Category Archives: Blog

Good Karma is the New Black Friday

We have joined the movement to give back during Black Friday and when you purchase Shomota products you’ll be giving back as well. The company, The Wild Unknown, has gathered over 300 retailers and together we have pledged to change the way Black Friday is done.

Good Karma is the New Black Friday. 

Kim Krans, the owner of The Wild Unknown states, “Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday are infamous for stirring up a frenzy of expectations and feelings of lack and scarcity. Yes, there’s an increase in sales — but they always seem to leave us feeling disconnected and conflicted, and with an unfulfilling sense of what the holidays are all about.”

To kick off this holiday season, Shomota is not only giving you 10% off all our products (use the code: goodkarma at checkout), we will be giving 25% of all proceeds, from today to the end of the month, to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

November is Native American Heritage Month. It is also the time of year that Americans gather together over turkey and stuffing, watch football and get crazy deals on Black Friday. But remember…

As you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, there are hundreds of people outside in the freezing temperatures.

As you are drinking your clean water, they are fighting to protect theirs.

As you camp out for Black Friday to get your latest gadget, they are camping out to protect their sacred land.

As you remember the story you were told as a child about the peace that was made between the Pilgrims and Native Americans on the first Thanksgiving, make sure you tell your children that right now, today, there are Native Americans being shot with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons.

Shomota is standing with Standing Rock. 

We care about creating a sustainable environment. We care about the sacredness of body and earth. We believe that water is life and we don’t believe the Dakota Access Pipeline is in line with our views.

If you would like to do more for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe please read this Huffington Post article about who to call, how to volunteer and where to send supplies.

Let us all work together to protect our Mother Earth and keep her beautiful.

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People with Periods: Saumya

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Here is my story.

It all began a few months ago, when a visit to the office washroom caused a chill to run down my spine. The sights that a lady has to bear while entering a toilet booth in India can make even an Egyptian Mummy sick! I am sure the reader will not want me to get in to the gory details of what I witnessed that day. That sight triggered a thought in my mind about how my organization and my city handle sanitary waste management.

I wrote a long post on this topic on a 30,000 women strong Facebook group called PULA (Pune Ladies) with the intention to find ways to dispose the sanitary waste in a much eco friendly manner The answers which I got were average and not as satisfactory as I would have wanted them to be. I shared the same post on another group called Sustainable Menstruation India.

I was overwhelmed at the response received and it was here that I got introduced to the concept of menstrual cups.

I was actually ‘pounded’ in to transitioning my belief that sustainable menstruation did not mean sanitary waste disposal, rather it is the fact that women are introduced to easier, nature and pocket friendly means of menstruation.

The next 2 months went buy in browsing through every conceivable video on the usage of Menstrual Cups on Youtube and driving my online mentor Priyanka to the last limits of her sanity with my questions. Finally, on Priyanka’s suggestion I bought the cup which arrived within 5 days of placing my order.

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Next began the wait for my period. Trust me, I do not think that there is any lady whose period date has been so eagerly awaited by an online Facebook group of 30,000 ladies! My period date became a point of discussion and its delay caused palpitations across many female hearts!

Finally after keeping me on the tenterhooks for 72 hours, the glorified Period arrived.

Thanks to Youtube videos, inserting the cup was a piece of cake. However, since it was my first time and I usually do not trust easily and put all my eggs in one basket, I took the safety of a pad. What a waste it was! Rest as they say is history.

I started because I was seeking ways of reducing the sanitary waste that goes in to land fills and because I think we women have become ignorant to the woes of the support staff who have to clean up our toilets and segregate our waste.

It is easy to put all women on a single pedestal on 8th March and then for the rest of 364 days, some women go through the horrendous task of cleaning up after others. If I can stop adding to the dump, I will be happy to have contributed to the change.

Another honest reason for moving to cups is the fact that I do not have to stow away ugly packets of sanitary napkins when I travel.

Secondly, I do not understand the logic behind women not being allowed in religious places. God made me with his own hands. He knows my anatomy, my body inside out. If making me did not make God impure or reduce his God-powers, by what logic does my proximity to God during my period, reduce his power or make him impure, based on what happens in my underpants (I am itching to use the Hindi name), once a month for 5 days?

Below is my detailed list of observations after completing 2 cycles with my dear blue cup.

