Photo: Oi's Co Executive Directors, Bridget Healy and Helen Robinson with the mutual friend that brought them together, Mr Paul Dyson.
How did Oi come about? Bridget Healy is based in Queenstown, she lives with her husband, two children and she is the brains, heart and soul behind Oi. She gave this speech at our recent launch and we'd like to share it with you.
“If I could give anyone some advice wanting to start a business, it would be this: Persevere and give yourself to others, whether it’s your time, experience or expertise. By planting good seeds and nourishing them with kindness, exponential benefits materialise for your own business, in terms of growth and reward. In my view, this is the key to success”.
Hi, I’m Bridget and the birth mother of Oi. Oi, or Organic Initiative, is now well and truly cooked, this baby is out!
Oi is not just a story about periods and tampons, it’s also the story of transparency, of ethics, of business, of women, of health, of our communities and of our world.
Cotton tampons were the brainchild of Dr Earl Hass, a brilliant invention of the 1930's, transforming the lives of millions of women around the world. How we work and how we play.
In the 1980’s tampons and pads ceased being made from cotton, they became wholly synthetic, Not because synthetic products were softer, more comfortable, more absorbent or better for our health, but because they were cheaper, it was a purely commercial decision, synthetics are cheap to produce.
Tampons stopped being about women's health, the industry had one directive, to produce cheaper synthetic products on mass. It was about the bottom line.
Over the years technology and manufacturing processes have advanced to such a degree that synthetics and plastics can mimic anything, even cotton. Most conventional tampons and pads are made from rayon and viscose and contain dyes, bleaches, perfumes and super absorbent materials, all of which have chemical residues from the manufacturing process.
Unfortunately for us there is a loophole, tampons are categorised by the FDA as a 'medical device' because they are worn internally. This means that tampon manufacturing companies are not required by law to disclose the ingredients in their products, this, however, does not extend to pads and panty liners but, even so, the ingredients in these are not disclosed either. This means that we know more about what is in our food, our clothes, our cosmetics and our creams than we know about what we are putting inside our bodies.
We are told by our mothers that we should only wear cotton underwear and cotton close to our skin, this is because cotton is a soft, comfortable and a breathable natural material.So why on earth would we want to put plastics and synthetics in and near our bodies? The vagina is the most absorbent part of our body and close to major organs such as our bowel, ovaries, uterus and bladder.
Women on average will use approximately 12,000 sanitary products in her lifetime, this means that we have long term exposure to unnatural non-disclosed chemicals and synthetics.
How can women make healthier choices if we don't know what our products contain? And it is almost impossible to find out, as it seems to be a heavily guarded secret. Why is this?
Just because companies are not required to disclose their ingredients, doesn't mean they shouldn't. This then becomes an issue about ethics and transparency, about doing the right thing for women and for our health, as most of you will know, plastics never ever break down, so it also about doing the right thing for our environment.
Cotton is one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world, it covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land and uses 16% of the world's insecticides, more than any other single major crop including herbicides, insecticides and defoliants. Chemicals used in the processing of cotton pollutes both the air and surface waters and thereby decreases biodiversity and destroys our fragile ecosystems.
Transparency and vitality have always been very important to me and I knew there had to be a better way, I was deeply compelled to make a difference to women's health and to our world. Oi became the solution to non transparency and to cheap synthetic mass-produced products.
Oi products are made from one ingredient only, 100% certified organic cotton, our pad wrappers are bio-plastic, made from corn-starch, and our applicators are made from cardboard, both of which biodegrade naturally, you may also compost them if you wish. Oi is certified by GOTS and BioGro, New Zealand’s leading voice in organics. Oi is the only company, of it’s kind, in the world to carry the BioGro logo.
No one does this on their own. Oi is a collective effort and an enormous contribution by many, including Helen Robinson, a visionary woman with an enormous heart and soul, the mover and shaker of getting things done! We have an amazing board of women, each wise, courageous and revolutionary and it is a privilege to be part of such a dynamic and soulful team.
As a company we aspire to create a positive impact on people and the environment through awareness and education. We aim to be better for employees, better for customers, better for our communities, shareholders and better for the environment. We measure our results against the positive and holistic impact we have on the world and on others.
Oi is a heart-centred organisation that uses business as a force for good. We aim to continue to create products that are not only the best in the world but are also the best for the world.
Our commitment to human rights extends to our entire supply chain. We listen to our customers and only make products that will have a positive impact on health and well-being.
We guarantee the purity and authenticity of all our products. We promise that we will never use any chemicals or synthetics in any of our products, they will always be reliable, safe and pure.
Our products respect your body and the environment, they are created from a strict ingredient policy, we are committed to education and integrity and we will continue to be activists for change.
Join us, stand up, make a change, use your voice for good. Vulva la revolution! Let’s change the world one organic tampon at a time. This is a revolution of change. We need a critical mass of enlightened thinkers and together we can make it happen.