After a stellar first year in business that has seen small Kiwi menstrual cup start-up The Hello Cup improve the lives of thousands of women, its founders are “incredibly thrilled” to be shortlisted for international mentorship programme SheEO.
Robyn McLean, of Havelock North, said finding out she and business partner Mary Bond had been selected to make the semi-finals with 11 other businesses was a huge thrill. “Being part of the SheEO programme has been a goal of ours since we launched,” she says.
Hello Cups are made in Napier before being distributed nationally and internationally from the company’s Wellington office, which is run by Mary.
The Hello Cup and the other semi-finalists now supply further information to the SheEO female judging panel. From there, a final five are selected and will be eligible for interest-free loans funded by a pool of donated money from leading businesswomen, who then act as “activators” or mentors to the winning businesses.
SheEO is a worldwide initiative that supports female-led businesses in growth and is headed up in New Zealand by philanthropist and former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung. The programme focuses on entrepreneurs who are trying to improve the planet, or provide a product or service that “benefits humanity.”
Mary, a registered nurse, says The Hello Cup fits that description to a tee. “Our mission is to have some fun while producing a product that can make periods more manageable and less expensive. Before launching The Hello Cup, we were staggered to learn about the huge amount of menstrual waste that each woman generates in her lifetime. Not only are single-use sanitary products expensive, but pads and tampons take up to 500 years to break down in landfill, which is pretty horrific from an environmental perspective. A Hello Cup costs $49 and can be used every period for at least five years. That’s a cost of less than a dollar a month.”
Mary and Robyn would love to use the SheEO platform to continue to spread the word about how life-changing cups can be – especially to younger users.
“Our XS cup is ideal for teenagers,” says Robyn. “We’d love support to get our cups into schools, so that young people – if they wish to – can use one from their very first period. It’s our dream that menstrual cups become mainstream within the next few years.”
Even if they don’t make it to the top five, being one of the 12 semi-finalists is “astoundingly cool” says Robyn. “Suddenly, we have access to incredibly skilled female mentors across the globe. It might sound cliché, but we feel like winners already – and it’s just what we needed to help propel the business forward.”
Since launching their product in December 2017, The Hello Cup has gained a large social media following, featured in top magazines and TV programmes, and is for sale in retailers in the USA, UK and Australia.
“The Hello Cup is such a game-changer for any woman who wants to make smarter choices for her body and for the environment. We’re just over the moon that SheEO has given us this opportunity to tell more women who we are and what we are about.”
The Hello Cup is available online at www.thehellocup.com
Photo: Mary Bond (l) Robyn McLean (r) Hello Cup
Posted: 4 February 2019