The Aussie entrepreneur changing the lives of women around the world, one tampon at a time

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Roslyn Campbell has made successful steps toward changing the feminine hygiene industry over the past few years through the introduction of her brand, Tsuno.

Feminine hygiene is a luxury many people take for granted. The reality is, women in 3rd world countries either don’t have access to the same products Australians do, or they simply can’t afford them. Girls are forced to improvise, using rags, newspaper, kitchen sponges, leaves and even tree bark.

Deciding to attack the problems she had identified at their roots, Roslyn created Tsuno.

I didn’t ever dream of being a sanitary product sales person when I was younger (every little girls dream right?), but when I heard about this issue, I just couldn’t forget it. I thought about it for months. I come from a design background and I get excited by finding solutions to problems, and I just decided I could do something to try to help. I don’t think it is necessarily just the ‘sanitary product’ industry, but a greater focus on business in general, how they are run, and what the priorities should be. We should be putting the interests of people and planet over profits, and that’s what I love about this new social enterprise movement,” said Campbell.

Tsuno is a feminine hygiene social enterprise that aims to be eco-friendly, organic, biodegradable and sustainable, whilst also helping change the lives of women around the world by providing them with basic sanitary products.

They have just launched their ‘Break The Cycle’ campaign.

“I was approached by two lovely ladies, Natalie James and Emma Haarburger from Fiction Film Company telling me they loved what I was doing and asked if I would be open to them making me an ad free of charge. How could I refuse an offer like that?! We sat down together and brainstormed what message I wanted to say, and it basically came down to the reason I started Tsuno which was learning about the fact that millions of girls were suffering from lack of affordable, accessible sanitary products, and for many it was affecting their ability to stay in school. We talked about some ‘bad pad ads’ and also discussed the gender imbalance in the film industry, so I thought it would be great if we could try to create an ad made of a completely female team, not to exclude anybody, but just to see if it could be done. Made by women, for women, to help women,” explained Campbell.

img_0206The idea behind Tsuno came after Roslyn discovered the ‘menstrual cup’ in Europe 4 years ago, and decided to research more into feminine hygiene products. Through her research, Roslyn identified a two-part problem with current sanitary products.

Firstly, she was shocked to discover how much plastic and other harmful chemicals were used to create every-day tampons and pads.

Secondly, she was saddened to learn about girls in Sierra Leone, who were not able to attend school regularly (missing up to 20% of the school year) due to having no efficient or hygienic means to manage menstruation.

Tsuno currently stocks only pads made from natural bamboo, meaning no harsh chemicals are needed to process it. The products are all individually wrapped in biodegradable sleeves, and packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes. She is currently researching how to make the existing pads 100% biodegradable (at this stage, the bottom layer is a breathable polyethylene film to ensure the pad is leak proof.) All of Tsuno products are packaged in boxes with beautiful designs created by local artists.

Tsuno donates 50% of net profits from the sale of their pads to charities helping to empower women in the developing world. Tsuno is currently working in partnership with the non profit One Girl, who give girls access to education in Sierra Leone and Uganda, and run an amazing menstrual hygiene program called Launch Pad. Tsuno is changing the game and it is so important that women are becoming more and more educated on the topic and understanding how lucky we really are.

tsuno_ros-4Not willing to stop there, Roslyn also decided Tsuno would support charities closer to home, here in Australia. In the last year, more than 10 000 boxes of pads have been donated and matched by Tsuno to Share the Dignity, The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Essentials for Women South Australia.

She encourages everyone to get involved and consider how they can support businesses that are doing their bit to change the world.

It’s really simple, we all buy things, and there are so many social enterprises out there offering either an eco friendly, or socially conscious (or both) alternative. From beer that funds Great Barrier Reef protection, to muesli that funds food aid, to sanitary products that fund girls education(yay Tsuno!). These businesses are all out there and wanting customers, so make your consumer dollar count!”

Having made a successful impact over the past 2 years, including acquiring stockists in multiple parts of the world, Roslyn has decided to expand Tsuno in the hopes of being able to reach and help more people.

At the moment she is running a campaign on Pozible to crowdfund the cost of a first shipment of 100% organic, biodegradable cotton fibre tampons.

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