Why Nadya Okamoto started a Gen-Z period care company

Why Nadya Okamoto started a Gen-Z period care company

Can you start by telling me a bit about yourself?
I'm Nadya Okamoto, author of “Period Power: A Manifesto of the Menstrual Movement” and co-founder of August, a lifestyle period care brand aimed at redefining the narrative around menstruation. 

For anyone who isn’t familiar, what is August and why did you start a period care company?
August is a period care brand aiming to redefine the narrative around menstruation to be powerful. We make more comfortable tampons and pads that are available online, at Target and on Amazon

I started August after spending several years working in the period advocacy space as a nonprofit leader (founded period.org when I was 16) and then an author. I felt strongly about the need for a more Gen-Z, value-centric period care brand that included higher quality products. I was also eager to prove out the concept of building a community-inspired period brand, and using the brand to really change culture around periods to be more powerful too. 

You’re known by many on social media as the period fairy, what does that mean to you and how did this alter ego come about?
The Period Fairy came to be at Electric Forest in 2022, which is an annual electronic music festival in Michigan. There’s a video, actually. I was dressed up in my festival wear, and just thought it was a natural moment to sport my pad out in public since I was actually on my period then. I was going around the festival interviewing and talking with people. I spoke to this one little girl (maybe age 5 or 6) and her mom. In the video she asks “why are you the period fairy?” We just went with it, and we haven’t looked back. That original video of her asking has since accumulated millions of views over the last years!

How did you decide to use your personal social platforms to educate and influence your community, in addition to the brand’s platforms?
I started a nonprofit on social media 10 years ago, focused on period education as a means to destigmatize periods. Back then, Instagram was just starting to become a widely used social media platform. I was still mostly on facebook, making posts to engage volunteers around my local area and to try to get in touch with potential donors. Social media has always been something I used to pursue the mission of destigmatizing periods and push forward more period education. In 2021, we launched the brand and it felt like a very natural way to tell the August story.

What would it look like to destigmatize periods?
Destigmatizing periods involves open conversations about menstruation, education about the biological process, and normalization of period products. It would mean that we can have conversations about period equity, where every individual has access to menstrual hygiene products, and push for solutions. It would require representation in media and advertising, portraying periods as a natural, healthy part of life, and not as a taboo subject.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on period sex.
I love seeing the new studies that show it can help alleviate period pain. Personally? It's not for me. I’m not in a sexy mood when I'm on my period. But to each their own!

Any tips for women to be more confident on their periods?
Talk about it with your homies. The more you talk about it, the more I think we all will realize how much we have in common with other menstruators in our lives.

You’ve shared a bit on Tik Tok about having an anxious attachment style. What are some tricks you use to ease your anxious attachment? 
Lean into being alone more - and learning to be alone; and loving to be alone. Also, get a dog lol. 

Do you have a favorite women’s health book?
I'm biased but I would say mine…lol “Period Power,” or “Pleasure Activism” by Adrienne Marie Brown.

What’s your #1 period craving?
Dark chocolate all day, every day.

Our favorite question to ask- what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? 
Sleep more. Stop looking at sleep as a waste of time, it’s not.

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