British sustainable period brand, DAME has used the current global crisis to not only rethink their business model but taken the opportunity to do even more good in the world.
When the team realised that the limits in place during lockdown exposed a fragile supply chain, they needed to think fast and come up with an alternative.
Unable to source the travel wallets from its usual women’s empowerment charity in India due to strict COVID-19 restrictions or its zips from Japan, DAME found themselves with a bag-shaped hole in their supply chain and had 3 challenges to overcome: DESIGN – how to hold the applicator and organic tampons in a zip-free pouch whilst still looking good; MANUFACTURING – how to get the bag made in the UK at a price that was sustainable to the business and MATERIALS – how to find natural breathable materials that aligned with the DAME ethical and sustainable values.
They are delighted to launch the Let’s Stitch Together program, using waste fabrics sewn by prison inmates from Fine Cell Work. They employ inmates, mostly men, to stitch soft furnishings and provide an apprentice scheme for them once they leave prison, which often leads to long term employment. Sewing is seen as purposeful activity for the prison workforce and the work they create brings context in the world beyond prison walls.
With the sewers in place, the materials were next and two homegrown domestic cloth making companies answered the DAME appeal; with the stunningly crafted Claire de Quénetain and the team at de le Cuona both provided several rolls of surplus fabric.
DAME co-founder Alec Mills says, “We needed to rethink how our popular wallets were made, so we put a call out to our amazing DAME community. Much to our delight, a small army of sewing machine owners came to our rescue, and with it the introduction to Fine Cell Work. The reoffending rate amongst its post-prison trainees is only 3% compared with a national average of 48%. We’re proud to help support such an amazing organisation. Plus, by using waste material and localising our supply chain, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint of our bags by 87%. We are now working on a way to make this a more permanent solution, Covid has forced us to look at the way we do things differently, and for the better”
Believing that all women deserve quality period products that don’t destroy the planet, DAME is working to clean up the period industry from plastic waste, harsh chemicals and period shame. Founders Celia Pool and Alec Mills launched D, the world’s first reusable tampon applicator, on Kickstarter in March 2018. Their campaign generated huge traction, exceeding its target in just 4 days, with backers from over 50 countries. Since then, DAME has saved over 300 million pieces of plastic, secured nationwide listings in Waitrose and Boots, and won a host of awards including a Dezeen Design Award and Business Green Leaders ‘Small Business of the Year’. DAME is proud to be a registered B Corp, demonstrating its commitment to using business as a force for good. B Corps are businesses that meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
For more information, visit www.wearedame.co