Menstrual cups may seem to be all of the rage now (and even more so with the pandemic). But, the truth of the matter is they’ve been around for a long time. Robyn shares some light on the origins of the beloved Menstrual cup.
With menstrual cups arguably never being more popular than they are right now, one might think that they are a fairly new invention. But the first cup was actually invented in 1867 predating pads by a decade, though it never made it to market.
Over 150 years later, menstrual cups are more mainstream and having a bit of a moment in the media and on social channels. But studies suggest that only 11-33 percent of women surveyed were familiar with what menstrual cups are—which means we still have a lot of work to do. Regardless, we believe it is important to know where you’ve come from to know where you are headed. So we thought we would take a little trip down menstruation memory lane to share a brief history of menstrual cups.
American actress Leona Chalmers invented the modern menstrual cup in 1937—one that closely resembles the options we see today. Her patented belt-free, invisible creation made from rubber revolutionised the lives of women around the world. Sadly, a few years later all of the raw rubber material was diverted to supply World War II needs so Chalmers was forced to shut her business down. Luckily, after the war Chalmers sold the rights to her design to a man named Robert P. Oreck, who launched a new menstrual cup company, Tassette, Inc. in 1959.
During the late 50s uttering the words menstruation or vagina in ads was strictly prohibited so bringing the cup to market and capturing new consumers was no easy task. Oreck however was a clever man with vision and decided to launch an awareness campaign. He sent cups to nurses nationwide in return he asked that they recommend the menstrual cup to women looking for menstrual health products. Can anyone say vintage influencer campaign? Not much has changed in that department since then, right?
Similar to first-time users with today’s cups, women in the 50s were uncomfortable with emptying their menstrual fluids from the cup and cleaning it. Women back then also didn’t have the internet to find answers to their questions and to tap into the vast network of online communities to get support.
To capture the women who were uncomfortable with the reusable cup concept (or already had a reusable cup and wasn’t in the market for anything else) and to compete in the disposable menstrual health product category, Oreck launched Tassaway, a disposable menstrual cup. Unfortunately, Tassette Inc. shut its door in the 70s and cup users everywhere suddenly were without options.
After a twenty-year absence in the market, menstrual cups became available again starting with the brand The Keeper in 1987, which is still around to this day. It wasn’t too long afterwards that a growing number of brands saw the opportunity to step up and offer women medical-grade silicone menstrual cups that reduce environmental waste and provide safer menstruation hygiene options to women worldwide.
We launched Hello Cup in 2017. After trying another brand’s menstrual cup and finding the whole paradigm shift ‘life changing’ we never wanted to go back to tampons. But, we knew there was still plenty of room for improvement especially when it came to comfort and reliability, which is why we started this journey.
From the outset we wanted Hello Cup to be the best menstrual cup on the market, but at the same time we wanted it to be a fun and kind business. Above and beyond making the cup comfortable we also wanted to start a conversation around why cups were an amazing period option in an engaging way. Like the evolution of the menstrual cup itself, starting the brand has been a journey. We are so excited that you are on it with us.
*Photo credit: Ceshona.wordpress