Senior’s startup business addresses period stigma, wins grand prize
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Menstruation is a common reality for women, but in public, so much as mentioning the word can provoke strong reactions. Senior Jared Aiman’s startup business, Periodically, aims to combat period stigma and make menstrual products more easily accessible.
At Northwestern University’s business program this past summer, Aiman and four other students, three girls and one boy, teamed up and challenged themselves to design a startup business.
Amid the group’s brainstorming, conversation topics ranged from the physical pain of menstrual cramps, with the girls constantly apologizing for the awkwardness in the conversation, to the convenience of the Dollar Shave Club, a company that delivers razors and other men’s grooming products directly to doorsteps.
The group had an epiphany. They decided to combine these two ideas into one service.
“It was a eureka moment,” Aiman said. “We decided to take the marvel of the Dollar Shave Club and apply it to the menstrual cycle.”
Periodically is a subscription-based service for feminine hygiene products with an emphasis on women’s empowerment and changing the conversation that surrounds the menstruation cycle.
Each subscription box costs $9.99 and includes 25 tampons, pads, or a combination of both, as well as a piece of chocolate and an encouraging note.
“We want to eliminate the social stigmas surrounding the menstruation cycle and eliminate the awkwardness people feel when they’re buying tampons or pads or talking about it in public,” Aiman said.
At the closing ceremonies of the summer session, the group pitched their idea to a group of CEOs the program invited.
The CEO of a company called Lead, a non-profit organization that sponsors summer engineering and business programs, invited Aiman’s team to participate in a national business competition hosted by his company.
On Nov. 12, the Periodically team traveled to Atlanta, where they participated in the LEADing for Life Challenge competition. They went up against teams from other college business schools, including those from the University of Pennsylvania and Emory University.
Periodically won first place and received a check of $7,500 for their startup as well as a group of consultants selected by Lead’s CEO, with whom they will frequently meet throughout the spring semester to refine their business plan.
Because the Periodically team is located in different parts of the United States, including Florida, Georgia, Texas and Michigan, it will be difficult for them to pursue the business, but they have decided to tackle this challenge.
“The five of us collectively want to keep our company going once we go to college,” Aiman said.