loading
drag

This Melbourne wine brand is dedicated to ending period poverty, and I’ll drink to that

IMAGES VIA TIPSY AUNT FLO

Words by Tiffany Forbes

Cheers to that.

For a week each month, I avoid white pants. I become well-acquainted with a hot water bottle and a packet of Ponstan and I leave no prisoner unscathed when it comes to forcing every friend, colleague and co-worker to do the customary ‘skirt check’ every time I find myself getting up from a chair. All in the name of good ol’ menstruation, baby. 

To say having your period is no easy gig would be an understatement, but when I think about how much harder realities like this are for womxn who aren’t afforded the same access to sanitary products and period education as me, it seems I’ve been let off the hook easy. 


Looking for some similarly thought-provoking reads? Subscribe here and we’ll send them straight to your inbox.


When I first hopped on a Zoom call with husband and wife duo Nick and Naomi Holt, I could almost feel their passion radiate through the screen, as they echoed a similar sentiment. The dynamic pair started Tipsy Aunt Flo (TAF) in lockdown last year, a wine brand dedicated to ending period poverty. 

Boasting a range of what they call ‘bloody good’ pinot, bubbles and rosé, the profit-for-purpose business model donates 50 per cent of sales to giving womxn in Africa reusable period cups. 

“When we’re combating the difference in womxn’s equality, it’s really an area where the Western world needs to stand up and do more,” Naomi told me. “If you give these girls a cup that lasts 10 years, they’re able to stop selling their bodies in exchange for sanitary items, so they’re not getting pregnant or missing 50 days of school just because they’re ashamed.” 

While I sat there in awe of their ability to transform a simple idea into a potentially life-changing initiative for hundreds of womxn, I learnt that TAF partners with social enterprise The Cova Project, the intermediary charity involved with directly working with these communities. 

“I really love what The Cova Project does, what their values are and how they go about their charitable work… they are very community-driven and led,’ Naomi explained, after being asked what it was about Cova that piqued her interest. 

“They go into these communities and find out what they need, if it will work for them and then they partner with individuals in the community who can lead the teams, so it really removes the whole ‘white saviour-ness’ of it all and empowers the community.”

The pair recognise there is an abundance of initiatives onshore in Australia that offers similar services such as Share the Dignity, but being a start-up, they wanted to generate the most impact they could with what they had. And for them, the ripple effect these cups have on African communities were the most viable.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Cova Project (@thecovaproject)

Choosing to veer away from pads and tampons and donate reusable sanitary items exclusively was another important aspect for choosing Cova, given the duo’s adamance to avoid “solv[ing] one problem while simultaneously creat[ing] another,” Nick chimed, referring to the waste single-use sanitary items create. 

For a project still in its infancy, having begun during the depths of Melbourne’s second lockdown, TAF has already contributed to the donation of over 150 cups, which is an extraordinary feat. But ending period poverty only makes up half of its trajectory, with the other focused on breaking down barriers associated with period shame through open conversations. 

That’s where the ‘Bleeders Club’ comes in, a segment on TAF’s website that profiles different women and documents the highs, the lows and the downright embarrassing moments that come hand in hand with having a uterus.

“[The Bleeders Club] shows that everyone’s period is different, but at the same time, there’s all similar threads that tie together, which can be especially comforting for young girls,” Naomi said. 

Intrigued to know more, I asked the pair what the future holds for TAF, to which they affectionately refer to as their ‘baby’. Unsurprisingly, like anyone with their level of entrepreneurial passion and dedication, they told me this was simply the beginning for them. 

“The big goal is to replicate this business model with other projects. We really want to show young entrepreneurs how you can create a business where you give back and be socially conscious while still making money,” Naomi beamed. It’s this genuine commitment to giving back that sets TAF apart in a world where profit maximisation often reigns supreme. And who doesn’t love having a glass of wine while supporting an important cause? Pour me another, I say.

You can find Tipsy Aunt Flo at @tipsyauntflo or browse their product range online here.

Lazy Loading