Aunt Flow Uses Buy-One, Give-One Model To Target Needy Women Nationwide

By Allison Ward
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) 19 year old Claire Coder launched presales last week of “Aunt Flow” her buy-one, give-one subscription service for feminine-hygiene products. For every box of 18 tampons or sanitary pads — customers can choose a mixture of types and absorbencies — “Aunt Flow” donates another box to an organization that serves needy women.

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Attending her first Startup Weekend competition a year ago, Claire Coder couldn’t wait to brainstorm ideas with other budding entrepreneurs.

The young woman’s body had other plans, though.

“I got my period,” said Coder, an Ohio State University freshman at the time. “I couldn’t stop thinking about my cramps.”
The ill-timed — and all-too-familiar — distraction inspired an epiphany of sorts.

“I started thinking about women in poverty. My mom — she’s an art therapist — would talk to me about how a lot of women she worked with wouldn’t have access to” feminine products.

Instead, her mom told her, they would use plastic bags or socks to stop the flow or wear multiple layers of clothing to mask the bleeding.

Why not figure out a way to make tampons or pads available to all women regardless of income?

She had 60 seconds to pitch her green idea that first evening of the “global startup battle,” then build a team from conference-goers to bring her concept to life. Throughout the weekend, she created a name for her business, developed a brand and researched the problem. (Feminine products are not covered by food stamps. Forty-five states tax them. One in seven U.S. women live in poverty.)

By Sunday, Aunt Flow was born — and had snagged second place.

Eleven months later, Coder, now 19, launched presales last week of her buy-one, give-one subscription service for feminine-hygiene products. For every box of 18 tampons or sanitary pads — customers can choose a mixture of types and absorbencies — Aunt Flow donates another box to an organization that serves needy women.

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