FREDERICTON– An entrepreneur from New Brunswick wants to change the conversation around menstruation for young women.
Hallie Mazurkiewicz is the founder of Lunar Wild, a company dedicated to “supporting and celebrating young women as they approach the onset of their first menstruation.” Lunar Wild’s offers curated gift boxes which features different kinds of sustainable menstruation products, self-care items and more.
Mazurkiewicz, originally from Fredericton, started the company while living in New York. After getting her teaching degree at St. Thomas University, she worked as a teacher at a Waldorf School in Alberta. From there, she was hired to work as a primary child care provider to an “A-list actress.” It was a well-paying job, but after taking time off to help her father recover from unexpected brain surgery, she decided it was time for a change of course.
“I was really considering what it is I really wanted to do with my life, how I could find more fulfillment,” says Mazurkiewicz. “There was something missing for me. There was something else that was calling to me. I wanted to help people in some way. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like, but I wanted to help.”
After a soul-searching trip to California, she found the answer in an old diary.
“I’ve been journaling since I was eight-years-old, so I have a suitcase with every single diary that I’ve ever had. I keep this suitcase under my bed,” says Mazurkiewicz. “When I got back from my trip, I pulled it out. And I thought, ‘okay, I still have no idea what I want to do, so I’m going to find out what I’m good at and how I can serve.”
After spending two weeks reading through the entries, one caught her attention. It was from when she was 14-years-old and got her first period.
“I had recounted in detail the conversation that my mother had with me when she sat down on my bed. She said that she has been waiting for this moment since the day I was born. She couldn’t wait to welcome me into womanhood,” says Mazurkiewicz.
“She was trying to explain to me that womanhood was really special. It was a gift. She said nobody on the planet would be here without the magic of a woman’s body and that deep within her were these beautiful natural cycles that deserve to be honoured and celebrated.”
She also wrote that her mother had given her a box of tampons to put away.
“Reading this, the hairs on my arms stood up. I thought, ‘there’s something here.’ There’s something here because every single girl on this planet inevitably is going to go through their first period. We know how psychologically impactful this one event is,” she says.
“We know this because I could ask any woman her first period story and she will remember who she was with, where she was and how prepared she was. How many other events in our lives can we remember that much detail about?”
Mazurkiewicz wanted to help mothers and guardians to be able to provide a similar experience for their daughters.
“I wondered if there was something out there that was a curated experience for mother and daughter,” she says. “A treasure chest packed with all the goodies she needs not just to address her period, but to be celebrated and to feel special.”
That was the beginning of Lunar Wild.
Lunar Wild boxes retail for $125 and feature sustainably made pads, tampons and a reusable menstrual cup. It also includes chocolate, bath salts with rose petals, natural deodorant, candles, and other “self-care” items. A booklet explaining menstruation is also included. All of the products are sourced by female entrepreneurs.
When Lunar Wild had its soft launch in December 2017, all 200 boxes were sold out within 48 hours. Since June 2018, the boxes have been sold through the Lunar Wild website. Though the majority of the customers are mothers and single dads buying, Mazurkiewicz says people are buying them for other occasions as well. Lunar Wild also offers a standard “period box” that can be given to women on occasions other than first menstruation.
“I actually packed one up for a woman last week who had just gotten off hormonal birth control and she was about to have her first, real, natural period in years,” says Mazurkiewicz. “I had a husband order one for his wife after the birth of their baby.”
Another big part of Lunar Wild’s business model is education. With her background in teaching, Mazurkiewicz has led various workshops in New York on the topic of menstruation and puberty.
“For me, Lunar Wild is not about selling period gift boxes. It really is about creating a movement. It’s about creating a community and my hope is that we can celebrate every phase of a woman’s life,” she says.
“Together we can bring awareness to women’s bodies. We can empower our girls.”
The goal is to eventually create a program for schools, something she hopes to pilot in New Brunswick, where she spends a good chunk of the year to visit family.
“We’re building a school program right now [and] my desire is to launch that in New Brunswick,” she says. “That’s where I went to school and I have a New Brunswick teaching certificate, so I would be able to travel around doing an east coast/Canadian tour and speaking in schools about puberty and about coming-of-age.”
Looking to the future, Mazurkiewicz is focused on growth. Lunar Wild is currently participating in a mastermind program called Fit For Service which is designed for entrepreneurs who are creating a business with the desire of serving the greater good or making a social impact.
“I really want to continue to spread the word about Lunar Wild. I would love to send our more boxes,” says Mazurkiewicz. “That’s my favourite part, handwriting little love notes to every single girl or person who ordered it. I would love to just do more of it.”