What we do for any new category is some initial diligence (what matters most in sustainability, what limitations exist, etc). Then, we reach out to a short list of brand partners to test and try among our team. We discussed whether this would be appropriate for menstrual products - the answer was a resounding YES. While these products can be intensely personal, we had to see for ourselves just how effective each and every product is. And so, we asked our short list of partners for samples.
Imagine our surprise when one of our brands shared that this was the first time a retail partner had requested samples. Ever.
I for one couldn’t believe that in 2021, brands were on shelves at retail that the folks behind the store hadn’t even tried.
Why do I share this anecdote when thinking about the importance of supporting women-owned businesses?
Because women's voices belong in the conversation about the products we are putting into our bodies and bringing into our homes. And while we’ve seen continual progress, we can do more by increasing access and demand for female representation in grocery.
I’m inspired every day by our collective of women makers. They are the innovators, the problem solvers uncovering a better way to farm, to tend, to feed. The mother who saw an opportunity to make cleaning her home a less toxic experience. The woman who decided to fight microplastics at the source: laundry. And the team that gives domestic violence survivors a new path forward towards financial independence. They are bringing our voices, our needs, our concerns into the products we have the opportunity to buy every day.
But they can’t change the industry alone. Shoppers and retail have a role to play, too.
As the primary shoppers for groceries, women have the power to signal to brands and retailers that female leadership matters. We can use our dollars as a vote for more female representation within the retailers and brands we choose to support. And we can push the industry forward by doing so.
At Hive, we’re doing our small part to support our female maker community. We start by not charging our partners fees of any kind to work with us. