From men’s razors to snacks to fishing tackle, there are subscription boxes for just about everything these days.
But for Taran Ghatrora, the inspiration to launch her own subscription box came from a very unlikely source.
“This is going to sound really weird, but it came from a story about gourmet bacon,” said Taran, a third year law student.
She was supposed to be studying. Instead, she was reading an article about a former lawyer, who quit his job to ship bacon. That’s when Taran says she began daydreaming about the kind of monthly service she’d want to subscribe to.
“It just occurred to me that women’s periods happen every month and it’s inconvenient,” said Taran. She and her sister Bunny admit they’re never prepared for their monthly cycles.
“We always find ourselves without pads and tampons,” said Bunny, an accounting student.
So they, along with their friend Jessica Bilmer, a UBC Kinesiology student, began brainstorming. Not too long after, the Ellebox was born.
“This is actually a care kit that you could use and look forward to your period, because you don’t. You just don’t look forward to it,” said Taran, describing a ‘time of the month’ that women the world over often dread.
Customizable boxes deliverable across Canada
Ellebox offers four customizable boxes: comfort, necessities, organic necessities and organic comfort. When signing up for the service, subscribers can time the delivery of the package, so it arrives just before their menstruation begins.
The necessities boxes include tampons or pads, while the comfort boxes includes the subscriber’s choice of feminine hygiene product and panty liners, tea and other curated products.
All of the boxes include chocolate.
“We’re women and we knew what we wanted and what we miss when we’re on our period,” said Bunny.
The comfort boxes include self-care items: face masks, body scrubs and candles, among other things. Some of the companies are American, but most of the products offered are made in British Columbia. The trio all hail from Surrey.
“Part of this is connecting with those local vendors, connecting with small businesses, hearing their story and helping them grow. That’s a big part of why we like to feature small businesses,” said Taran.
East coast, rural communities embrace Ellebox
Taran said they began beta-testing five months ago. They officially launched late January 2016.
The biggest surprise so far? Their customer base.
“We thought it would be women that were busy—women in Toronto, Vancouver—that didn’t have time to go buy these things,” said Bilmer. “But it’s more so women in rural communities that don’t have access to these things and it’s hard to go out when it’s freezing outside.”
While they didn’t focus their marketing in places such as Yellowknife and Thunder Bay, they say that’s where they’ve been seeing the most interest.
“Even Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland—very small communities. Even a lot of northern places throughout BC and Alberta,” said Bunny.
The boxes range in price from $12-$35. Shipping is $5 nationwide. Partial proceeds from every purchase goes towards purchasing feminine hygiene products for local food banks.
“We want to reduce the stigma,” said Taran, adding that women are still reluctant to even talk about their period.
“Almost every woman has it for 30 or 40 years and it doesn’t have to be something that we’re ashamed of,” said Bunny.