Launched in 1993 by Madeleine Shaw, Lunapads—known for its eco-friendly, body-positive, reusable menstrual products—is a local, women-owned and operated business with both a local and global impact. A certified B Corp since 2012, Lunapads won the Small Business BC Community Impact Award in 2013, and has been a LOCO BC member for two years. Lunapads is driven by a social mission to:
1.Enable women to develop more positive and informed relationships to both their bodies and the Earth;
2.Empower girls and women, both locally and globally; and
3.Create a product that is sustainably responsible and supports girls’ and women’s wellness.
Lunapads makes a difference globally through its One4Her and Pads4Girls programs and as a shareholder in AFRIPads, a Ugandan-based social enterprise. Closer to home, business partners Madeleine and Suzanne provide an empowering work environment for their employees, take steps to partner with as many local suppliers and manufacturers as possible, and fulfill their mission to empower girls and women through their G-Day events (for girls) and by mentoring local women entrepreneurs.
Question: Lunapads is a shareholder in AFRIPads, a Ugandan-based social enterprise that supports locally-based manufacturing and distribution of reusable menstrual pads; a model that reflects Lunapads’ business practices. Could you tell us a little bit about Lunapads’ commitment to local manufacturing, here in Vancouver?
Answer: Ninety-five percent of our proprietary products are manufactured (designing, cutting and sewing the pads) right here in East Vancouver by local garment manufacturers that are family-run businesses. We did have one or two manufacturers outside of BC, but we’ve noticed that the quality is much better when we work with local manufacturers. Overall, 70% of the products available for retail through our website are either local made or sourced from local owned companies.
Question: Tell us a bit about your sustainable materials sourcing.
Answer: Lunapads and Lunapanties are primarily made from sustainable fabrics or natural fabrics like cotton. However, since cotton is not grown here, we cannot source this material locally. But, we do try to buy from local owned businesses that source cotton abroad. 44% of our raw materials are sourced from local owned businesses. All our packaging is made from renewable resources or 100% recycled content and sourced from local owned businesses.
Question: You both volunteer as mentors, providing local business women with leads, contacts, and advice. Can you share how mentoring creates local impact?
Answer: A couple of years ago (2012), Madeleine mentored a physiotherapist (Laura Patrick) who specialized in physiotherapy for kids. At the time, Laura had just one clinic in Vancouver; she’s grown her business to include two additional clinics in Surrey and North Vancouver. Laura won the Small Business BC Community Impact Award in 2012, and was awarded the Best New Business 2014 award by the Surrey Board of Trade Excellence Awards.
Question: What about Lunapads’ business model and philosophy sets it apart from other employers in the city?
Answer: In addition to our pad donation program and being a strongly mission-based company, we offer a flexible work schedule for all of our employees (we let them set their own hours) and we fully support and encourage our employees to show up as their authentic selves and express their personal values. We also provide a health trust fund that employees can draw on for whatever healing modality best suits their needs.
Article by: Susan Chambers, author of Small Business, Big Change: A Microentrepreneur’s Guide to Social Responsibility