Innovation for us doesn’t always come in the form of eye-opening product design, more than often it comes in the courageous form of change-making. Roz is doing just that with her successful start-up Tsuno; changing the way society talks about sanitary products and donating 50% of her profits to charity while she does it! Partnering with One Girl whilst also making sure her products are made with natural, renewable materials is only the start of why you need to stop and pay attention to Tsuno, period.
Be sure to catch Tsuno at our upcoming Brisbane Finders Keepers next weekend Nov 8-10!
Can you share the story behind Tsuno? What’s your creative background and how long have you been running this amazing social enterprise?
I have been running Tsuno for five and a half years! Woo! That feels good to write. Before Tsuno I was studying Furniture and Industrial Design at uni in Melbourne and also running a small accessories label which I mainly sold at Finders Keepers. Whilst at uni I had a class about social and environmental impact of everyday product design and I got very interested in menstrual health products as a result. I’d never given them much thought before, but this opened up a new world to me, around sustainability, materials, and most importantly women’s empowerment. I looked at the products available on the supermarket shelves and was concerned they were predominantly plastic heavy, the packaging was uninspiring and I felt the companies on the market were still perpetuating the taboo in their advertising. So I decided to do something to address all these issues and Tsuno was born!
Creating conversation around something once-taboo must be empowering! Tell us more about One Girl and how else Tsuno is empowering women?
It is! To begin with, it was such a challenge, not personally, (I got over that pretty quickly) But I did get so many knock backs from traditional media when I launched the business, telling me their audiences didn’t want to hear about periods. Now, thankfully things have changed, thanks to global conversations about the tax on period products, period poverty and believe it or not, Donald Trump- he made a pretty offensive comment about a female journalist being on her period, and it got people talking! Anyway, I got sidetracked…One Girl is the charity that inspired the creation of Tsuno. They send girls to school in Sierra Leone and Uganda and also run a program called Launch Pad- ensuring that adequate sanitary protection is available and affordable to the students and women in the local communities. I was really inspired by their work, the importance it has for sustainable development, and wanted to do more to support them, and in a nutshell, Tsuno was born.
“We donate 50% of our net profits to One Girl from the sale of our natural and organic sanitary products”Tsuno
Along with this, we use our platform to have frank, honest conversations about menstrual health and raise awareness about a huge number of menstrual-related topics- from global initiatives, product innovations, and reproductive health issues. Recently a customer told me that she sought out medical help and was diagnosed with endometriosis after a series of posts we made on social media about the condition, which was great feedback. We also have a number of local charity partners we send our sanitary products to- assisting women experiencing homelessness or seeking asylum in Australia- this is facilitated by us, but really driven by donations of product by our amazing customers, for every two boxes donated online, we add one.
In the spirit of education, is there one film or documentary you think everyone should watch when it comes to periods?
Absolutely! Period. End of Sentence. It’s nice and short and available on Netflix- and, it won an Oscar!
We love that Tsuno brings art and play into its packaging by collaborating with artists! What do you love most about this process and how do you select the artists you work with?
I feel like having an ever-changing, beautiful design on the packaging, in its own small way helps break down the menstruation taboo. I want people to feel unashamed by their periods and sanitary products, and by having something beautiful, this box of pads or tampons is more likely to be put on display rather than hidden in the cupboard. It also encourages the conversation with all the various collaborators to discuss menstruation, which is quite unusual for some of the artists we collaborate with. My first collaboration was with a dear friend I made doing Finders Keepers over eight years ago, Erin Lightfoot. Since then, we have done collaborations with a few more that we have connected with at Finders Keepers, others have approached us, and some we have made contact with! Most notably, the Finders Keepers x Tsuno line up thus far has included Mirador, The Souvenir Society, Andrea Shaw and our current box of overnight pads features Shuh Lee!
Whilst on the topic of Finders Keepers and collaborations, I want to mention another one that was ignited at the market, hehe, ignited. I met Kyla and Marina from Lumen and Luxe and told them about Tsuno, and instantly they wanted to support the business and my mission. Together we developed a special Tsuno x Lumen soy ‘blood’ orange scented candle. From the profits of these candles, they purchase Tsuno sanitary pads for The Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney.
Best way to shake the blues during that time of the month?
Through my time with Tsuno I have been lucky to connect with various menstrual educators/period coaches. I can’t speak highly enough for the education they provide about getting to know how your hormones work, and the reasons why you might be experiencing the blues. Having an understanding can be a real game-changer. Some awesome women to look up if you’re interested include Lucy Peach (My Greatest Period Ever), Claire Baker (Adore your Cycle), And Nikki Gonda (MoonBox). Also, chocolate.