hence, in addition to the product contributing to more sustainable behaviours, its packaging is made of FSC certified paper. The minimal size of the packaging reduces the transportation impact. Moreover, biodegradable loosefill packing chips are used inside, and can be dissolved in the water.
The first of its kind, talk us through your reusable menstrual cup cleaner and steriliser - how it works, the benefits and where we can use it?
Emanui is the first cleaner and steriliser on the market because it combines both functions during menstruation, meaning, to clean the cup on-the-go and to sterilise it. Emanui follows you everywhere and with its compact, lightweight format, facilitates the carrying of the cup. Once the cup must be cleaned, its user simply fills up the product, finds a toilet, empties the cup and inserts it in Emanui. Emanui allows bringing the comfort of cleaning menstrual cup at home everywhere you go. It removes the stress of lack of hygiene out of home because it is a closed and self-contained item. This product can finally give full freedom to its user during the menstruation. The main difference between Emanui and other accessories is that it becomes the menstrual companion through and between menstrual cycles because while menstruating you can clean your cup with Emanui, when you need to sterilise your cup you can do it with Emanui and after the period you can safely store your cup.
How do you source your sterilisers?
We decided to produce it with a manufacturer, expert in medical equipment. We wanted to work with someone who has experience in the production of medical silicone. We wanted every part of Emanui to be produced in one country - from the product itself to the packaging, so as to generate as little carbon footprint as possible by putting the product together and packaging. Thatʼs why our production is in Europe to minimise our footprint.
For anyone thinking of making the switch to menstrual cups and using a steriliser, what are some of the benefits to consider?
Menstrual cup is made from medical grade silicone, so compared to pads and tampons, it doesnʼt contain any chemicals in the cotton (it appears that the cotton for pads or tampons contains some harmful chemicals and toxins: like pesticides residues etc.) To compare, tampons absorb the blood which remains in contact with vaginal tissues and can be used for a shorter period of time (3-4 hours). The menstrual cup collects the blood and can be kept for longer time 8-12 hours (depends of the brand). The risk of Toxic Syndrom (TSS) is lower if cleaned regularly and correctly. Easy to keep track of the menstrual blood flow by having a clear indication of the amount and colour every month. Less constrains regarding the frequency of changing the menstrual product, so it gives more freedom to do different activities while you are not close to the toilets. Money wise you can keep cup up to 3-10 years (depends on the brand and care). The cost of the cup around 15 - 35 euro. Cost of one cup equals 5-6 month of cost to by traditional products. During the menstruation in one life one women on period products can spend around 2000 / 3000 euros. Menstrual pads and tampons are disposable cup is reusable - so create way less landfill waste e.g in two years of use cup you would use 528 pads or tampons. Emanui is solving the main menstrual cup challenges like cleaning the cup away of home. You donʼt use public sink to empty your menstrual blood, so the risk of contaminating your cup or the public space is reduced. Using Emanui in public toilets enables the users to do all the steps in privacy and safety because they can stay in the cubical. Also it offer more convenient and faster sterilisation solution - It takes only 3 minutes and kills a lot of harmful bacteria and germs. You can easily sterilise your cup at home, work or your friendʼs house and do not worry anymore about proper hygiene of your menstrual cup.
What do you have planned and what is next for Emanui?
We are trying to increase the brand awareness of Emanui in Europe. And we want to foster the desire to use menstrual cups. We know that some women do not want to switch for cups because they find it difficult to sterilize and clean them, especially in public places. We want to spread the knowledge about menstruation further, continue our efforts to break down the taboo around this topic. And understand the needs of groups that are less involved participants of the discussion: LGBTQ+, people over 50. It is important to us that each project we deal with is considered in terms of its impact on the planet. The last ten years in design have been focused on the people, on the user. Now it is changing, we try not to only put people in the center, but to think about the planet above all.
Where can we find you and connect on Instagram?
You can find us on our website emanui.com as well as on Instagram @sheisemanui. Enjoy 20% off at checkout with "TDP20"!
Thank you for creating an amazing, innovative and high quality product that is helping women all around the world and your message and important work to remove the stigma and social barriers from mensuration. Ladies, be sure to find out more about this amazing brand and get your Emanui sterilizer with 20% off, simply enter "TDP20" at checkout.