Experience a stress-free period with Riley

It was an idea spurred over a glass of wine that has now turned into a mission to make sanitary products available to all who need it.

Riley, a cork-based sanitary product company was launched in 2021 by three friends: Lauren Duggan, Fiona Parfrey, and Áine Kilkenny.

“We were catching up having a glass of wine at home one evening when one of us got our period. We looked all over the house, every handbag, and coat and even though this happens every month without fail, we couldn’t find tampons or pads.

“This sparked the idea of a subscription service for period care,” says Lauren Duggan, co-founder.

All three founders spent time researching period products, and to their surprise, they were shocked to discover the damage mainstream period products were causing to the environment and women’s bodies.

The company’s mission is to “help create a business that focused on doing good along the journey.”

Four months later, they launched Riley to the market, introducing products with 100% certified organic cotton with no toxins or harmful chemicals as compared to the average sanitary pad, which according to research is made up of 90% plastic. “Our wrapping is also derived from wood pulp and is biodegradable,” says Lauren.

Having a broad range of period products including tampons with and without applicators, pads, and pantyliners in a mix of absorbencies, and reusable applicators that can be used up to 200 times, the female-led company is now thriving, catering to every woman’s individual needs. “Our most popular products online are our fully organic and eco-friendly sanitary pads,” she says.

“According to research, over 90% of women have run out of period products when they needed them; the biggest benefit of our subscription service is that they’ll never be caught off guard,” says Lauren.

With Riley, customers can build their perfect mix of products on the website and have it delivered directly to your doorsteps on a three- or six-month basis.

Customers have the security to pause, skip, or cancel the subscription as and when required.

Lauren says, “We are aware that every person’s experience is different, so we want to build a subscription service as flexible as possible to fit their lives.”

Several forward-thinking businesses in Galway have signed up for Riley’s ‘Business Box’ to provide the products to their employees and customers.

A few of the businesses include Cope Galway, Rent the Runway and Ohh! By Gum. “We love seeing so many businesses sign up to offer free period care in their bathrooms,” she says.

Owner and founder, Sharon Griffin of Ohh! By Gum in Galway shares her experience with signing up with Riley.

The brand was brought to her attention by Lauren, the company’s Digital Marketing Executive, who had seen Riley’s social media advertisements and immediately thought they were a fantastic and healthier alternative for all women.

“We applaud the brand’s efforts in breaking social taboos and speaking out about period care and their fight against period poverty. At Ohh! By Gum, we are consciously striving towards creating a better future for our planet and its people and Riley puts sustainability as one of their core values, which aligns with our values.

“The products are excellent, and the fact that this is a subscription model greatly simplifies things. Being a female-owned business, it is great to be able to support a female Irish business that has a strong commitment to sustainability and women’s health,” says Sharon.

In addition to doing good along the way, they collaborated with charitable organizations in Ireland and abroad, including Positive Period Ireland and an Irish registered charity called Development Pamoja, located in Kenya, to make sanitary products available to everyone.

The co-founders say, “We believe period products are a basic human right, like toilet paper, and everyone should be able to access them.”

In an effort to de-stigmatize the subject, they also sponsored doctor-led visits to schools to educate young girls and boys on menstrual health.

Over 3,500 young students in Kenya have received education from them, and they have donated over 30,000 sanitary products so far.

Lauren says, “It is a milestone we are super proud of as a young business. We can’t wait to continue to grow these partnerships and to continue making an impact in this space.”

“Community is at the heart of Riley, and we want to provide as much educational content to our customers as possible.” Lauren believes the shame associated with periods is what prevents people from talking about them.

With social media being an integral part of building the Riley community, they are now successfully running their company with a following of over 30,000 people online.

Additionally, the company takes the platform to better improvise their service through feedback. They believe in putting the community in the driving seat behind each product development.

Therefore, they take into consideration what the customers like, what they don’t like and what products they would like to see next.

Period poverty is an often ignored, public health crisis. “Across the world, 500 million women and girls currently are impacted by period poverty – that’s two percent of the world’s female population,” she says.

“In Ireland, a recent study showed that six out of ten young women reported feeling shame and embarrassment about their period,” says Lauren.

At Riley, the founders aim to change the stigma by focusing on educating people and opening up the conversation associated with periods.

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