Alyssa Carp: Sage and I have been a part of one another’s lives for a while now, and having honest and vulnerable conversations is something we wholeheartedly value. You can usually find us in a deep and meaningful chat concerning life, sex, relationships, health and very often the stigma surrounding periods! One morning we went for coffee with a friend, who was telling us about subscription-based businesses. After a few hours of chatting, we realised – how great would it be for women to receive a beautiful period pack for their monthly flow? It seemed pretty perfect. A product which was an extension of our friendship, our passion for womanhood, periods and feminism.
Over time, as the business grew, we would always say how we both wished a product existed like this when we first had our periods. We were both quite young, only 12, when we first got our periods. It dawned on us that there would be many girls who would get their periods at a young age and may be quite overwhelmed with what was happening to their bodies. The Blossom Pack seeks to fill this void, and offer young girls a solution to the often-described ‘period first-timer’ dread. It’s a curated service that packages sanitary products and self-care items into a nifty eco-friendly box and delivers them straight to your doorstep.
IRW: It’s an interesting year to be a start-up. How would you describe the past year for the business?
Sage Mellet: An interesting year for sure! Alyssa and I started our year in the US running our Peach Pack subscription model. When Covid-19 hit, we realised that we were going to have to journey our way back home to Australia and continue running the business from here. Although it was disheartening to leave the US – and all the systems we had in place for running Peach Pack – we saw an opportunity in re-engaging with our Australian audience. As our online community is international, people always ask us when our services will be available overseas. As we soon realised that we were going to be back in Australia for longer than we expected, we thought, ‘Why not launch with a new product here?’.
Coming home and launching the new Blossom Pack has genuinely been a silver lining. At the beginning of Covid-19, it was challenging to try to implement positive changes within ourselves and the business. However, one thing we have learned through this journey is that you can’t plan for much; there are always going to be external factors that derail you from your path. Through the launch of this Australian pack, it has taught us that it’s about how you choose to adapt and learn from those curveballs that can enable you to grow and develop in ways that you didn’t think possible. Although this year has had its fair share of ups and downs, it has been essential for the growth of our business.
IRW: What have been some of the lessons you’ve learned when it comes to entering the US market?
SM: Before launching in the US, Alyssa and I spent some time there doing our research. What we noticed is that the subscription market is unparalleled to that in Australia. While living in the US, it was evident that subscribing to online delivery services was more widely accepted and used. Our initial launch in the US proved this point further, as the number of subscribers we acquired overnight were by far more than when we initially launched in Australia.
Being a small fish in a big pond gave us great insight in regard to our competitors. In the US market, the amount of competing online period subscription companies was far more significant. This meant that we had to learn how to differentiate ourselves within the market. We also learned that although there may be increased competition, like-minded people doing similar things enables room for collaboration and support. We had numerous meetings and calls with other businesses in the industry, learning and growing from their help and advice. We hope to implement this as we continue to grow Peach Pack – collaboration is the key to success.
IRW: You decided to shift from a subscription model to a curated experience in Australia. Can you tell me the thinking behind that?
AC: The subscription is still happening in the US, which is exciting. Customers are enjoying the product and rely on their monthly menstrual products. We initially tried the subscription model in Australia when we launched in 2018 but found that consumers were a bit apprehensive about purchasing the product and subscribing.
I think Australian consumers still love going to their local supermarket, having face-to-face interactions when shopping (obviously referring to pre-Covid times). That’s initially why we took the product to the US, as we saw that subscription products were booming over there. So, upon bringing Peach Pack back to Australia, we wanted to tailor the product to fit the market. I think especially with period care products, people want an opportunity to try it out before they subscribe, as it’s such a personal preference for many. This isn’t to say that we won’t offer the Blossom Pack as a subscription in a few months or years, but I think for the time being, this is what suits the product and the market best.
IRW: Tell me about the different brands that you’ve partnered with to create The Blossom Pack. Why did you choose to work with them?
AC: We have been so lucky to partner with such incredible brands for the Blossom Pack. First and foremost, we wanted to include environmentally conscious brands. Peppy Co, Subi and Pana are new brands that we’ve never partnered with before.
We love the Pana Chocolate range and thought it was an absolute necessity to add it into a period care package!
The Subi pimple patch is perfect for younger teens who break out during their time of the month, as well as the nourishing Peppy Co face mask.
We love working with Fluff: they are such a radical and inspiring brand that are making real changes to the beauty industry – plus, they have beautiful products.
Your Tea has beautiful blends for PMS and hormonal support, and we have loved teaming up with them for our US packs as well.
Finally, we have both used TOM Organic ourselves for so long and love their menstrual care range. They have such a great commitment to sustainability, ensuring that our bodies are not contaminated with toxic products.
IRW: There’s a lot happening in the menstrual product sector right now, especially as a lot of women are launching their own businesses in the industry. What are your thoughts on it?
SM: We think it is wonderful! It is great to see like-minded women joining forces to end period taboo and stigma. I believe there is a common misunderstanding with competitors within business. People think that if there are competitors in a market, it is not worth pursuing your idea. However, what Alyssa and I have learned is that competition is healthy. It enables you to differentiate yourself and create a unique brand, but more importantly, it fosters collaboration. We hope to provide support and encouragement to other women who are wanting to enter this space. We have learned so much over the last two years, that it would seem irresponsible not to want to share this knowledge with other like-minded women.
