New Series Alert: Behind the Brand
Behind the Brand is a new series on Luna Beauty UK. This series consists of interviews of female founders. After meeting in a female-centric Facebook group, Jette and I decided to collaborate on this lovely interview. Reading about Jette and her brand, ilo, is a perfect way to celebrate International Womens’ Day.
Introduction by Jette
Jette is a full time mum and entrepreneur. Recently moved to Singapore with her fiancé and baby girl, Molly; she spends most of her days either with Molly in the pool or writing about periods and all things menstrual health. Having moved from Ireland where she was a stylist and photographer, Jette has found her true passion – helping those with a period get back in tune with their bodies and menstrual cycles whilst fighting period poverty and the shame that comes with having a period. You can find her on instagram at @ilo.women or her personal account @jettevirdi as well as hosting guided meditations and female empowerment circles around the world.
1. What is ilo and when does it launch?
ilo is a 100% organic cotton sanitary subscription service and we launch on International Women’s Day – worldwide! It’s been quite a while in the making but I’m so excited to say I made it. I’ve had so much support and love along the way. We’ve been open for pre-orders for a little while and have had orders coming through. However, Friday 8th March is the official date!
2. What inspired you to launch on International Womens Day?
It just seemed the perfect time to be honest! I know that not only women bleed but in our menstrual society the majority are still cisgender women so it made perfect sense.
2. What was the inspiration behind your brand + the name?
The reason I founded ilo was because after I had my daughter in 2018 I had a kinda freak out moment. Raising a girl in todays world seems really really scary with the social media, body shaming etc and somehow I came onto the topic of menstruation and the more research I did, the more it broke my heart. Mainstream sanitary products are loaded with known carcinogens, toxins and recent research has linked the use of them to endometriosis, fertility and immune system issues yet it’s a completely unregulated industry and there is so little education around periods and menstrual health.
At any one time over 8hundred million women are bleeding and yet the education surrounding periods and menstrual health is so lacking, not just for girls and women but for boys and men.
The more research I did the more I wanted to change how the world was being taught to view periods so that Molly, my daughter, and any other child growing up in todays world didn’t feel shame or embarrassment about periods.
The name took so long to come up with! But it’s actually Finnish for joy and in the UK, people often call their period their joy so I kinda liked the play on words plus, if you really know your menstrual cycle and health then your period can be a joy!
4. Where are you launching and how can international customers buy your products?
We’re launching online and in a few shops around the world. The best place to get your subscription is via our website www.ilolove.com. You can get a cheeky discount just for Luna Beauty UK readers by using the code “ILOIAM”.
We’re so excited as we’ve had such great feedback already and have had so many shops and companies interested in stocking our products. I suppose because we’ve also totally re-shaped the packaging so rather than pinks and blues and skinny white girls in white jeans riding a bike we’ve gone for some great zeitgeist style patterns.
5. Do you have any plans on expanding your range?
YES! absolutely. There’s so much about the period world and menstrual health that people are so unaware of. We have some supporting products already – 4 different essential oil blends to help regulate hormones, anxiety and ease cramps or aching and then there are our Salt Soaks specifically for PMS symptoms that you can use in the bath or for your feet.
We’ll be launching our Period Journal soon too which is really exciting as it’s not just a tracker – it’s really designed to get you back in touch with your body, then we’re also working on a heat pack that’s re-usable and eco friendly!
6. I see that you’re donating a percentage of profits to help fight period poverty, can you explain why?
The reason I wanted to make ilo a social enterprise company is because I’ve got to the stage in my life where if I don’t make the world the type of place I want to be or I want my daughter to grow up in, Ive realised that no one else is going to do that for us. There are so many scary scary thing happening in the world and I want it to be a better place for all of us.
Not just for the super rich or the really really poor. For everyone, equal. So many girls around the world suffer from period poverty and miss school or their jobs because they can’t afford menstrual products. For me, safe and non toxic menstrual products should be available for everyone so that’s why I decided to donate profits to help fight this really unnecessary evil.
7. Can you explain why we should all be looking to switch our menstrual products to organic and non toxic.
As I mentioned above, mainstream sanitary/menstrual products are completely unregulated and by that I mean, x, y and z could use bleach, round up weed killer, mercury for example in their sanitary products and that is fine! There are no laws against this. Mainstream sanitary products use mainstream grown cotton which is full of weedkiller and chemicals it’s been sprayed with to keep it weed free.
All of those chemicals aren’t lost during the manufacturing process and your vagina is THE most absorbent part of your body so, if you worry about eating organic or skincare etc and not thinking about the sanitary products you’re putting up or near the most absorbent part of your body, I hate to be the one to tell you but you’re getting a dose of chemicals month after month for about 40 years. It’s really scary.
Recent research has shown a major link between fertility issues, immune system diseases and problems like endometriosis. The other thing about using organic cotton is that it’s also biodegradable. over 100 billion sanitary products get thrown away globally a year, most of which can’t be recycled and we all know the issues with climate change and plastic pollution. It said that we’ll use roughly 10,000 menstrual items during our period life which is a lot of tampons, applicators and wrappers. If we could reduce that or just change what we use to something that’s biodegradable it would make such a difference!