The co-founder of DAME, the personal care brand, talks about trending on Twitter, an eBay obsession and winning a design award at the Tate Modern.
Celia left her job at Sotheby’s to co-found a period product subscription service selling disposable products online. It was while doing this, she and her business partner saw first-hand the amount of waste produced by the period product industry. They spotted an opportunity to tackle this problem themselves and launched DAME: a personal care brand for the 21st century.
In March 2018, DAME launched the world’s first reusable tampon applicator called D in a bid to cut down on the 100 billion period products disposed of every year. Their crowdfunding campaign trended globally on twitter and secured backers from over 50 countries. Waitrose launched D and DAME’s organic tampons in all of their UK stores in February 2019. Their future? To turn the entire bathroom green and to create high performance, low-impact alternatives to everyday products.
Here, Celia talks about trending on Twitter, an eBay obsession and winning a design award at the Tate Modern.
My favourite website… eBay - From a young age, I have always been slightly addicted to second hand and vintage goods and therefore eBay is a rabbit hole for me to fall down into. I can lose myself in a vortex of watched items: clothes for me and my kids, furniture, books, presents, pretty much anything. For Christmas, I got my two little nieces beautiful Japanese lacquered boxes which I then filled with loads of vintage costume jewellery for them to have for dressing up. I was mildly obsessed by my mother’s 80s' costume jewellery as a kid. The upside of our cultural obsession with consumerism is that there is much brilliant quality second hand items are out there ready to find a new home. And nine times out of ten, it will be me bidding against you!
My favourite app… Spotify or BBC iPlayer Radio - I walk to work so I am constantly plugged in and listening to something. I find walking incredibly restorative and it’s my time to decompress before hitting the office and the multitude of challenges that present themselves when you’re running a business. I have worked (and walked) my way through a sizeable chunk of the Desert Island Discs back catalogue (I love you Kirsty) and The Documentary on the BBC.
My blog of choice… The Opinion section of Dezeen - It is a great go-to for debate about what’s happening in the world of design and architecture. I studied art and architecture at university and it’s great to see the amazing global innovations happening in these fields. Dezeen also holds a special place in my heart as late last November you would have found me and my co-founder Alec dumbstruck in our seats at the Tate Modern after Dezeen announced that DAME had won their revered design award for D, our reusable tampon applicator. Sitting in that massive room amongst those heavyweight players who are experts in their sector and to hear our name called out (for a tampon, no less) was a moment that I will find hard to forget.
My internet hero... He's not a conventional internet hero but it’s got to be the legend that is David Attenborough. After Blue Planet came out it was incredible to see how the imagery of ocean plastic pollution spread across the internet in such a viral way. It was such a powerful image that caused so many people to wake up and consider their consumption. It definitely opened up doors for us at DAME and facilitated conversations around reusable solutions that would have been much harder before.
My favourite podcasts… I’m only just dipping my toe into podcasts simply because the sheer volume of them is slightly overwhelming. I’ve been getting great recommendations from the team at DAME including Slow Burn with the soporific-voiced Leon Nayfakh about the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. I never fully knew quite what a rotter Clinton was.
My most recent buy online… a Finisterre jumper - For an amazing DAME collaborator who helped link us to a supplier for our zipped travel pouches. It will mean we can get them made with a women’s empowerment programme that teaches women from the slums in Jaipur how to sew and provides them with employment. Finisterre is a great fellow B Corp company who design functional and sustainable clothing for people who love the sea. After a seriously rigorous assessment, we were over the moon to become a B Corp this year, which identifies DAME as a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment with the aim to drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
Book just downloaded/ read… I just finished Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which I loved - When your job is to constantly examine the waste that the world is producing and the negative effect on the planet, the future can sometimes look pretty bleak. Factfulness is Critical Thinking 101 and makes you question the context of everything that is presented to us, and how we can accurately analyse what is happening around us. Bottom line… bad stuff is happening but things are getting better.
Favourite tweeter… I don't have one favourite Tweeter. What I like about Twitter is the way it allows so many different people to get involved in conversations. It's great to see more and more people chiming in on Twitter on subjects relating to periods, including their environmental impact. We couldn't believe it last year when our reusable tampon applicator trended globally on Twitter. It showed that there's a real appetite out there for more choice in the period category. And it's a great step towards starting to normalise periods.
My favourite instagrammer… DAME has forced me to confront the world of Instagram, which up until this point I have avoided like the plague. But a dreamboat friend introduced me to Celeste Barber. And Celeste is gold.
Social media allowed me to meet… all our amazing crowdfunders - When we launched our Kickstarter project in March 2018, we knew we had a product which we were proud of and backed but we had no idea how it would be received by the public. We were blown away by the overwhelming positive response we got. We ended up hitting our thirty-day target on day three and went on to overfund by nearly 300%, being backed by people in over fifty countries. Without all these amazing people, who back you with the knowledge that they are taking a risk on a product that might not be delivered, we would not be where we are today. We have since mailed out all their Ds and these people remain our true champions.
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