I recently purchased my own set of 3 Wuka period pants as 1) I had been thinking about how annoying and uncomfortable wearing tampons and pads were 2) the environmental impact of these were starting to grate on me 3) I had a catastrophic situation at work recently that resulted in a leak that was totally embarrassing and completely avoidable. I’ve only used them for one period but I loved them. They were super comfy and most importantly they didn’t leak and I didn’t smell. If you didn’t already know WUKA is a multi-award winning reusable period underwear brand. Their products are leak free, hygienic and make your periods super comfortable – plus they are an eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. What’s not to love.
Find out how Ruby came up with this innovative and inspiring idea, how they work and what new stuff she has planned to tackle the taboo around menstruation.
How did the eureka moment happen with WUKA?
It was when I was telling a room full of 16 years old about the most embarrassing moment of my life: this was when the sari rags that I used for my period fell out of my underwear when I was serving at basketball. And it was in a team of boys vs girls. Everyone on both teams just stared at the ground. It was only then, years later talking to those girls that I realised that if my pads had been sewn into the underwear I would never have had that awkward moment. So on my way back after the session, I got a second hand sewing machine and started making my own period pants.
What were you doing before you started WUKA?
I was working on a small project that I managed to secure through a Sainsbury’s food waste campaign. I taught more than 3000 children about food waste and its impact on health, environment and our pocket. During the project every school managed to reduce more than 60% of food waste at school. It was a mega success.
WUKA stands for wake-up kick ass I love this. How did you come up with this name?
Periods have always had negative connotations. It’s a physical pain (literally); social pain (taboos); mental and emotional pain (hormonal imbalance), and now an environmental pain (huge waste from our periods). But above all we women are freaking amazing and periods have never stopped us from achieving our dreams, desires and passions. WUKA was created to break all taboos and barriers, an empowering brand that resonates with women and gives that boost of confidence we need.
Tell us more about the pants – How do they work, why are they so brilliant and why we all need to try them.
WUKA is your complete tampon and pad replacement, wear it up to 8 hours depending on your flow.
- WUKA is made up of 4 layers of fabric: the inner/outer fabrics are made of soft, breathable, moisture wicking and luxurious Lenzing ® MicroModal fabric. The central layers include an absorbent layer that is uniquely used in our underwear that absorbs blood and interlocks it in.
- WUKA Heavy has anti-bacterial properties and can hold 4 tampons worth of blood (at least), which is more than any other product available today. 4 tampons worth is around 20ml.
- WUKA medium can hold 3 tampons worth of blood (at least). This is around 15-17ml of blood.
- WUKA Light can hold 1 tampons worth blood (at least). This is around 5-7ml of blood.
- Leak proof layer: This is the layer that prevents the blood from passing through the underwear but allows airflow so is breathable and prevents sweating.
There are many reasons why you should switch to WUKA.
WUKA is an eco-friendly underwear that is comfortable and leak-free. It is available to women of all shapes, sizes and flows. WUKA comes in size 4 to size 20.
One underwear will replace more than 100 tampons or pads. With many women on board we have already stopped around 3 million tampons and pads form going to landfill.
The majority of the fabric used to make WUKA is a plant-based material, and WUKA is accredited by the Vegan Society.
You can wear the period underwear to 8 hours, even on your heavy days. as it holds 4 tampons worth of blood.
We believe every person who has periods should feel empowered and not embarrassed. After all if we didn’t have periods, there would be no humans!
You are clearly a busy lady. How do you manage your overall wellbeing – physical and mental? Do you have any rituals or routines that help keep you feeling well?
I have two dogs, Mochi and Pi and they are my wellness buddies, keeping me active 2 hours a day. This is my time, I get to meet new dog walkers and friends and just talk about anything but work. I also do once a week yoga, more for mediation than exercise. Then I run twice a week, to stay focused.
Love that you are really trying to break the taboo around menstruating. What do you think is the biggest challenge women face here.
I think there is a huge generational problem; most of us learn about periods from our mothers and the culture hasn’t changed much in 50 years. My mother’s generation were taught by grandparents to be discreet and quiet about periods, with additional leverage from media and big brands who push discretion and secrecy around menstruation.
So I think it’s the culture, the norm. It’s difficult for anyone to go against what you have been taught, to break habits and cultural attitudes. You have to be able to ask the question: Why are we doing this? These attitudes are huge challenges we face every single day, together with a pervasive sense of shame in talking about periods.
What are your plans for WUKA next year??? Any new products on the horizon?
Actually, we recently launched our new WUKA Bikini – medium flow
– a month and a half ago in two colours: black and grey. We did with a new price point. We realised that people have different flows and were looking for a product to suit them at different times during their period. The WUKA Heavy was too much to wear on a medium flow day. Our new WUKA is slim to wear and yet it still holds 15ml of flow (around 2 / 3 tampons worth). It can be used for both periods and incontinence (stress/urge incontinence). It is also quicker to dry compared to our heavy flow underwear.
This month we also launched our First Period Pack
, especially tailored to young girls who are just starting their period or transitioning to reusable menstrual products.
Each pack consists of 3 pairs of WUKA medium flow, a bralette and a fun but informative booklet explaining about getting your first periods, reassuring girls that most of the things that they are experiencing are normal.
So yes, we are always working on new product development so we can reach out to more people and provide more choices.