Three Cork women have launched an amazing new business offering an eco-friendly period product subscription service.
We Are Riley was started by the all female founding team of Aine Kilkenny, Fiona Parfrey and Lauren Duggan.
The company was founded on the belief that people deserved a positive, sustainable solution to their period that also fits their lifestyle.
An idea conceived in the throes of the pandemic, Riley’s mission is to ensure their period products do as little damage to our environment as possible by bringing periods into the 21st century.
Riley was born in front of an open fire as Aine, Fiona, and Lauren were catching up following a long lockdown.
In a wine fuelled conversation about the period product industry, the three friends realised that no one was going to change things for them, and that they were going to have to do it for themselves.
Having never intended to go into business together, they left that night with the hint of an idea that would become Riley.
The average sanitary pad today has an approximate plastic content of 90%. That means these products can live on for 500 years as waste after their brief usefulness has passed.
The average woman will use 11,000 non-recyclable tampons in the course of her lifetime, equivalent to 5,500 plastic bags. Aine, Fiona, and Lauren believe there is a better way.
Riley is a subscription service for eco-friendly sanitary products. On their website www.weareriley.com you can pick from a variety of boxes to suit your needs which will be delivered through your letterbox on a monthly or quarterly basis.
All of their products are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which means there are no added chemicals or toxins.
The majority of their packaging is compostable, and the applicators on their tampons are bio-based and made from sustainable sugar cane.
In the coming months, Aine, Fiona, and Lauren plan to expand their product offering and create jobs in Ireland as they scale.
Self-funded for now, the team have said they may explore outside investment opportunities in time.
Lauren Duggan, Riley co-founder said: “If people can make the switch to reusable coffee cups, cotton pads, and even electric cars, why can’t we switch to eco-friendly period products?
“Periods are a given in life but our experience of them is not uniform. We wanted to create a product that changed the conversation around periods, that was a clarion call for higher standards around the products billions of people use every month, demonstrating that we can do periods better.”
Fiona Parfrey, Riley co-founder said: “It’s high time people don’t feel guilty about the environmental impact their period is having.We want people to be proud of their period and to do it their way. Our menstrual cycle is the most natural thing in the world and the products we use to facilitate it should reflect that.”
Claire Hunt, Homeless Period Ireland commented: ‘It’s fantastic to see the launch of Riley, an Irish based and female founded company who are fighting against period plastic and period poverty.
“I hope this will continue to open up the conversation on a normal bodily function so it is no longer seen as shameful or that it should be hidden away. Organisations working together is a major piece of the puzzle towards ending period poverty – Riley are playing their part.’
Riley contributes €1 for every box sold to Irish registered charity Development Pamoja based in Kenya.
This results in them sponsoring a menstruation education programme in 10 local schools and supplying sanitary products offering 1,000 young girls access to basic sanitary products, as well as stocking Development Pamoja’s medical clinics.
Riley’s online store is now open with orders shipped throughout Europe. You can check out their website here.