1. Completed 2 cycles without disposable sanitary napkins
2. I had no issues inserting the cup inside me -thanks to Youtube and a couple mentors.
3. I pee, poo, bath, sleep with the cup inside me
4. I do not wear any liners at all
5. 2 period cycles, and I have forgotten what cramps used to feel like
6. I clean my cup easily inside the toilet booths in both public and home toilets
7. No more smell, no more rashes, no more yucky views each time I go to use the washroom
8. No more addition from my side to the garbage dumps
9. I have saved money on Sanitary napkins – I used to use 4 packs of Whisper XXXL (yes I am pretty well endowed) which used to cost me a bomb!
10. I am a working professional, who travels long hours and rides a bike and works very crazy hours – absolutely no issues with my dear blue cup at all till date
11. I sometimes forget that I am having my period
12. I don’t feel the cup inside me at all – no, not even while running, exercising and driving my bike
13. I wear what ever color I want to wear
14. No more stains on my underwear
15. Cleaning and storing the cup is super easy between 2 cycles, similar to how we sterlize baby bottles
16. During the period, after every 3 – 4 hours, I simply empty the cup in the toilet and rinse it well with the hand flush or a mug of water and insert it back in
17. In comparison to the amount of money I used to waste on sanitary napkins month on month, the price of this cup is dirt cheap

I wish many more ladies from all walks of life and of all shapes and sizes transition to cups and cloth pads soon.

Happy Periods to all the women out there! Go on, make the switch, it is a better gift to your self than Diamonds and Chocolates!

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Saumye Dahake- An eager and zealous ambassador for menstrual cups and cloth pads.

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People with Periods: Rená

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My experience with Menstruation began when I was 11 years old!  Originally born in the 70’s to a hippie mother, nudity, sharing and bleeding were not hidden, so when I began to bleed it was extremely easy for me to walk up to my mother, pull down my pants and pull back my underwear while loud asking “what is this?, is this my period?”.

She confirmed that it was, so we marched into the bathroom and she pulled out some boxes of pads and tampons from under the sink and said these are what you should use to protect your clothes.  So I started with the pads, now lucky for me we had bypassed the stage of pads being held on my a very uncomfortable belt with snaps to hold a mattress like pad with extra long length between my legs.  This one had sticky stuff that smashed right into my underwear, period win!

The very next month was my VERY first dance, with a boy.  I wore a really cute sweatshirt grey dress with white legging and pointed flats, we took pictures by the tree and we were off, only to return fairly early to blood soaked white leggings. Thankful that my ruffled dress covered my bloody ass.  It appeared that no one took notice, maybe they were to self absorbed and nervous standing on separate walls hoping someone would ask them to dance.

Fast forward to the third month ever of my period, the family was going to the beach with another family, WHAT????  What will I do, the panic struck, I can’t swim with a pad in my bathing suit bottoms, that I had enough experience to recognize.  So mom and I discussed the tampon option a bit further, she even offered to help me insert it the first time, no thanks mom, I’ve got this one!  Eyes wide open, I march into the bathroom with a sense of arrogance and even confidence.

Sitting on the toilet, box in hand, I read the insert, looked at the diagrams maybe a dozen times or more.  I opened the package.  Now mind you, the applicators back then were cardboard, my vagina somewhat small and unlubricated, I attempt the insert.  OUCH!  So, I removed what part had tried to enter, which was less than the tip.  Shoved it back down into the applicator, try again.  After a few tries, I felt successful enough to stand, walk and even go out into the other room where the family sat, waiting on me to go to the beach.

Ok, play it cool.  Walked around, gave mom a nod like I had it under control.  Then I tried to sit – How in the hell do people sit with these things in?  This is awful!  Leaning to the side, legs crossed and trying to play it off… NO!  I wasn’t successful in inserting it, half of the evil tampon was still hanging out and it hurt!  Back to the bathroom, tampon removed, pad and shorts commence!  Everyone else had a blast at the beach in their swimsuits splashing in the waves.

This same experience repeated itself many years later when trying a menstrual cup and sponge for the first time, well into my forties!

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Rená Koerner – California USA based Birth and Postpartum Doula, Educator, Doula Trainer, Board of Directors President, Speaker and Author with over 15 years experience and passion for family health and choices.  I am also the mother of a grown son, grandmother to his precious daughter, I’m also a wife, friend, daughter and not always in this order.

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People with Periods: Rita

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For our first Person with a Period, we our featuring one of our first employees at Shomota. Her name is Rita and here is her story:

In my family, I have a mother, father, an older sister (didi) and a younger brother (bhai). When I was a young girl, I saw for a few days every month my didi would be in a lot of pain and cry. I never knew that she was having her period. During this time, my mother would always yell at her and insult her.

When I was 13 years old, I got my period for the first time. I was in school and I started feeling something wet in my underwear, but didn’t think it was anything. Then the teacher called on me, so I stood up and my friend who was sitting behind me told me to sit back down. I then found out that I had a red stain on the back of my school uniform. I went to the bathroom and saw blood in my underwear and didn’t understand what was happening. Luckily, my friend had already gotten her period and told me that it will happen now every month. She gave me the scarf she was wearing in her hair, for me to tie around my waist.

