DISCLAIMER: This article & interview came from Katherine Schwarzenegger’s blog, which can be accessed at the end of the article. In this piece, Katherine talks about how she felt when she first came across Nikki and Moonbox, and is followed by the interview they shared.
Read time: 8 minutes.
When I first came across Nikki Gonda, founder of MoonBox, I knew I had to feature her in my RWDRT series!
My sister Christina actually sent me her page on Instagram and I took a deep dive into Nikki’s page. I’ve recently become really interested in changing out a lot of my products to organic ones, and that includes tampons. I’ve always been concerned about using tampons, so I was really happy to find that there are a lot of great options for organic tampons and pads (like Lola and CORA).
When I read about what Nikki was doing and how empowering her work is, I knew I wanted to post about all the work she is doing so more women can feel empowered about the products they are using during their periods, and also the symptoms that sometimes go along with it.
For starters, MoonBox not only gives you a really great natural period product box delivered to your door monthly, but they’re also opening up the conversation about how suffering during your period isn’t normal. Nikki’s Moonboxes will be available soon, so check her Instagram page for updates on when you can order yours! Here’s what she has to say about female health and her new subscription box…
Tell me how you started MoonBox?
As a young teen I had always suffered from really painful periods and PMS symptoms where I would be curled up in agony, clutching onto a hot water bottle like my life depended on it, missing days of school and downing one to many painkillers to get me through the pain.
The doctors solution for me, as it is for most menstruating females who suffer with period problems, was to go on the oral contraceptive pill. So, from 16 years old, that’s what I did – no questions asked. My cramps disappeared, skin cleared and I didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant! However, it wasn’t until six years later, when I had been studying nutritional health science, had I gained a new awareness around the havoc that hormonal contraception had been causing my hormones and body for all that time. I could suddenly make such a clear connection between my weight gain, anxiety and waves of depression with being on the pill.
So, I decided to stop taking it and immediately I felt like a different person; it was as if a cloud had been lifted, I was lighter and my happy self again. Yes, my monthly cramps did return; however, I learned that these symptoms were my body’s way of telling me that I had an inner imbalance to address. My understanding of my cycle and how I got to a place where my periods are no longer an experience of pain, but instead one of much more ease and vitality is what inspired me to start Moonbox.
I kept thinking “Why doesn’t every woman know this! Why weren’t we taught this in school?” So, I quit my job and decided to work full time on developing a box of natural products that complement an in-depth nutritional and dietary protocol to support and empower women in taking their menstrual health into their own hands, helping to relieve period symptoms – naturally and effectively!
What made you want to take on the education of period health?
The fact that there is so little education around anything menstrual health is what inspired me to become a voice in this area! It was such a taboo topic in my school and home so, unfortunately, it was never spoken about.
When I first got my period it was a day where I felt very alone, embarrassed and unsure of what to do or why I was even bleeding!
Why don’t you think more women are aware and talking about period health and other options when it comes to products to use during their periods?
Periods aren’t a common topic of conversation; it means the awareness around menstrual health and one’s choice of hygiene products are lacking.
Many women grow up believing that periods are gross or something to be embarrassed about, so they don’t ask questions like, “what is a normal healthy period meant to be like” or “are my tampons safe? what are they made out of?”
Do you think we can get women off of traditional tampons?
Like anything, it will take time. There is a huge shift that has been taking place over the past few years as people are becoming more health conscious, buying more organic foods, questioning where their animal produce is coming from, using natural skincare options and realizing that conventional medicine doesn’t always have the answer to everything. I say organic tampons going mainstream are next in line!
We just have to keep raising the awareness around the toxins in traditional tampons, how they can affect ones health, increase risk of TSS & why organic or re-usable are the better and safer option for our health and the planet!
Why is it important to educate women of all ages about the organic and natural ways to deal with your period?
Education is important because the average woman uses around 12,000 tampons in her lifetime. That isn’t an insignificant figure, especially when you realize that those conventional tampons are made from cotton that has been heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals and pesticides which is then used in the sensitive, highly absorbent area of the vagina repeatedly.
Have you ever wonder why your tampon is so white? It’s because it’s bleached with chlorine which creates a by-product dioxin which has been identified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic (cancer-causing)! Polypropylene (plastic) is also used to bind the short fibers of non-organic cotton together. Then you also have the viscose rayon, which is a synthetic fibre used to increase the absorbency of the tampon and is what increases the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
These chemicals & synthetic fragrances can get into your blood stream, cause inflammation and exacerbate your period discomfort & problems. This is the information very woman deserves to know!
There is some confusion around organic tampons and whether or not you can still get TSS from them; Can you explain that please?
I totally understand the confusion, as there is a lot of conflicting noise around this. At the end of the day Toxic Shock Syndrome, has more to do with the absorbability and the length of use of a tampon versus whether the brand is organic or not. 100% organic cotton can lower the risk, but there is never just one single factor at play that causes TSS.
In Moonbox, you offer ways for women to deal with their period naturally. Can you explain each product in your MoonBox and how the boxes will work?
I’ve developed a range of products that help to support women on their cycles naturally and holistically, with the aim of relieving symptoms of period pain and PMS! The box is delivered to your door monthly, with a 30-day supply of each product to help ensure consistency in being able to most effectively support your body in preparing for menstruation – so that your experience is much more comfortable and less symptomatic!
The products and ingredients are all organic, natural, vegan, sustainably packaged, locally sourced and made in Australia. I really wanted to make sure that I not only created beautiful products but also ones where the ingredients are of the highest quality and effectiveness.
From naturopath blended teas and elixirs, a potent cramp easing essential oil blend, acne support serum, hormone loving snacks and organic/re-usable menstrual products – all the products work synergistically in supporting happier, healthier cycles whilst complimenting an in depth lifestyle and dietary protocol, which covers all the foundations to optimizing menstrual health naturally!
Seems like a super easy fix to switch to natural/organic period products. What is the backlash you have heard, if any?
Hmm, not so much backlash. But I know many women are hesitant to spend the extra money, because organic tampons are often more expensive and some don’t see any immediate negative effects on their health from using regular tampons. The problem lies in consistent long term usage; so many women I know who have made that simple change to organic options have seen a great reduction in symptoms such as monthly cramps – it could be as simple as that!
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew before starting a business?
That it’s okay to ask for help and that people actually want to support you, give you advice and are rooting for you to succeed! I held back on this for way to long. I wish I had found a mentor from the beginning and not been afraid to ask for guidance from someone whose already been there, done that! But hey, I can’t say I haven’t learnt from my own mistakes along the way!
What’s been your biggest business obstacle to-date and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle to-date has actually been myself, ha! I guess when you’re first starting up a business, the self-doubt can creep in and get the better of you; you start questioning your idea, if you can do it and whether it’s actually going to succeed! I put Moonbox aside for a few months last year and hid behind the excuse of college…but Moonbox was calling and I couldn’t ignore it. I could feel it deep in my bones that this is what I was meant to be doing! So to overcome that, it took some conscious re-shifting of my mind set & strengthening my internal belief systems to focus on being positive. I don’t let those thoughts or fear of failure defeat me. At the end of the day there is nothing to lose, and as long as I’m happy doing what I love everyday, nothing can get in my way!