Three years ago, Tracy Puhl joined the GladRags team as a customer service representative. Now, at just 26 years old, Tracy owns Portland-based GladRags and runs it with a team of awesome ladies who are dedicated to showing women how simple, environmentally friendly and even fun it can be to switch to reusables. In her free time, Tracy enjoys spending time with her family, reading, knitting, and volunteering in the community. The Mothering team caught up with Tracy and asked her about what got her into reusables and her insider tips.
Q: What got you into reusable menstrual products? How did your business develop?
Like many women, when I first heard about reusable menstrual products, I thought “That’s a nice thing to do for the environment, but it’s definitely not for me.” When I finally decided to give reusables a shot, I actually kept a blog about my experiences! You can read my Moon Cup diary here. Clearly, I quickly became a convert for life!
GladRags was founded in 1993, inspired by the cloth diapering movement. After all, if you choose the comfort, health, and environmental benefits of cloth for your child, why wouldn’t you choose it for yourself? I became involved with GladRags about five years ago through my former employer. I joined the GladRags team and eventually took over the company just a year and a half ago! You can read more about the staff of GladRags here.
GladRags continues to grow from its humble roots as a home-based business. We have a nationwide (even international!) presence, but we’re still committed to our motto: safe, simple, smart, period. Our mission is to empower women and positively transform menstruation through changing how women feel during their periods by providing high quality sustainable and reusable menstrual products. And we couldn’t do it without women who aren’t afraid to try new things and have conversations about “unconventional” things!
Q: What are the specific benefits of using cloth pads and reusables?
Reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups are just as obviously better as cloth diapers, but so many fewer people know about them. Reusable cloth menstrual products are:
SAFE: Cloth pads and menstrual cups are safer and more comfortable than disposables. It’s amazing how much better cotton feels than plastic or even “cloth-like cotton,” as you sometimes read on ‘sposies. If you wouldn’t dream of disposables for your child, why would you inflict them on your own body?
Our products here at Glad Rags don’t have the crazy chemical gels, plastics, or adhesives found in disposable items, and they’re registered with the FDA for safety. GladRags cloth pads are made from soft natural cotton, including organic cotton grown in the USA.
SIMPLE: I don’t have time for complicated routines, so we make our products simple and intuitive. Our cloth products are as easy to use as disposables. Not only is snapping a pad around your underwear or inserting a cup just as easy as sticking on a plastic pad or inserting a tampon, travel with cloth products is simple as well. Cups wash out fast on the go (you can empty and reinsert in public restrooms – no need to leave the stall!); used pads can be tucked into a handy wetbag for transport home. Later, soak the pads in cold water to take out stains and just throw them in the laundry, no special care needed. They can go in the washer with your other clothes!
SMART: Reusable products are good for the environment and for your pocketbook. The average woman uses up to 16,000 disposable pads, tampons, and pantyliners in her lifetime. Think of all that material in the trash (or washed up on the beach, yuck) — and then add in all the chemical waste generated by the manufacturing process! GladRags cloth pads are made to last for five years or more, plus we keep our packaging minimal (and recycleable/compostable) to cut down on waste even more!
Q: How much money will I really be saving by switching to reusables?
Like cloth diapers, reusables are an initial investment that pay off over time. You should expect to make back your initial investment in the first year at the longest, and many of our customers report savings of over 500 (so far)! We continue to hear from women who are still using our original cloth pads from the early 90s — they will last you that long!
This blog post is sponsored by GladRags.
About Jennifer Ockelmann
Jennifer works with Huddler.com, Mothering’s Advertising Representative, where she acts as a liaison between Mothering.com and our sponsors. She was raised by an attachment parent and is passionate about showcasing sponsors who match the values of the community. Jennifer grew up in California, and she loves swing dancing, Spanish food and the beach. She can be reached at Jennifer@Mothering.com.