I put two and two together and realized that my didi must be in pain and crying because of her period. I didn’t want my mother to yell and insult me, so I decided not to tell anyone in my family. There are many restrictions for girls on their periods. My mother taught my sister:

  • She has to shower, every morning at 6am for seven days, before she can touch anything in the house
  • She can not do puja (worship) to God
  • She can not touch the food or cook, for others to eat

Since I decided to hide my period from my family, I continued to do puja on my period. I touched the food that I cooked for my family. I showered in the afternoon, not worrying about what I was touching in the house.

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Eventually, my family found out. I was using cotton swab as a pad. I would throw it on top of our bathroom roof outside. If I threw it anywhere else someone would find it, so I continued to throw it over the roof. After two years of doing this, my father climbed a tree beside the bathroom roof and saw all of the soiled cotton swabs laying on top. He told my mother. My mother started yelling at me for not telling them and asked if I gave puja or cooked while I was on my period. I proudly said yes I did and I will continue to do so!

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4 Reasons To Read People with Periods

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In our last post, I shared my personal experience in switching from tampons to a menstrual cup to cloth pads. It was such a hit that we’ve decided to continue sharing the love. Every week we are going to be sharing period stories and experiences from people around the world.

Here are 4 reasons you should come back every week to read these stories:

We are letting the cat out of the bag, periods are normal!

Unfortunately, periods still have a stigma. You know…the stuttering, foot shuffling, eye glaze when the word period comes into the conversation. The reality is that this stigma is hindering many people from living a truly free life.

We will not be afraid to say the words period, vagina, blood, uterus, etc…

All of these words are part of a normal psychological process, so why do we make it awkward to talk about them? This will be a place where we are letting periods do the talking, freely and openly. We hide our embarrassment by saying “shark week”, “riding the crimson wave” or “aunt flow”. While sometimes it could be fun to use these phrases, it’s also adding to the idea that periods are a problem to be dealt with.

These stories are bloody real.

Not just that they are truthful, but we aren’t going to shy away from sharing things that might make you uncomfortable. Periods get such a bad rap and we are here to clean the slate and give periods the space they deserve. And what better way to do it then from real people with real periods!

Everyone is welcome and free to share. 

We are looking for more stories and your period story can be a part of the series. If you have a period story, we’d love to share it. If you don’t even have a period yourself, but want to write about it, then we want your story as well. Together we will be able to empower more! Contact us and let us know your story.

Starting tomorrow, we have a story from one of our women who works here at Shomota. So, come back and learn what it’s like getting your first period in a poor community in India.

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Why I Switched.

I was graced with my first period in 7th grade. It arrived unexpectedly during the end of the school day. I put some toilet paper in my underwear and rushed home. Once I got there, I found my mother’s stash of tampons, read the instructions and put one in. Simple as that.

Eight years worth of tampons later, I found out there was another option.

I had a friend in college that was very conscious of the environment and healthy living. She first told me about the menstrual cup in 2005. I have to admit the first thing that intrigued me was the amount of money I would save. How many tampons would I have to buy in 10 years? 1,440= $400. How many menstrual cups? 1= $30. Saving me $370! As a broke college student, it was looking pretty good.

After using the cup for a few cycles, (it took some getting use to) I fell in love. The process was so simple. Insert. Wait eight hours. Remove. Rinse. Repeat. I became a menstrual cup activist, telling my other friends and successfully converting most of them to this new world of the sustainable period! I believe the menstrual cup was the doorway to my consciousness becoming aware of how my personal actions were causing harm to the earth and my fellow humans.

When I moved to India, the cup was my savior. Sharing an outside bathroom with four other households, the community lake where everyone usually threw their trash and no public bathrooms was not a place I wanted to be using disposable menstrual products. I would find used disposable pads along the railway line and floating in the lake and sometimes in the mouth of a street dog. I was happy that I never had to try and conceal my cup or find an appropriate way to dispose of it.

The idea for Shomota came after many conversations with women in my community and I quickly found out that a large percentage of Indian women are very uncomfortable with the idea of inserting a cup. I had never tried a reusable cloth pad, but that seemed like the only eco-friendly option they were willing to try.

So, I decided to sew some cloth pads to try for myself and a few to give away to friends. At first, it felt like a chore to change my pad and wash it. When washing meant a bucket of water, some laundry power and my hands, but I got used to it. I noticed after a few cycles of using cloth pads my cramps began to lessen and I could tell how much I was actually bleeding throughout the day. I became more in tuned and felt a deeper connection with my body.

Today I’m still a fan of the menstrual cup, especially when traveling, but my go to is cloth pads.

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