Carol Smilie tells her unique story on womens periods
Today, I came across The HeatPack Company for the first time, and had one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments when I saw the new Microwaveable Body Wrap with elasticated straps.
One of the main symptoms of a woman’s cycle, has to be the tummy cramps, and nothing eases that pain like a comforting heat pad to cuddle. That’s when I got in touch and was asked to tell our unique story…
It was summer 2011, and we were having a girly chat about life in general, bringing up our four teenage daughters, and how we spent so much time stripping beds and washing sheets, when their monthly cycle arrived unannounced. Annabel went on to relay tales of her early days as a 15yr old rising tennis star, touring the world, and staying with host families, mortified at having to admit she’d marked the sheets in the night. Her mum gave her what she described as “a shower cap with legs” plastic, scratchy sweaty pants to avoid those awkward moments, and to be fair, they did the job, but who wants to wear plastic pants? Add to that, the nightmare of playing tennis in a short white skirt all day, and I looked at her with a renewed sense of admiration.
The world may have moved on in many ways, but women’s cycles, it seems, are still firmly behind closed doors. How can it be that we spend fortunes on pants to make us thin for a night, or gel-filled bras to give us those longed-for curves, yet the one thing we all have to deal with, every month of our adult lives, has never been properly addressed?
Our first port of call, was obviously our own daughters, but let’s face it, most teenage girls are prone to a little exaggeration or are just outright fantasists at the best of times, so we decided to survey 100 teenage girls across three schools, to get some honest feedback. The results were startling.
34% said they leaked every month, that’s high, but what really took us by surprise, was this statistic that stopped us in our tracks. 91% said they were so concerned about the possibility of an ‘accident’ in front of friends, they deliberately avoided sport, sleepovers or light coloured clothing at that time ..... incredible.
From that point on, we knew we were on to something big.
Neither of us had even considered other markets, until, six months after launching, we began to notice lots of our customers were not teenagers or had no daughters. That was when the penny dropped...
Women have busy lives, working, raising a family, but for most of us, there comes a time when we take control of our own health, fitness and well being.
We join a gym, take up running/zumba/golf, and that’s when we realise...ahem! things aren’t quite as they used to be...
Ask any woman on the planet, once she’s had kids, has she ever ventured onto a trampoline?? If so, she only ever did it once. > If you thought periods were taboo, pelvic floor weakness is in another league. Nobody likes to think they’ve reached that stage. It conjures up images of living alone, with lots of cats and smelling faintly of wee...
But the truth is very different. Light stress incontinence, is very common. It may only happen on the third sneeze, blowing your nose too hard and too often, or running for that bus, and although we may laugh, it’s a massive confidence knocker. It’s also not polite conversation, and one of the reasons we have such a huge customer base of 40+ women.
Our third market is new mums. Having a baby isn’t all sweetness and light, the practicalities can bring you back down to earth with a bump. Every woman wants to feel pretty, and cared for especially at a time like that, yet incredibly, most are still taking home from hospital, their little bundle of joy in paper pants or cheap throwaways! Have we learned nothing over the generations?
Three years later, we are now in over 500 stores and are still thrilled to receive letters, almost daily, from customers who tell us DiaryDolls are ‘life-changing’, whose daughters ‘skip to school now’ or who just say a heartfelt ‘thank you’!
We have always believed that women are amazing. We help one another in times of crisis, and share information in a way that men cannot seem to do.
We don’t see it as a weakness to say “help, I don’t know what to do!” because we are all part of a team, and team spirit it what makes us strong.
We’d love you to come and join our team.
Carol Smilie & Annabel Croft xx