Mariah Mansvelt moved from the United States to the Netherlands when she was 10-years-old. She later worked for Doctors Without Borders for seven years, holding positions in both the headquarters and out in the field. Due to health issues that led to an overall weakened immune system, she decided to leave Doctors Without Borders, and moved into a social work position. But Mariah still felt as if her life purpose was yet to be discovered. Through a series of events (shared in this week’s podcast), she is now a yoga instructor, mother, and co-founder of YONI. She never imagined she would grow up to own a tampon company, but she found her calling, and is absolutely rocking it.
- YONI was founded in 2014 by Mariah and Wendelien after a shocking realization that there’s no legal requirement for menstruation product companies to list the ingredients used in manufacturing their products
- YONI only uses sustainably-sourced 100% cotton in their products. That’s it. Period.
- YONI is breaking taboos regarding the way we discuss the female body; they’re spreading awareness about the importance of caring about “what’s between your legs”. Their cheeky, authentic, honest approach is empowering and relatable. Have you thought about what’s between your legs?
We all have our own preferences when it comes to dealing with our periods – tampons, pads, menstruation cups, period panties, and so on. Some of these products are inserted directly into the vagina, which is one of the most absorbent areas in the body. For a long time, I never thought to question the materials used to create the menstruation products I was using. I, like so many other women, trusted that companies were using safe materials for such intimate products.
A few years ago, Mariah Mansvelt found herself in the same position: questioning the integrity of the materials used in non-organic tampons. After developing cervical cancer at age 30, her doctor recommended switching to organic tampons to reduce irritation, but she had difficulty finding them anywhere in town except one shop near her home. She and her friend, Wendelien, were curious what the difference was between 100% organic tampons and the brands that dominated the market. They realized they had no way of knowing, as there were no ingredients listed on the packaging.
After more digging, Mariah and Wendelien discovered that not only are there no ingredients on the packaging, but menstruation product companies are not legally required to report the materials used in production. The two of them founded their own company, YONI, which only uses 100% certified cotton, to empower women through sustainably-sourced, ethically produced menstruation products, and by educating women with a playful, authentic, and honest approach to talking about periods and other historically taboo topics related to the female body.
“We believe that every woman should know what she’s putting between her legs. We want to break the taboo, ditch the shame, and start talking about periods properly. We believe it’s time to revolutionise the feminine care industry, and we hope you’ll join us.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Mariah for this week’s podcast episode. She’s a busy mom, yoga instructor, and business owner, and I felt like I could relate to her on a personal level (I was grateful to hear that other moms struggle to accomplish work tasks when their small children are running around the house, like my little one often does).
I hope you get a chance to listen to this interview and learn more about the YONI vision. They have two main goals: 1) Have YONI products on every store shelf worldwide, so that every woman has access to safe, 100% organic products, to help her experience the healthiest cycle possible, and 2) spread awareness about harmful substances found in other menstruation products by sharing their own personal stories and providing information on topics that have been previously labeled as taboo.
Check out their website for product information, their mission, and real, authentic articles about women’s health and bodies. Make sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook, too, and become apart of the YONI movement.
Thank you, Mariah, for coming on the show and sharing YONI with our listeners! I can’t wait to see what you two create next.