In every Dai’namic Woman post we feature, we interview high-performing, inspiring women not only in their 9-to-5 jobs but also in every aspect of their everyday lives.
Today we're featuring Celia Pool, Co-Founder of DAME, the world's first reusable tampon applicator on a mission to stop plastic waste in feminine care products. DAME also features organic cotton tampons, which are free from toxins and synthetic materials.
Hey! What’s your name?
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
I grew up in the countryside just outside of London and now live in east London in Hackney.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time is a gift right now as I’ve got a small baby and I’m working on DAME, but whenever I can I love to walk. I find it so therapeutic. I can generally be found stomping through the streets of London to and from work. For me it’s a great time to unwind, process the day, chat to friends and family on the phone, listen to music or podcasts and daydream.
Celia wears Shimmy Blouse Black and Collateral Pants Deep Seafoam
What is your journey to your current role and organisation?
I co-founded DAME which has created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator to stop the massive but silent problem of plastic waste in this sector.
We were already working in the menstrual product industry, delivering a range of high street products to women across the UK via a subscription service. But increasingly we couldn’t ignore the waste produced by these products. 100 billion period products are thrown away around the world each year. We knew we had to help bring about change in this industry and fast.
Great reusable menstrual products have existed for decades, but very few people use them. Our research showed it was the significant habit change that was preventing women from switching. So we saw an opportunity to create a sustainable solution that was really easy for people to adopt - particularly for the 60% of UK women who prefer applicator tampons.
After 2 years of careful design, we launched D, our reusable tampon applicator. D works like a normal applicator, but is reusable - providing comfort, without the waste. By switching to a D, a woman can save up to 12,000 disposable applicators from reaching landfill or polluting our oceans.
At DAME, we believe the only way for sustainable alternatives to have true mainstream appeal, and thus ignite meaningful environmental change, is if they are convenient to use, high performing and aspirational. These were the core principles that guided the design of D. The exciting thing is that since we first had the idea for D, the cultural context has shifted - people are waking up to the impact of single-use plastic, and are looking for change. D makes that change really easy.
Celia wears Now and Forever Blouse Ivory Silk 2.0 and Collateral Pants Midnight
What achievement are you most proud of?
Our Kickstarter campaign back in 2018 was a big turning point for us. Up until then it had just been our own belief that people were ready for this change. We scarily had no real proof. Going on Kickstarter was a big decision. It’s nerve-wracking launching a product on such a public platform, but it allowed us to get proof of concept and tap into an audience who was ready and waiting for us. Our timing was very fortunate as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 had aired a couple of months before and suddenly the world’s attention was on businesses who were trying to help people make sustainable changes to their everyday lives. This meant the press attention blew up around us and by day 3 of our campaign we were trending on Twitter. We went on to sell in over 50 countries around the world and ended up overfunding by 300%. The best bit was we now have thousands of amazing backers who we are in contact with the whole time and who can guide on how to build DAME.
Tell us about your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.
Pivoting from the old business was a real challenge. Having to go to our investors and say that we no longer believed in the synthetic single-use products that we were selling and we wanted to design our own was a big thing. We had a lot to prove and we were very lucky that they were so supportive and believed in what we were doing. But it did mean that we had to deliver, and designing a world first product is not a quick thing. It took us 2 years to get it to market and that involved a lot of lean startup tactics and good old fashioned hustling along the way.
What would you tell your younger self, if you could meet her today?
I would probably lock us both in a room for 48 hours as there would be so much I needed to say, not least divulge the outcome of every major global event of the last decades to make her the all-knowledgeable Queen of the World! But, if I was only given a minute, I would say the main thing would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone professionally. Fear of the unknown is paralysing, and I was paralysed for much of my working life in my 20’s. Life is not about standing still. Once you break that habit and start to get a knowledge bank showing you that failure only builds you stronger, then each new decision becomes infinitely easier.
Celia wears Shimmy Blouse Black and Collateral Pants Deep Seafoam
Celia's Dai'namic Style
How would you describe your current dress code and personal style?
Right now it’s crumpled with a hint of baby puke. I am not naturally very good at putting an outfit together but I do have some incredibly stylish friends who guide me. I walk to work so trainers are key, and as I am pretty low maintenance a good tailored jacket is nice to be able to dress things up. It’s important to me that the majority of my clothes are from sustainable brands, eBay or vintage shops to minimise my fashion footprint and reduce the clothing that ends up in landfill. Right now I am living in a YSL bomber jacket that I found on eBay.
What outfit makes you feel totally empowered?
I was just given a beautiful green jumpsuit from my friends which I adore. I love that I can wear it with trainers or dress it up with heels for a wedding. It is the same colour as our brand colours so I do feel a bit like a cheesy ad but I’m rolling with it.
What do you love about Dai?
From a clothing angle, I love Dai's Collateral Pants and Now and Forever Blouse Ivory Silk 2.0. Both feel so comfortable but instantly styled, and great for my busy lifestyle as an entrepreneur with a small baby. From a business angle I love that Dai does small collections of timeless designs in eco-certified fabrics through a responsible supply chain. Walking past traditional high street brands with their mountains of clothes through untraceable and oftentimes chemically unsafe processes on the rails can make you feel nauseous when you consider where it will all end up. We just don’t need that many clothes. Small collections, trusted supply chains, and considered purchases are the way we need to be heading.
Want to learn move about DAME?