Katie Diasti jumped right into creating a mission driven brand immediately after graduating college. In fact, she started the research and development while still in school, finding unique ways to utilize resources and opportunities available to her through her programs and university setting. She ultimately founded Viv For Your V as a way to create sustainable, plant based period-care products that would be better for womxn and the environment– but it’s also so much more. Read on to see how she started this company and where else the journey is taking her (and her customers).
First of all, tell us about your business and what it’s all about, in your own words!
Viv is an earth-friendly period care brand delivering direct to our customer’s door through a subscription model.
Viv for your V is an emerging eco-friendly period care brand that aspires to be a voice for all menstruators. Viv works to have a strong presence in the menstrual care community as an earth friendly brand working to break stigmas.
Ok, so we’ve used period care products for as long as we can remember, but never really thought much about them being earth-friendly or not. When you think about it, we do use tons of pads and tampons in a year and they essentially become trash.. It seems important to make sure we change our ways! But why exactly is earth friendly period care so important?
1 typical menstrual pad contains as much plastic as four plastic bags and can take up to 800 years to break down. To give context, the average menstruator uses 11,000 pads in a lifetime.
Viv products are entirely plastic-free, and our products break down in 150 days, rather than 800 years. We’ve calculated that by switching to viv, you save: 634lbs of CO2, 9oz of plastic, and 607 gallons of water per period. It’s a simple swap for a better, softer, more absorbent product that creates a tremendous impact.
You’ve said period should no longer be a dirty word. After all, it’s something so natural and so common– we’re all dealing with it! Why are women still so shy about talking about periods, and what can we do to change this?
Period shame has been implemented into us at a young age. There is an incredible opportunity in this new wave of being where we question the status quo and why we create shame around something so natural and common. I encourage everyone to start by simply talking about periods more. Challenge yourself when you catch yourself whispering about periods or hiding a pad up your sleeve.
Pad, tampon, menstrual cup– we need to know which is your personal favorite?
I was a big pad user for a while but have recently tried the Viv cup and I am OBSESSED. It’s incredible. I am now a cup super fan.
Ok now that we’ve talked about the important period stuff, let’s move onto the behind the scenes of actually building the business! Building out a team can be tough. The team culture and personality behind your team-members is always so important, but with such a mission-driven brand it seems even more-so. How did you go about growing your team and making sure you were finding people who would care as much about Viv and periods as you?
I began by simply finding others that were passionate about the Viv mission and the problems we are working to solve. Since we are an early stage startup, it has to be people who are self motivated, think creatively, and are entrepreneurial.
You’ve said that you’ve been very hands-on with customer service, especially during the launch of the company when you wanted to get personal feedback from customers. How did that help you and the company? What do you recommend to other business owners when it comes to customer service and creating that great experience?
That has been so important when receiving feedback from our customers. It has helped us understand what products to launch, how to adjust our messaging, and even understand who our target market really is. I always recommend founders get on the phone or talk face to face to potential customers.
When it comes to being a mission driven brand, you really do take action when you say you will. You’ve already donated over 4,000 pads donated so far during the COVID-19 crisis. How did you make that happen?
At the beginning of our COVID-19 response, we knew this was a moment where we would define our brand as a brand that gives back & stands up for all menstruators. We knew so many menstruators were displaced at this time and even more lacked access to menstrual products. We are a small startup but knew we could make a big impact. We created a social media campaign to spread awareness of period poverty and every share of the post was 1 pad donated. Within 2 days we had 4,000 shares and donated 4,000 pads to shelters across the U.S.
Building a business can be super rewarding but also obviously a lot of work. Where do you get your best inspiration?
From other young people building something from the ground up and so many women & menstruators that are conquering so much. Sustainable period care isn’t solving all of our problems, but we are proud to bring ease to modern menstruators so they can conquer even more.
Wow, we’re feeling super inspired just from this conversation with you! Thank you for all you’ve done for us as womxn, and for the earth! After everything you’re working on each day and all the challenges you’re facing and solving, what’s your favorite way to end the day?
Listening to an audio book, cooking a new plant-based recipe, and getting outside for a walk.
Get to know Katie even better by listening to her episode on the podcast!
How to connect with Katie and Viv for your V: