Gone are the days of holding down a single job for life. Finding work you love is exciting, but making the switch into unknown territory can be daunting. We meet local women who have made the break and changed their careers.
From defence lawyer to owner of Crimson Organic Tampons
What were you doing?
I was a criminal defence lawyer specialising in representing young people aged 13-17 years.
What are you doing now?
I am the founder and owner of Crimson Organic Tampons based in Mount Maunganui. Via our website we sell certified organic cotton tampons which are the safest tampon available. To make women’s lives easier we offer a subscription delivery service so that women only need to sign up once and then tampons are automatically delivered each month. Our tampons are made in Europe, under our own label, using ethically sourced organic cotton from Turkey, and are certified organic independently. Turkey produces the longest cotton fibres which reduce shedding and lower the microbial infection risk, meaning we can make a much safer tampon. Many of our customers suffer from endometriosis and they know our tampons contain no toxins, plastic, synthetics, chemicals, or perfumes (hypoallergenic).
What do you love about your work?
Donating tampons to women in need. We give one for one, so for every order placed we donate a box of tampons. Our recipients include Auckland City Mission, Te Tuinga Whānau Tauranga, and the Nawaka Village medical centre and school in Fiji. Access to period care is a fundamental human right – no
woman should have to choose between food for her family and period products, and no girl should have to stay at home from school because she does not have access to period products. From my experience as a young person’s lawyer I am aware there are many barriers for at-risk teenage girls to attend school. Many of them don’t go to school when they get their period. Some might be lucky if there is soap and toilet paper in their homes, let alone menstrual products. Research shows there is a direct link between missing school and juvenile criminal offending. Working with these young women and seeing their potential often go unrealised through dropping out of education was one of the reasons that motivated me to start Crimson. We have to try to level the playing field for them.
I also love receiving emails from women who tell me our organic cotton tampons have reduced their cramping and irritation. Endometriosis sufferers endure so much pain and I have the utmost respect and empathy for them. We do need to talk more about endometriosis to raise awareness of this debilitating condition.
What did you have to do to make the change?
Upskill on IT, learn about social media marketing, carry out extensive due diligence and industry-specific research, travel to Europe to visit the factory, and basically lots of after-hours work. I talked to lots of women and business people about my business concept and their responses gave me the confidence to proceed. I also employed a housekeeper (life-changing) and asked the family to pick up some of the domestic jobs. The emotional and practical support of my family, particularly my husband and parents, was crucial to me starting the business.
How hard was it to make the leap?
It was really hard to let go of the comfort zone I was in and take a risk with something new when I didn’t know if it would be successful. I was scared of failing, but I realised I had to take the leap and hope the net would appear, otherwise I would always be thinking “what if?” I didn’t want to look back in ten years’ time and regret not being brave enough to do it.
What challenges have you faced?
Like all working mothers – the constant juggle. And prioritising self-care and staying connected to friends. The TO DO list always beckons and seems endless.
What would you say to other women thinking of making a change?
If you’re not happy in your day job or you feel a calling to do something else, those feelings will not go away. Better to chalk a failure up to experience than regret a missed opportunity. Fortune favours the brave.