When did you start your business?
Last November we started Dignity through a business accelerator over summer. We saw a piece on the news about sanitary items being a barrier to girls in education in New Zealand and knew a social enterprise model would be a sustainable way to solve this issue. This helped form our buy one give one model of sanitary items in the workplace to empower women and support high school students lacking access to these items.
How do you choose a school receives the sanitary products from you?
There are a few ways schools can receive the items and it's a new process for us to organise as a start up. So far, we have had some high schools reach out to us and also local community leaders that have connected us to high schools in need.
Why did you choose the Organic Initiative as a partner? Was it because their products are environmentally friendly?
For sure! When we were looking for a sanitary item supplier, we had the option to go cheap and buy online. However, it was important to us as a business to use environmentally friendly products that were good for the environment and good for women. Their values aligned really closely with ours and we reached out to them. To our surprise, they called us back and now we have a great partnership that works well for both of us.
Is it a standard for a company to provide sanitary products to female employees?
It should be the new standard, in places like America it's starting to be the norm and a similar trend is happening here. Sanitary items are just like any other office consumable, offices provide coffee and some people don't drink coffee - it's the same concept. Businesses should support their women in the workplace and this is one tangible initiative they can implement easily with great results as we've seen so far.
There is significance to both, the businesses who purchased the sanitary products from you and school girls who receive them. How do you think your business contributes to the businesses? And to school girls?
What we've found with our customers is that it fulfils a silent issue in the workplace that isn't talked about, periods are stigmatised and women have to cope with the issue no matter the circumstances. Businesses providing sanitary items shows that they acknowledge the problem exists.
What is your ultimate goal?
We want Dignity to be in all businesses and high schools in New Zealand, we want all women to have access to sanitary items.