Pack of the Month: Nix Menstruation Stigmas with nixit, Period
by Casha Doemland on 03/28/2019 | 4 Minute Read
“We know females get periods,” begins Danielle McWaters, founder and creative at Designsake Studio. "But do we really know periods?”
It’s question McWaters stumbled upon when nixit, a company founded by Rachael Newton, strived to bring a revolutionary menstrual cup to the market with Designsake Studio’s help. nixit not only delivers a one-size-fits-all cup but provides 12-hour worry-free protection while simultaneously eliminating waste.
"As a studio that is owned and operated by females, the subject of menstruation was familiar but surprisingly, still uncomfortable," begins McWaters. "We all shared our individual experiences and attitudes on the subject – from the products we use and our education on the subject to our embarrassing stories that still panged us to talk about. We were truly shocked by how little we knew about what actually happens during our menstruation, our anatomy and the economic and social impacts our periods have on our livelihood."
At the end of the initial conversation, they discovered their goals for the project were to bring a fresh approach to so-called "gross" products, rid of tired gender cues like flowers, swirls, hearts and shades of pink, and instead highlight the many benefits of using a menstrual cup. They resolved to use bold colors, clean typography and premium finishes with straight forward messaging.
Founder, Rachael Newton, named the product ‘nixit’ because of where the cup sits, in the vaginal fornix. The brand name also represents the idea that people can finally nix all the frustrating, stress-inducing and stigmatizing experiences offered by traditional period products. Hence the company’s tagline, ‘nix worry, nix plastic, nix strings, nix leaks, nix stigmas. nixit. Period.
“nixit gives it to females straight because they can handle it,” Waters adds.
From there, they dug into the research behind periods and period care, which proved difficult as they realized much of the female experience is absent from the historical record – this raised some serious eyebrows. Why should something biological, that individuals with vaginas don't choose to have, be so hush-hush throughout history?
"We also found there was a general desire for transparency around period products," starts McWaters. "To this day, a tube of mascara or a bottle of shampoo has to come with a list of ingredients, but not a box of tampons. Many females are searching for eco-friendly and health conscious period care.”
nixit delivers on all fronts, starting with the non-porous medical grade silicone that resists bacteria, unlike tampons which create a breeding ground. Additionally, menstrual cups can be cleaned and sanitized in between periods and are built to last for years, thus saving your wallet a good $1,773 on tampons and $443.33 on panty liners in your life while simultaneously reducing the amount of waste that's undoubtedly accumulating in a landfill.
If you want specifics, the average female uses 11,000 disposable sanitary products in her lifetime, all of which takes approximately 500 years to decompose. That's a whole lot of waste for those trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, whereas you can reuse a menstrual cup.
Despite all of those benefits, McWaters saw that individuals were still uncomfortable with the menstrual cup because of the interaction involved with it– from inserting the cup to taking it out and dealing with all of the blood.
“We also discovered that most females still feel ill-educated and shame on the subject of menstruation. Menstruation is a necessary biological function experienced by half of the global population yet we continue to conceal its existence,” states McWaters.
When it came time to design the packaging, once again bold and straightforward messaging discussing what nixit is made of, why a stigma exists around menstruation, the benefits of the cup (which were listed above) and the cost and environmental savings were all vital to being featured on the side panels of the packaging.
"nixit is a premium and trustworthy brand, and the box reflects that," says McWaters. "We made the tray removable so consumers could repurpose the box if desired, while the circle element on the front communicates the unique shape of the one-size fits all menstrual cup. We also blew up the word 'period' on the other side of the panel in an effort to normalize a word that continues to stir and shame, and that's also considered dirty in many countries."
Guess what? Putting the word "period" in big bold letters isn't something you commonly see on menstrual products as they try to conceal the tampons and pads in the box behind vibrant colors and florals. nixit takes a step up and is moving towards a way that normalizes periods. Why shouldn't they? People with periods and crampy ovaries didn't choose the menstruation life, the menstruation life chose them.
“I urge designers who are designing for menstrual products to remember that design’s battle with stigma around period continues,” says McWaters. “Even so, I would suggest using your craft to create an intelligent, intentional design that destigmatizes periods, creates progress and opens a dialogue around a subject that is still culturally taboo.”