What started as a ladies group chat to find a solution to hiding tampons in the office bathrooms turned into a Pinterest-fueled endeavor to cater to any bathroom emergencies that may come up.
Suggestions included wipes to cater to all staff rather than just tampon-users and a tray to decoratively display items on the toilet, but inspiration came to me with the suggestion of a three-tier cart, which would provide enough real estate to hold more than tampons and wipes.
Office bathroom emergency items vary from company to company. We work in advertising and public relations, which entails regular client meetings and photo shoots on site. Our work also aims to promote healthy social behavior, so opting for environmentally friendly products while also balancing the individual/single-use nature of some products to promote hygiene was key.
Here’s what we collected:
- Tampons – Three sizes organized in a Crazy Susan to cater to every stage of the cycle.
- Pads – Regular absorbency due to the opinion that light pads are even less effective than a few sheets of expertly folded toilet paper and super pads are too noisy to wear during the daytime.
- Wipes – Flushable in cedar scent for their advertised eco-friendly production. I briefly considered Booty Wipes until I thought of clients using our bathrooms and seeing that.
- Mouthwash – Single-serving cardboard packets are available for office use and to take on the go in a purse or briefcase on the way to a meeting.
- Bobby Pins, Hair Ties, and Nail Files – Hair and nail emergencies strike when we are at our weakest.
- Body Lotion – Stress-relieving lavender scent, chosen for the coworkers that send emails after 8PM in mind.
- Deodorant – Aerosol spray is imperative to avoid sharing armpit sweat with your coworkers, and I expect others might make the mistake of buying “natural” deodorants and find halfway through the day that they do not perform as well as their aluminum-containing counterparts.
- Faux Fan – Personal purchase because I am bathroom shy, and I agonize over any sounds I might make in the bathroom, including urinating, passing gas, plastic crinkling from opening a tampon, my shoes squeaking together, and accidentally playing a video with the sound on while I scroll through my phone.
- QR Code – I come from offices where I brought all my own creamer, coffee, snacks, pens, tampons, and deodorant, so joining a company that really takes care of its employees and assuming a role where I am responsible for knowing and anticipating others’ needs has been a significant transition. As our team grows, I imagine others who come from similar backgrounds may not be comfortable enough to express that they want a new brand or product included in our cart. Therefore, the QR code links to an anonymous Google form that emails responses to me immediately to add to my supply orders. I printed out the QR Code and taped it to our cart.
I briefly considered the notion that I took a simple request too far when I drafted a mockup of the three-tier cart to see what size organizing containers could fit and again when I took over the entire conference table to build the cart, unpack my stock, and sort through three boxes of tampons by absorbency.
However, the reviews for my project included the words “work of art.” I felt like they were exaggerations until I went in to behold my project with fresh eyes and considered the impact of a bathroom as a safe space.
We have the luxury to ask our workplace to provide period products, but for others, access to period products may not even be available, which is why we’d like to highlight the following organizations:
- Cora is a company that provides organic and natural period products. For every purchase, Cora gives health education and pads to those in indeed in India, Kenya, and the United States.
- #HappyPeriod focuses on menstrual health education, advocacy, and access for young girls. They have partnered with Rael to provide First Period Kits and all the proceeds go to #HappyPeriod.
- Local shelters need menstrual products. Use this directory to find a shelter near you!
Abigail Najera Acuna serves as the office manager and bookkeeper at SE2. Share your thoughts with her at Abigail@SE2changeforgood.com.