Tracy Puhl, CEO of GladRags.comHi Tracy, can you tell us a little about your background? Sure! I grew up in the woods of Portland, Oregon, and as a child planned to be a "farmer/artist" (I thought I would paint portraits of my pigs!). Of course, that's not quite how things turned out in the end, but I wouldn't mind living on an urban farm someday.
Brenda Mallory, Founder of GladRags.com
Can you discuss the genesis of GladRags.com? GladRags was founded in 1993 by Brenda Mallory. She was cloth diapering her daughter, and had an aha-moment: "If this is better for my daughter's health and the environment, why am I still using disposables for myself?" She started making cloth menstrual pads, GladRags was born, and has continued to grow from a small spare-bedroom business to the thriving national brand it is today.
Yours seems to be the classic "moving-up-the-ladder" story. Can you tell us a little about it? I had been working with a nonprofit to provide vocational support to adults with developmental disabilities. One of our job sites (since 1999!) was GladRags, where workers came once per week to package products for store shelves. In this way, I got to know Brenda and finally decided to give reusable menstrual products a try! I was immediately sold -- they were environmentally friendly, and far more comfortable than disposable pads and tampons.
After a few years of supervising the packaging crew at GladRags, I decided that while social work made an impact on the lives of individuals, I really wanted to reach people in a more expansive way. I joined the GladRags team and quickly made myself invaluable to the company. When Brenda was ready to move on to pursue her art career (she makes amazing sculptural art), I decided to purchase the company so I could ensure the core values of GladRags were maintained as we continued to grow and empower even more women to make healthier choices.
Why are your customers excited about your products? I think the biggest reason women get excited is that our products change the way women feel about their bodies. Before you try GladRags, your period really feels like "the curse." It feels gross, inconvenient, messy, and embarrassing. Once someone tries cloth pads, her attitude almost instantly changes! You can gain a lot of respect for the natural cycles of your body when you are mindful of its care. Plus, many women never get the chance to talk about periods openly in their regular lives. Using a different kind of product opens up the space for a discussion, which is what needs to happen in order to break down the societal taboos we hold about menstruation and women's bodies. Aside from that, GladRags cloth pads are so much more comfortable, economical, and eco-friendly than their disposable counterparts, so our customers are excited to spread the word!
What do your customers have to say? They can be a talkative bunch (head over to our Facebook page to start a conversation!) but here are a few of my favorite customer-submitted reviews from GladRags.com: "I have been using GladRags exclusively for about 14 years now. I love them! I STILL have the original ones I bought way back then (they really hold up well) and occasionally I order new ones just for fun. If you are on the fence about these or are just not sure if reusable is a good idea, please try them just once! You will be hooked. I can't imagine how I ever used those horrible, smelly, plastic disposable pads before." - Forever User, Oregon
"I love this whole line of pads. They are more comfortable than the disposable, and have fun colors. I would always get sort of chapped from wearing the disposables all day and all night, but these are breathable and soft. I also feel good about being kinder to the environment." - Mrs. Lz, Maine
"I purchased these for myself and my 13 year old daughter. They are very comfortable to wear and give me peace of mind for the safety of my daughter. I don't want her using chemical filled products! These pads are easy to wash and we haven't had any issues with stains. They are wonderfully absorbent and the snap holds them firmly in place. We are very happy with them and we will be using these from now on!" - Mommy RN, Indiana
Where do you see GladRags.com being in 5 years? Even bigger and better! At GladRags, we believe that education leads to empowerment -- whether or not you choose to use cloth pads or a menstrual cup, we want to make sure you know all the facts so you can make an informed, healthy choice that's right for YOU. We also hope to expand the ways we give back to our community and the world in the coming years.
You also carry WishGarden Herbs products. What do you see as the connection? Symptoms like cramps, bloating, or mood swings may be common -- but they're not part of normal, healthy menstruation. There are tons of diet and lifestyle changes that can be made to support your body during your cycle, without the use of over-the-counter drugs or hormonal birth control pills. We believe that WishGarden Herbs products are effective herbal supplements in a woman's journey toward a more comfortable, natural cycle.
How can people get in touch with you? You can give us a call at 800-799-4523 with any questions at all -- nothing is "too much information!" Or you can email email@example.com, live chat us through our website, check out our blog, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.