We usually take to social media to squee over our latest finds, to fangirl, and air our grievances with the universe—we just never expect someone to listen and take action. But that’s what happened to Sarah Michelson when she took to Tumblr to call for something we didn’t know we needed: a period shop. Yeah, really, a period shop. And it’s coming to life today in the Big Apple, at 138 Fifth Avenue, where shoppers can snap period-themed items from the like of Aelfie, Ban.do, Baggu, and more thanks to U by Kotex.
If there were shops that could shill one item like hot sauce, men’s shaving products, and more, Michelson reasoned a period shop could mean serious success. “We have stores for men’s shaving gear, hot sauce, random crap that may not be necessary to our experience,” she said during the shop’s preview Thursday night. “I was on my period, and I kept having these thoughts, and it became this merging of ideas.”
While visions of pizza and pain relief danced in her head, Michelson’s post took off on the platform gaining thousands of notes and got noticed by U by Kotex. The current advertising and marketing major—she’s switching to focus on cosmetics and fragrance marketing next semester—worked closely with the brand to deck out the space with everything needed to make that time of the month much easier to handle, including tampons, pads, and pain relievers mixed in with sweatshirts, sweatpants, and pins decked out in feminine-care couture, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. Best of all, the proceeds benefit Susan’s Place, an NYC-based transitional residence for homeless women, who are often left without the feminine care products they need compared to clothing and food donations received.
“I wish the period store could be around all the time because then I’d be here [on my period],” Michelson admitted. “More typically, I’m home in sweatpants, getting drunk on ice cream and chips, eating literally everything, listening to music, chilling, moaning, groaning, bitching about life. But things like this make the experience so much more positive.”
And that’s really the end game: de-mystify the drama of our monthly menses. Whether you want to call it Aunt Flo or (my personal favorite) Shark Week, we’re now seeing a shift from stigma to social acceptance of a normal bodily function. “I think the stigma attached to periods is not just the older generation; I experienced it in high school, which was not long ago. It sucks, but I feel like it’s something everyone has a collective culture [about it],” Michelson explained. “It’s just a shop; it’s just a period; it’s just a tampon—the whole thing that’s surrounding it is so biblical, it’s ridiculous. The fact that U by Kotex is doing this, making this a reality for regular women, shows that this is what we can do. I think that the best thing people can do is talk about it—mothers, daughters, friends, talk about it, and eventually the stigma will be gone.”
So if you’re in New York City, the shop will be open to the public starting today May 13th through May 15th.
May 13th: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with DJs on deck 12:00-6:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; and a comedy show 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
May 14th: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with a Carmilla cast meet and greet 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.; DJs on deck 12:00-6:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m
May 15th: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with DJs on deck 12:00-5:00 p.m.; Nail Art available 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m; and PMS massages 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Head over to UbyKotex.com for more details and check out my Snapchat ASAP to get a behind-the-scenes look at the space.