"Starting a company is hard. Starting a company that only half the population can truly relate to is even harder. Starting a company surrounding something that no one wants to talk about is f*cking difficult."
Claire Coder isn't your typical 19-year-old and that's what we love about her! After one semester at The Ohio State University, she decided college wasn't for her and left to pursue her passion project, a social enterprise called Aunt Flow. Claire's mission is to create a sustainable solution that provides feminine hygiene products to women in need. People helping people. Period.
Every Ella: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Claire Coder: Grew up in Toledo, Ohio. (Shout out to the 419) After high school I was convinced that college was the only way to success, so I went to The Ohio State University. One semester in as a Comparative Religious Studies major, I decided that college was really not for me. Thus, I dropped out to work on Aunt Flow full time.
You’re in the process of starting your own social enterprise. What is Aunt Flow?
Aunt Flow is a buy-one, give-one subscription box for 100% cotton tampons and pads. Women (and men!) can go online, customize a box of 18 pieces, have it delivered to their doors monthly, and select one of our rotating charities to receive her ‘give-one’ box. Essentially, taking care of your flow, takes care of her flow.
How did you come up with the idea?
I was at a Columbus StartUp weekend November 2015, and all I could think about were my cramps. The period pains reminded me of how my mom would share with me that many of her clients (she is an art therapist) would come to group wearing multiple layers of clothing or plastic bags to stop the flow.
I didn’t understand why women who are living at or below the poverty line had such a hard time getting tampons and pads until I started doing some research.
Feminine hygiene products aren’t covered by WIC or food stamps and many organizations do not have budget line items for the necessary items. I was tired of donating money/tampons, so at the StartUp weekend I pitched the idea to create a sustainable solution to the need. Thus Aunt Flow begun.
Why are you so passionate about this issue?
It sucks to be on my period. My cramps are terrible and I have an ungodly heavy flow. I cannot even imagine what it is like to not have the comfort of a heating pad, or even worse, not having a tampon when Aunt Flow comes to visit. But many women live without either.
I created this social enterprise to provide women the dignity they deserve, lessen the taboo surrounding menstruation, and make sure that we have the comfort and security we need when Aunt Flow is in town.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Starting a company is hard. Starting a company that only half the population can truly relate to is even harder. Starting a company surrounding something that no one wants to talk about is f*cking difficult.
What has been the most rewarding part of launching this new endeavor?
My dream is to be on Ellen and I know that this company will put me in a position to meet her and be on her show.
How can someone get involved or help Aunt Flow?
Stay tuned! Follow us on Insta, Facebook, and Twitter @GoAuntFlow Pre-sales will be launching mid-October so make sure to sign up for our email list on our website to get updates and special deals!
Name one woman who inspires you.
Julie Andrews - I love spoons full of sugar, using made up words, and breaking the rules.
What are your dreams for the future?
I hope that one day, every bathroom in the United States will have tampons and pads and no woman will ever have to shove a dirty sock in her vag to stop the flow. Also, is it too much to mention again that my dream is to be on Ellen?
What do you do for fun?
TALKING ABOUT TAMPONS.
I truly love quizzing guys on how they think a tampon is inserted. Their reactions are priceless. (Check out my YouTube channel. There is a video of me shoving tampons in my mouth.)
What’s one piece of advice you would like to give other girls?
Never EVER start a business simply to make money. Start a business out of passion and the money will come. Accept that you will be challenged and flow forward.