Thank you for wanting to learn more about TABOO! We are so excited to share our story with you, and are so grateful to have you on board. Enjoy!
– Eloise Hall & Isobel Marshall (Co-Founders and Co-Directors)
TABOO’s journey began in 2016 when Co-Founders Isobel Marshall and Eloise Hall attended a Bond University leadership conference in the summer before their final year of high school. The girls were left inspired to establish a business that enabled the everyday purchases of Australians to improve the lives of people around the world.
After some brainstorming, Eloise and Isobel decided that there was no better place to do this than in the menstrual hygiene market. Half of all Australians will need sanitary products for a large part of their lives, and they usually need to purchase them every month. In fact, Australians spend $300 million on sanitary products annually – what incredible market power!
Isobel and Eloise then began researching into menstruation practices in the other parts of the world. They were shocked to learn that 30% of girls in developing countries will drop out of school once they start having periods, and that far too many reproductive complications stem from the lack of appropriate menstrual health care and education. At this point they became passionate about the cause, and overwhelmed with a responsibility to use their blessed circumstances to support these women.
After deciding they would sell their own brand of organic cotton pads and tampons – with all profits dedicated to sanitary health projects in developing countries – the world quickly cottoned on to the ideas of these two freshly-graduated teens. In 2017, the concept behind ‘TABOO’ won The City of Unley Fish Tank Competition and a Startup Weekend award. By this point there was enough traction, guidance and opportunity to launch the brand properly.
TABOO then began its work in the community, by connecting with people in schools, churches, and other social groups. Eloise and Isobel spoke about the state of menstrual hygiene in developing countries, as well as what can be done to reduce period poverty and empower women through sanitary care and education. These conversations, which are still integral to TABOO, also help break the taboo on menstruation in Australia.
At the start of 2018, TABOO hosted a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising the $56,000 required to pay for the first order of TABOO Sanitary Products. Eloise and Isobel also travelled to India and Kenya this year, to better understand the menstrual stigma and hygiene challenges in these countries. They spent time with local organisations The Mully Children’s Family and Simama Na Dada, and spoke to many community members, social workers, and menstruating girls and women across the two countries.
Throughout all this time, the team (which now includes nine core volunteers) has worked diligently and passionately to make TABOO Sanitary Products a reality. In August 2019, TABOO released its first batch of organic cotton pads and tampons to the Australian market. The products are now available to buy online here – and 100% of net profits will be dedicated to pre-existing projects that empower women with access to safe sanitary products and menstrual health knowledge. TABOO also facilitates the donation of pads and tampons to disadvantaged women in Australia, which can be purchased here.