In terms of period products specifically, we think this is awesome! It’s great to see lots of companies emerging that care about the health of their consumers. Increasing the accessibility of organic period products for consumers is essential. As Peach Pack is a curated pack, we hope to collaborate with as many different organic fem care ranges in the market as possible.
IRW: Have you noticed any interesting shifts in customer behaviour since the pandemic hit?
AC: I think consumers are spending a heap of time online, and so e-commerce sites are going gangbusters. People who may have otherwise shopped at their local stores are now turning to online. I also think there is something to be said about consumers now looking for contact-free services. Covid has also fast-tracked this notion of getting products delivered straight to your door, which has been great for many subscription and e-commerce businesses (like ourselves!). Specifically, with Peach Pack, I think people need a little ‘pick-me-up’ at the moment so they have been inclined to purchase the pack as an act of self-care.
IRW: Who is your main customer and what is she looking for when it comes to menstrual products?
SM: We feel fortunate that our consumer base is so widespread. Ultimately, any person with a period is welcome at Peach Pack. However, looking at our demographic on our socials, our primary audience falls in the category of 18 to 24. These girls are looking for a community of empowered females who have vulnerable and honest conversations about what it means to be a woman today. This reflects a lot in our imagery and design on our socials page. Our Blossom Pack, on the other hand, is catered for ‘first timers’, girls who fall between the ages of around 11 and 15. These girls are looking for role models to look up to, as well as knowing they have access to all necessary products to get them through their menstrual cycles. Peach Pack aims to provide all of these girls and women with everything they need to take ownership over their periods.
IRW: I feel like a lot of big brands underestimate young women or don’t understand what they’re actually interested in. Where do you think brands go wrong when it comes to talking to Gen Z customers and young women in general?
AC: I know, right? It’s crazy as there is such a saturated market offering young women so many different products, but I guess the biggest question is if these products are actually speaking to the needs of young girls. I think that’s why Peach Pack is unique, as we are two young girls who live and breathe this reality. We are offering a product that we too would use for ourselves.
With all the havoc and craziness going on in the world, I think Gen Z are quite socially responsible, want to make an impact and generally share a level of care for the world we live in, so I think this needs to be embodied in the big brands we see today. More broadly, Gen Z consumers like knowing that they are purchasing products and aligning themselves with brands that are making a positive impact on the world.
For young women in particular, I think many brands aren’t authentic and lack accurate and genuine female role models. It all comes down to representation. If young girls aren’t able to connect and relate to the brand, to its messages, the people in its campaigns and so on, then that explains why there is a gap in understanding what young girls are interested in. If we aren’t proactively engaging with young girls, representing their needs and wants in the brands’ voices, then, of course, there is going to be a disparity between what young girls actually want from a product and what brands depict.
IRW: What plans do you have for the business in the coming year?
SM: Like mentioned earlier, if there is one thing that we have learned this year is that we can’t control and plan for too much ahead. However, you can definitely create goals and aspire to implement structures that can help you achieve those goals, even when life throws you curveballs (hello, Covid). Learning to adapt and continue on your path, even when external factors enforce themselves on you is essential!
With this in mind, we definitely want to continue growing our Blossom Pack and encouraging thousands of women to celebrate their time of the month. We want to continue providing young women with the resources needed to stay educated and empowered concerning their health and menstruation. We hope to create our own Peach Pack period products one day, as well as to continue growing our amazing community.
IRW: What have you learned about young female consumers since launching the business?
SM: Over the past two years, the amount of knowledge we have acquired from our consumers is exponential. The most outstanding realisation we have had is that our consumers care so much. The ethos and message behind the brand are what our consumers attach themselves too. Female empowerment, sustainability, organic fem care, and education are the main pillars of our company, and to know that our audience engages with us and with these pillars proves to us the deep sense of care our audience has.
It is truly beautiful to have a community of people who believe in the same values as us. We do not take this lightly and hope to continue actualising these values for our female consumers. Although the product itself embodies all of these values, Peach Pack must remain open-armed to those whom even if they do not purchase a Peach Pack, are learning and growing from the other resources/services we offer, through our socials, blog posts and more!
IRW: Up until recently, brands didn’t have different ways of approaching younger and older females when it comes to menstrual products. What are your thoughts on that and how do you approach it?
SM: Since launching in the fem care space, Alyssa and I have noticed a gap in the market. On socials, there are lots of beautiful brands focusing on the stigma around periods; however, these pages are directed to older women who have been experiencing menstruation for years. That is why Alyssa and I initially came up with the Blossom Pack. We wanted to provide young girls with the education and resources needed to understand what exactly is happening to their bodies.
When we ask our audience to share their first-period story, it is evident that a prevailing narrative exists between the majority of women’s first period stories. These narratives include; a) they had no idea what was happening to their body, b) They didn’t know what products to use and c) they felt extremely embarrassed and ashamed.
Alyssa and I felt deeply disheartened by this reality. Menstruation is such an incredible part of a woman’s journey. It enables the continuation of the life cycle to happen, so why did girls feel so ashamed by it? That is why we created our Blossom Pack with the added addition of our Starter Guide. The pack itself includes a curation of fantastic self-care products, so that it encourages these young women to enjoy their period, and show themselves self-love. The Starter Guide explains the ins and outs of what’s happening to their bodies, as well as encourages young girls to celebrate their first period, and smile whenever they look down to find blood in their undies!
This story appeared in the August 2020 issue of Inside Retail Magazine. To receive a print copy, click here.