April 12, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Menstrual Health Company Wins $40k Westly Prize

Capd Period’s flagship product is the CapdCup, the first menstrual cup customers can use without removing the device from their body

By Keemia Zhang

Capd Period, a sustainable menstrual health company based in Santa Monica, has won the 2023 Westly Prize for $40,000, given to “young social innovators” in California who come up with “innovative solutions to significant global challenges.”

Hannah Wilen, CEO, founded Capd Period with Neil Batya, COO, in January 2022, with a mission to provide health products “designed by women, for women”, Wilen says. Capd Period’s flagship product is the CapdCup, the first menstrual cup customers can use without removing the device from their body.  

Wilen notes that approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded each year – and take 500-800 years to fully decompose in garbage dumps. “One person can dispose around 400 pounds of period packaging in their lifetime”, says the company.

Traditional, reusable menstrual cups made of silicone or latex have long been considered an eco-friendly, easily accessible alternative, but are typically “difficult to use – especially in public.” Wilen says, pointing out that their use of clean water to empty and wash out the device after each use is inconvenient for women in public restrooms and entirely “unfeasible” for women in developing countries. 

Wilen grew up in West Los Angeles, and attended Harvard-Westlake School before studying at Duke University in North Carolina. Wilen attained a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Analytics. After graduation, Wilen “talked to hundreds of women” when conceiving the idea, crafting the prototypes in her own at-home studio with a 3D printer..

As a woman of color, Wilen recalls she was a rarity in the classroom, and often “the only female engineer in a room of male engineers.” She also found that when male investors often found it “difficult to understand ” the plight of women’s menstrual health when it was pitched to them, and often were not familiar with what a menstrual cup was. “There has been little innovation in these spaces, historically.” Wilen states. 

The CapdCup, made of hypoallergenic, medical-grade silicone, works as a normal menstrual cup does, but can be emptied by unscrewing a cap at the bottom while using the restroom for easy use. The cup is reusable for up to 10 years, and lasts for up to 12 hours of continuous wear. CapdCup was also designed specifically for women with heavy periods, who would otherwise have to change their regular cups up to five times a day.

Wilen plans to eventually provide a slate of holistic health products for women’s use, in line with the company’s  “aim to revolutionize” the industry of menstrual care, and desire to “make periods more manageable for women everywhere.” Capd Period, a pending B-corp, also provides educational resources and awareness on their Instagram and Tiktok pages (@CapdPeriod), answering common questions and giving personal care tips to their followers.

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