We sat down for coffee with Ash and Emily, the babes behind Reemi Org who are on a mission to change the cycle of period poverty. Cultivating a community of empowered woman to empower the woman who need it most. It’s local, it’s global and you can make a difference. Read more and find out how…
The mission – give us the low down
We create innovative, culturally appropriate and sustainable menstrual products for those without. Plus, we work with local organisations to deliver educational programmes. Our goal is to empower everyone, in all countries!
And how are you going about it?
We're starting in Bangladesh, within the garment industry. Our research showed us that infections were really high inside the factories due to dirty cloth being used. So we're conducting a trial to compare different products we've developed and will measure what is the most effective!
How can we help?
Support our kickstarter campaign! What we've learnt from developing amazing period underwear, we wanted to share it with everyone. But we need help to get into manufacturing. You can also donate, sign up to our insider newsletter and volunteer (especially if you're the gal who is savvy with admin. Hii!). Also, just share us with your friends! We love when our Reemi fam grows.
Talk to us about Reemi Org’s inception how did it all start?
How much time have you got? Haha. It started when we were long-distance friends, having yarns over crackly What's App phone calls. Em was working in Hong Kong as the marketing manager for a non-profit and was sharing about the lack of access to menstrual products in refugee camps and Ash, a registered nurse said, "Okay, we need to go on a research trip and learn more." This was 2017.
How did it go from a dream/idea to present day enterprise?
We booked our leave and had highlighted countries were cultural taboos and lack of access was strong and visited around 10-15 organisations in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. We spent a lot of time listening and talking to find out a) what are the issues people face and b) what are the solutions people want. We found our first partner organisation, Change Associates, through this trip. They are seriously rad. Em moved back to New Zealand at the start of 2018 to dive into this full-time and, wow it's almost been two years!!
Working with your bestie? Perks of the job?
There's a lot of trust and we've definitely had to work hard at that! We really get each other and know what's going on, which makes it easier. And we're both so up for the honest chats - you've gotta have 'em! The best thing is that we both love food and one way we protect our friendship in our hectic schedule is taking a break to explore yum food. Whether that's in Dhaka, HK or Auckland..
Em: I know when Ash is grumpy 99% of the time she needs a good snax.
Ash: And Em just needs space as the resident introvert.
We both hands down see the biggest perk of our job is working in collaboration with so many great humans. Not just saying this, but literally people like the team at Saben. We're big on community and fostering how to do this well. It really gets us going when we see others realise how they can be used to make a genuine difference. Quite honestly, we'd still be talking on the phone about our ideas if it wasn't for the hundreds of people that have chipped in and played a part.
Juggling full time work and Reemi Org – Ash, tell us what motivates you?
Yeah it's a balance I'm still trying to get right! I really love doing both. The ED is often referred to as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, and there are so many factors to this, but you really see the impact on health when there is a focus on preventative care and health education in a community. Reemi feels like a very tangible way to do this!
Emily you’re not one to shy away from addressing global issues how has your experience to date led you here?
Haha! Yeah I really feel that we're much more interconnected globally, than we think we are. I think growing up biracial, as well as having a father who came to NZ as a refugee, continues to shape me. My life is completely different to his and I've always held that privilege with a sense of responsibility.
Steep learning curve, talk to us about the most valuable things you’ve learn in the past few months…
Ha! We both came to the same conclusion! It has 100% been the power of community. We're hustling all day with Reemi and it doesn't feel like we've done that much. But when we step back for the year and see how much we've achieved, we are just so grateful that we've gone so much further, because we have the best humans around us.
Values/ mantras you swear by or new ones you’ll be striving to adopt 2020
Ash: Excellence and doing things well, takes time. Go slow and get it right.
Em: Mine is more basic; Get a work phone, so I can separate my personal / work digital life..
For more from Reemi visit https://www.reemi.org/
Pledge your support here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reemi/self-disinfecting-period-underwear
Spread the word and share their mission @reemi_org
Inspired by the woman who wear them - We chat to Em and Ash about their handbags
Em is constantly on the go - meetings, travel, speaking at conferences and generally living the start-up life! The Taylor bag is perfect for her lifestyle, looking chic and modern while having space for her laptop, documents, product samples, and personal items. Ash juggles Reemi alongside her job as an emergency nurse - so lots of space for changes of clothes, work essentials, and snacks on the go is important. Her Mackenziemakes it all look easy!"