How does a degree in psychology lead to launching a delivery service for 100 per cent organic menstrual hygiene products? If you’re Alyssa Bertram, psychology ’13, founder of EasyPeriod.ca, the route to business ownership begins with an entrepreneurship course. As part of her program, she interviewed an entrepreneur for an assignment and that conversation inspired her.
“The idea for Easy Period was in the back of my mind because it was something I wish had been available to me,” says Bertram. “My dad told me to stop talking about it and do it. Growing up he was always coming up with ideas that he didn’t act on but then would later see at Canadian Tire.”
In the summer of 2015, while she was a health care research co-ordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital, Bertram’s mother became very ill and was in a coma for eight days (thankfully, she fully recovered). “That experience shifted my perspective. I had a real sense that the time is now.”
Soon her desk was piled high with academic journal articles about tampons. “I learned that many brands used ingredients I wasn’t OK with, such as dioxin, a known carcinogen, synthetic fibres that can lead to infection and pesticides from non-organic cotton crops. It ignited a passion to let other women know.” And to offer a healthier alternative.
Last year on International Women’s Day, Bertram went to an event at the DMZ at Ryerson University. “I was able to meet people and talk about my idea. It was validating.”
She launched Easy Period in June 2016. Today it ships to subscribers across Canada and into the U.S. Bertram donates five per cent of all profits to the ZanaAfrica Foundation, which delivers reproductive health education and sanitary pads to girls in Kenya to help them stay in school. Easy Period’s website also features a blog that shares information about women’s health.
The vision now: “To find well-aligned investors to help reach more women who might benefit from this service.”