Caymanian businesswoman starts new organic sanitary line

Women’s Haven founder and owner, Melesia Adderley, holding her line of organic female sanitary products.-Photo: Stephen Clarke.

To make sure that women’s health and well-being are considered, business owner and founder of Women’s Haven, Melesia Adderley, has created a range of organic sanitary products.

Women’s Haven is an all-female owned organisation that is focussed on producing chemical-free products to assist women in maintaining vaginal health, according to Adderley’s business statement.

She herself has experienced issues using big brand-named sanitary pads and other female personal-hygiene products.

“I [consider myself to be a] very clean person [yet] I used to always itch and feel very irritated and I kept saying, ‘Something just isn’t right, like why am I feeling like this?’”

To be more comfortable with her menstrual cycle, she did a lot of research that showed her the truth behind normal sanitary napkins. She came across organic pads, yet thought it was another gimmick.

“It took me six months to give [them] a try. I tried [them and they] changed my life. I have [not experienced irritation] in the past two years since changing my pads to organic pads,” Adderley said.

She started telling her friends and the news spread like wildfire. In 2017, after her husband’s friend’s wife from the Bahamas gained some interest in having organic products like these in her country, Adderley brought her on as her business partner.

“We blew up from there. We are now in 11 countries and growing,” Adderley said.

She did two years of research to ensure that her organic sanitary pad was 100% organic.

“We use organic everything – from the formulas [that] make up our organic cottons, to the glue that we use. Everything is coming from an organic source and we ensure it has to be organic, [otherwise] we’re not going to carry that product,” she said.

All the research, including some packaging, is done locally, but the actual machine work is done in China.

“We’ve [created] over 300,000 pieces of sanitary products,” Adderley revealed.

Women’s Haven is also the first Caymanian-owned company to manufacture and launch its very own line of female sanitary napkins and other feminine-care products. “The Women’s Haven sanitary pads will be an industry leader, as it will be offering more pads per pack than any other comparable organic brand on the market and at a very competitive cost,” Adderley said.

The main star of her organic pads is the graphene strip that she added in her sustainable design. She said her husband told her about graphene many years ago.

Graphene is a carbon-based natural element. It is the thinnest and strongest material in the world due to its extreme denseness. Adderley said the graphene strip helps circulatory health, cell activity, and may inhibit harmful bacteria from growing.

While researching graphene, she came across the European Genial Day Brand of organic pad, for which she became an authorised retailer and tested before manufacturing her own line.

“They didn’t have graphene, but it was everything else that we wanted in a pad,” Adderley said.

She said she knew this was an opportunity to use graphene in Cayman, but starting a company as a woman brought its own hurdles.

Adderley said it is hard to create an all-female owned company.

“It’s not easy. When you reach out to other business owners, they are like, ‘I don’t know who she is’, that kind of thing,” Adderley added.

Regardless of those challenges, Adderley said she is very confident in her product when she speaks to both men and women about it. She feels passionately about educating young girls and women about an issue that many deal with.

“I’m going to get this message out there. Women need to know the truth. They need to know what’s happening to them and I’m a firm believer of this product and my business. I will do whatever it takes to make sure I help my fellow Caymanians,” she said.

Adderley wants to educate young girls in schools about menstrual issues and lobby for the right to have safe and organic female sanitary products.

“Why not give a free pad to girls in need? They charge us duty on pads, but why? Why [are leather goods] duty-free, but a pad, I have to pay 22%? I need it.

“I am going after the government next. I am going after customs and saying ‘you need to get rid of these duties on sanitary products so women can afford them and be healthy so there are less fibroids [and] less cancers’. Even the health insurance companies need to promote organic products to women. It reduces their expenses on yeast infections, doctors visits, and pharmaceutical medicines. I am ready to lobby them too,” Adderley said.

Adderley stressed the importance of finding solutions and products that are sourced locally.

“Why not get involved in helping our community and our young girls? People are suffering in silence. Women just don’t talk about it,” Adderley said.