When it comes to period care, the common tampons and pads that stock drugstore shelves across the globe leave a lot to be desired. They can be awkward, wasteful, downright expensive, and all-too-often ineffective. So, four years ago, when renowned celebrity stylist Karla Welch's teen, Clem, first got their period, Welch set out to change all that. This week, she and her friend, Gangs of Kosmos Creative Director Sasha Markov, launched The Period Company, a new period underwear brand founded on the principle of innovation — something the period care industry hasn't really seen much of since the tampon was invented in the '30s.
"The story [about periods] that has been handed down through generations is vile and it's time to rewrite it," Welch tells InStyle via email. "Our biggest goal is to rid the planet of period waste and to join the legions of period-proud people changing the prescribed narrative."
Period. aims to be waste-free, leak-free, affordable, non-toxic, and sustainable underwear for all. The six styles dropped this week for women and tweens also include adaptable styles and trans boxers. They start at $12 a pair and go up to size XXXL. "If anything, Sasha and I are brand experts. We believe in our mission and our product and we know how to tell the story," Welch says. "And, we know it’s not about us — it’s about all of us."
Welch did work with Clem in the development stages of the brand, which was a pretty funny experience for them both. "It was hilarious because [Clem] held no punches on what worked and what didn’t," Welch says. "For them, it was about not having to overly deal with it to be honest. And now when Clem gets their period, it’s not a big ordeal."
Welch feels hopeful when she looks to younger generations that they will embrace this new product as an overall better product for them as well as for the planet. "I think young people are amazing," she says. "I think this generation of kids isn’t going to accept mass brands telling them these are their [only] options. And they know from the get-go that disposables are not good for the planet."
Aside from its eco-friendly foundation, Welch and Markov also set out to make sure their product is affordable. And they've pledged to go the extra mile by paying the taxes for everyone buying their products in states that impose "period taxes" or luxury taxes on period care products. "No person should have to pay tax for having their periods," Welch says. "That’s 'malarky.' "
The founders have also hired a Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sade Imeokpariav, to make sure their brand is more regulated than any other on the market. "You know, Sasha and I have had our periods for 32 years each; we are both at the end of it," Welch says. "We both say if we had this product, how different it would be."