Helen, what inspired you to develop Lady Days?
Many years ago, cough 21yrs, after the birth of my son. I developed an infection and found disposables intolerable. So, I used some flannels instead which was so much more comfortable and soon discovered they were more absorbent than even the maternity disposable pads I had.
Once I began to feel better and was more settled into my new mummy role I started hunting for alternative.
Back then online shopping wasn’t what it was today and I really struggled to find anything. I eventually found a menstrual cup and some white liners. I used them for years successfully but it came to a point where I need new ones and yet again I was just coming across plain white ones.
That’s when I decided I was going to and try make my own. My mum gave me her vintage sewing machine, which is still in my loft, and I set to making my own pads.
I never intended to start a business but found that friends were asking for my pads and loving them. It took over 2yrs of research and development to finally have a pad that I thought was good enough to sell.
I was working full time but circumstances at home meant I need to be home more to support my son. That was the moment that I thought right, let’s see if I can do this. There’s got to be more people out there like me who can benefit for using cloth.
That was 8 years ago now.
Did you have experience of running a business before setting up Lady Days
Well, my working background is in retail management. Although I had not run my own business before I had picked up some valuable skills from my previous employers.
This meant I had a good understanding of keeping figures, setting targets, keeping organised accounts etc so I felt like I had the tools I needed to get started and would learn a lot on my journey.
What is the best thing about running your own business? What have you found challenging?
There are so many best things. I love that I’m home for my family as my studio is the garage which we converted 3yrs ago. But I love meeting lovely customers online and having chats with them. I get to talk so intimately with them and they trust me to help them with their needs.
The most challenging thing for me is the technical side of business. Social media, website engineering, digital design etc. I do absolutely everything myself so have had to learn a lot of new skills over the years. Honestly if you told me 9yrs ago that I would be coding a website and designing fabrics and packing I would never had believed it. But here I am doing exactly that and still learning new skills.
Can you tell us why Lady Days are the way forward for period hygiene?
Cloth alternatives are a world of difference to disposables. Where programmed into thinking that pads should be white, discarded in the trash and hidden away like a dirty secret.
But what we’re not told is that to get those pads so white and sterile looking, they are bleached. This process leaves chemicals and dioxins in the products. Those chemicals draw the blood from your body which can increase blood flow and as a result increase cramping.
Cloth pads do not contain those nasty harsh chemicals and in a large number of cases, people find their periods get lighter and shorter after making the switch. Because of the special fabrics I use my cloth pads are more absorbent than disposable pads and people are shocked at just how much they do hold.
I’ve spent many years testing fabrics and building relationships with suppliers so that my pads are made with only the best fabrics.
Cloth pads and period pants are so comfortable you really will forget your wear them. Non of those sticky bits to get stuck, because let’s face it, nobody likes pube snagage right?!
Once you have enough reusable products to last you a cycle your set. No running out of products and having to dash to the shops. So perfect for peri menopause when you never know when you may start a period, this is me right now. I keep a little pad pod in my bag with a couple of pads in it so I don’t worry.
And they look great! You can have a cloth pad in a little pad wrapper in your bag and no one would know.
How can using Lady Days help the environment?
Lady Days are reusable, yes, your going to bleed on that pretty fabric and then wash it. But that’s ok, it’s just our own bodily fluids, no different than if we bled on a pair of underwear. We wouldn’t throw them away, they would get washed.
1 Lady Days pad or pair of period pants can replace 250+ disposables. That’s a huge saving for our environment. Even when a Lady Days pad has come to the end of its life, which can be 5yrs or more, it can be broken down and recycled with other fabric waste.
It makes so much sense. Our beautiful planet is choking in plastic waste we owe it to do what we can to reduce our use of single use plastics. Ditching disposable sanitary products is a great way to help.
Can you talk us through your range?
Sure, so my main products are cloth menstrual pads that I make in a variety of shapes, sizes and absorbencies. So there’s something to suit everyone.
I make period pants that are the most comfortable pants ever! They have a built in pad in them so if you come on unexpectedly your covered. They are also great for those little leaks we sometimes get.
I have developed an accessories range that compliment cloth pads greatly like reusable wipes and wet bags that are great for storing your reusables in.
I also make, breast pads and cloth nappies as part of my Baby Days brand. The baby to Lady Days.
All my products are hand made by me in my little studio in Yorkshire. It’s really important for me to produce all my products and not be tempted to import them.
When I need things like business cards and packaging I source them from local businesses where possible or nationally if available locally.
We really need to be mindful of where and how the products we buy are made and support our British industry.
For more information about Helen’s products please visit her Lady Days website