Hi, my name is Roz Campbell and here is an example of a typical conversation I have most days, drawn by my friend Phoebe.
Or something along those lines.
I have had thousands of happy customers since starting Tsuno back in 2014, however this very common conversation has made me realise it is time to branch out and make Tsuno better. My dream is for Tsuno to provide every person who menstruates with an option that suits them and their own needs, and creating a range of 100% organic cotton, biodegradable tampons is my next step to reaching this goal.
Why does Tsuno exist?
If you would like to learn more about Tsuno and why I started it, please head to this page. A quick run down is that I learnt about girls in Sierra Leone who weren't attending school regularly because when they got their periods they had no efficient or hygienic means to manage it, instead resorting to rags, newspaper, kitchen sponges, leaves and even bark. I was absolutely shocked and wanted to do something more. Around the same time as part of my Industrial Design degree I was researching the materials that make up most mainstream sanitary products on the market and was shocked again at how much plastic was involved, all of which ending up in landfill for hundreds of years after only a couple of hours use.
I decided to put all this shock into action and see if I could fundraise enough for a shipping container of sustainable bamboo fibre sanitary pads back in 2014 to launch a social enterprise. I needed $40 000 to buy the minimum order from the manufacturers and in May 2014 with the help of over 1000 generous humans who believed in my idea, it was made possible.
Where is Tsuno at now?
I run Tsuno by myself with occassional help from my gorgeous friends. After two years of selling pads I have finally sold all the pads from that first shipping container, and have successfully made enough money to buy another full container! The business is finally financially sustainable, I have a Victorian distributor who is selling the pads to independant grocery stores and supermarkets. I have a healthy number of subscribers who have signed up to receive product delivered regularly. I've almost hit 5000 orders with my online store. Through a combination of generous public donations and matching by Tsuno over 10 000 boxes of pads have been donated to local charities helping homeless women, victims of domestic violence and women seeking asylum via Share the Dignity, The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Essentials for Women SA.
This campaign is open to people in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Last financial year I donated $4323 to The International Women's Development Agency and One Girl. A small figure, but one that I am extremely proud of, and excited to see grow as Tsuno grows in the future.
In the next few months Tsuno will be available nationally in the United Kingdom after securing two national distributors there. I also am lucky to have recently found a distributor in the small and beautiful European country, Slovenia.
Speaking of Slovenia, that brings me back to the tampons. About 20km away from my Slovenian distributors headquarters is a tampon factory, the second biggest producer of private label tampons in Europe. Earlier this year I visited them to see the factory in action.
I have been planning and working on this for almost 6 months now. My application with the Therapuetic Goods Administration has been approved and now I am legally allowed to sell tampons, considered a medical device, in Australia.
So, here we are, I have negotiated with the manufacturer to allow me to purchase a considerably smaller quantity of organic cotton tampons than their normal minimum order, however as mentioned by the talking Scottish Vagina in the tampaign video, the cost associated with purchasing and getting to Australia is $45000, not the kind of money Tsuno has got lying around for a rainy tampon buying day.
The product is pretty simple, digital (no plastic applicators) 100% organic cotton tampons. The core is organic cotton and the cord is organic cotton. The tampons are biodegradable and have been listed on the Australian Therapuetic Goods Administration Registry.
The tampons come in three absorbency sizes, in Australia known as mini (suitable for light flow), regular (suitable for regular flow), and super (suitable for heavy flow). Please choose the lowest absorbency required for your needs.
There are 16 tampons per box, in either mini, regular or super sizes. Each box also comes with an important leaflet with instructions for how to insert, safe use and warnings about Toxic Shock Syndrome.
I have chosen organic cotton tampons certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as opposed to conventional cotton or synthetic rayon ones because of the environmental and social impact of these materials. Although conventional cotton is only grown on 2.5% of the world’s agricultural land, it consumes 16% of all the insecticides and 6,8% of all herbicides used worldwide. The health and well being of the farmers, communities and environment involved in growing this cotton is important to me. If you'd like to know more about this choice please get in touch and I can give you more information.
Similar to the Tsuno pad packaging, the boxes will feature the work of different artists and designers with each order I make. Subject to this crowd funding tampaign being successful, I am very lucky to have Andrea Shaw and Eloise Rapp involved in designing the first patterns for the Tsuno Tampon boxes. Here are some examples of their beautiful work.
Pledge Reward Options
There are 8 different pledge options:
$5- no reward choice - a token thank you shout out on social media.
$7- two boxes of tampons (16 per box) donated to one of the charities distributing to homeless women and asylum seeking women in Australia.
$20- 3 boxes of tampons for you, or someone you care about! (16 per box)
$40- 6 boxes of tampons for you, or someone you care about! (16 per box)
$60- 9 boxes of tampons for you, or someone you care about! (16 per box)
$100- a short personalised rap sung for you by the vagina in the tampaign video, digital file emailed to you.
$178- Retailer pack- 36 boxes of tampons (12 per size, 16 per box)
$300- Your very own vagina costume- go on, this is a wardrobe staple.
How The Funds Will Be Used
I'm lucky to already have the business basics like warehousing, insurance, wages etc all accounted for with Tsuno pads, so it's just about getting the tampons made and sent, and paying any Government fees and taxes, organic certification, pozible fees and a payment for the two artists involved.
Here's an approximate break down of how the money is going to be used.
Tampons and packaging- $30446
Freight to Melbourne- $2200
Organic Certification- $1754
GST and duties on imports- $2000
GST on sales (I know right!? Hello government, when will you recognise sanitary items as a basic need and make them GST free?)- $4500
Pozible fees- $1800
TGA fees, barcode fees, stripe transaction fees- $1500
Artist fees- $800
I'm lucky that I have gone through the process of a large crowd funding campaign of this nature before, with Tsuno pads, so I have cautiously tried to account for anything that could go wrong based on my previous experience.
I have visited the factory in Slovenia and ensured that the product is legally allowed to be sold in Australia with the Therapuetic Goods Administration registration before launching. This will hopefully reduce any delays with getting the product delivered after successfully reaching the target.
I am confident the product is great, the factory are specialists in tampon production and relied on by some of the biggest retailers and brands in the world.
I have logistics down pat after personally sending over 7000 packages myself over the last two years, Tsuno also has accounts with Australia Post and Sendle for deliveries to be made safely and quickly once the product arrives.
Tsuno already has Public and Liability Insurance, warehouse and shipping insurance in place which will cover the tampons, so if any unforeseen circumstances occur, we are suitably insured.
A very special thank you must go out to a few amazing people who have helped get this Tampaign happening.
-Hannah Malarski aka 'The Scottish Vagina'. At relatively late notice I contacted Hannah from Bagabus Inc after stumbling across her hillarious videos on Instagram. She met with me enthusiastically wanting to help, came up with a concept, script, acted in and edited the final footage for the video. She has also offered to make up some personal raps for some special Pozible rewards. Absolutely blown away by her generosity and talent.
- Michael Lanzer for filming the video.
-Dominic Billings for helping me wade through all the rules and regulations related to selling tampons in Australia, helping with the TGA certification process and costing and budgeting this project with me.
-Jack Richardson from Bagabus Inc for help with video editing.
-Phoebe Baker for drawing the little comic at the start of this campaign.