Meet Alec and Celia, co-founders of DAME. They’re making sustainable periods possible, and you could say their brand is having a moment.
We were fans the minute we found out about the original Kickstarter campaign to fund their re-usable tampon applicator. So, we invited Alec and Celia to The Studio and asked them everything, from how they came up with the idea for DAME to their plans for the future.
"We want to improve the world we live in and women’s health, and get future generations of women feeling more confident about themselves."
We’ve loved the concept of DAME right from the start. Where did the idea come from?
We used to sell period subscription boxes to thousands of women in the U.K. Every month we’d pack up tampons, pads, and liners, but noticed the enormous waste from these everyday products. We sold re-usables but no-one was buying them.
We dug a little deeper and learned that the leap from tampons to current reusable options was too big - women were not ready (or unable) to use them - so we decided to tackle the problem ourselves.
DAME is a brand for the millions of women who use tampons, but want to stick to their environmentally friendly, plastic free, and organic values. We’re reimagining water bottles and coffee cups - it’s about time we rethought this vital area of our lives.
You had huge buzz around your Kickstarter campaign. What has been difficult about crowdfunding?
Being a female product in crowdfunding is tough. Typically, crowdfunding audiences are men in their 20’s from California, so we found we had to work extra hard to get our message out there. Getting to the 70/80% funded mark in the campaign is all uphill, then from there you just let it go and see what happens. It was Day 4 of the 30-day campaign when we suddenly trended on Twitter, our Kickstarter exploded and we went on to hit our target that same night. It was crazy.
Celia wears The Thirty. Photo credit: Hanah Young.
What keeps you going through these challenges?
The belief in what we’re doing keeps the momentum, and doing it as a pair helps during the challenging times. When we had to write the script for our film, and film and edit it all in a week, it really sped things up having two of us. Creating a world first also helps, it gets people geed up.
How have people reacted to DAME?
Very positively, it’s been incredible. We’ve trended on Twitter, had videos go viral on Facebook with millions of views, been covered in 100 press articles, pre-ordered in 50 countries, and approached by a major UK retailer asking to take us nationwide… it’s been pretty nuts!
Alec and Celia inspect The Fifty. Photo credit: Hanah Young.
We’re always talking about ‘progress’ at Heist. What does that word mean to you?
We think progress can be split into short-term commercial goals, and longer-term goals. Short term, we want to get as many women switching to Ds as possible - each one saves up to 12,000 pieces of plastic going to landfill, so has very direct results. Our longer-term goals are to improve the world we live in and women’s health, and to get future generations of women feeling more confident about themselves and their outlook.
So what’s your ultimate goal with DAME?
To keep innovating. We want to improve everyday products by making them more beautiful, better working, and more environmentally friendly. To provide the level of quality we’re all used to, but without the compromise. Tampons are just the start...
Alec puts our waistband to the test. Photo credit: Hanah Young.
Alec, tell us about another game-changer – a person, a concept out there that you love...
We’re loving the guys at Skipping Rock Labs who are making packaging disappear with their edible, seaweed-based water spheres.
Celia, tell us about Heist – how do you feel in Heist?
I feel like I could kick down a door, do a pirouette, and make my children breakfast all at the same time. They’re very comfortable and very strong all at once. I love that they don’t have that disposable feel too.
If there’s one item of underwear you could change, what would it be?
Celia: Bras - I want one that is simple, stylish and fits me like a glove.Alec: Boxers - give me a pair of Heist tights any day.
What can we do to support you during the next 24 hours before your Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign ends?
Our mission is to replace single-use plastic applicators, improve the quality of tampons, and give women more environmental choice with their period products. The more pre-sales we get the higher the impact of our mission, so we’d love it if Heist fans could support us (and get 10% off!) here.
When you’re on the move:
…what song keeps you motivated?
Alec: Graceland by Paul Simon.
Celia: Right now, Prickly Pear by Portico Quartet, because it’s just pared down happiness.
…are you an early riser?
Alec: Night Owl (unless there’s a little person wriggling into my bed at 6am).
Celia: Early riser. I can’t snooze as my brain switches on the moment I wake up.
…do you jump straight in, or create a plan first?
A&C: We both jump straight into a plan.
…what do you always have on you?
A&C: DAME tampons. Our friends know we’re on the DAME case 24/7, so we get asked a lot for tampons in emergencies.
…what does your diary look like?
Alec: Recently it’s started to look like Joseph’s technicoloured dreamcoat…
…on Instagram, who do you scroll to?
Alec: Niche ocean photographers and bronze sculptors. I said niche.
…what book do you take?
Alec: Note books for sketching and scribbling, although we’ve both become quite obsessed with Dyson’s autobiography.
Celia: And Agassi’s which is weird as not really an autobiography person but fell deep into both of those.
…who or what do you miss?
Alec: Desks! We’ve been in between offices for 2 months now as we’re about to upgrade, and cafe life ain’t good for long backs…
Celia: My kids but generally we’re too busy having fun working on DAME to be thinking about much else.
Hero image photo credit: Hanah Young.