25 Years of Awesome
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25 Years of Awesome

by Madeleine Shaw
25 Years of Awesome

As some readers may be aware, I retired from my position as Creative Director of Lunapads at the end of 2017, just shy of the 25th anniversary of when I started making the products and launching Lunapads’ predecessor company, everyware designs, in 1993.

After 10 months of being on my own (developing G Day, an event series for girls, as well as launching Nestworks, a family-friendly workspace), I have a different perspective about the company, and could not be more excited about Lunapads’ next chapter.

Looking back on 25 years of these products and their parent companies, more than anything, I am proud.

Proud of being one of the earliest companies making washable menstrual pads and period underwear, back when it was nowhere close to being cool. Back when there was no internet and I literally drove around Vancouver to different stores and conferences selling my wares and walked to the post office with boxes destined for stores across Canada.

Proud of Lunapads’ first tagline - “Your Body. Your World. Your Choice.”: it doesn’t get much more explicitly feminist than that!

Proud of the having the good sense to identify a phenomenal business partner in Suzanne (we met in 1999 and incorporated Lunapads-the-company in 2000), and for the productive, respectful and deeply caring relationship that we enjoy to this day. I am proud of Suzanne’s leadership of the company since 2013, when we evolved from a co-leadership model.

I am proud of the beautiful relationship that we co-created with AFRIpads (again, before social impact was a thing), and of the dozens of other social impact projects and relationships that we devoted untold hours and dollars to supporting.

I am proud of the multiple awards that we have won, of being a Founding Canadian BCorp and a Best For the World company for the past three years running.

I am proud of maintaining our integrity when the market for reusables started to grow - thanks in no small part to our hard-won efforts - and new companies shamelessly capitalized on our ideas, claiming to be the first ones to make reusable products and embrace a progressive attitude towards periods and the people who have them. I will admit that these experiences stung, mostly because it was so shocking to see supposedly “feminist” founders openly ignoring or even dissing other women-owned ventures.

I am proud of our staff who often were the ones to champion change in the company, who were the ones to lead our efforts, particularly when it came to trans inclusion, as early as 2011 - again, before it was cool.

Being a founder is a wonderful, special gift, however in my case it had a limited shelf life. I am an instigator, not a closer, and a lover, not a fighter. Social change has always come first for me, and in the last few years it has become increasingly clear that Lunapads needs to be more business-oriented or risk losing a great deal of our potential.

Part of that business sense was heeding the message that the brand itself needed to change: it was confusing and did not reflect a 21st century aesthetic. When you represent the past, it can make it hard to see the future: if I didn’t have the vision for what this brand needed to be, then I needed to get out of the way for others to bring it to life.

And of course, there are the products. Again, back in the way-way-back days, textile technology was a whole other ballgame. People wore cotton sweats to work out in and things like Spandex and Velcro were just being invented. Of course, as time went by we did take advantage of new fabrics, while maintaining a primary commitment to sustainability.

Having the benefit of having seen what’s coming in terms of the products as well as the brand, I could not be more excited. As a sneak peek, what you will see is leading-edge technology married to sustainable fabrics to deliver superior fit, comfort and efficacy, complemented by gorgeous visuals, delivered by a company deeply rooted in the values of sustainability and feminism.

I hope that our incredible community of customers and supporters will be as thrilled as we are with these changes. To me, the company’s future are like when a treasured friend gets a fantastic new haircut or outfit that looks amazing: they’re still the same wonderful person, just looking even more beautifully expressed.

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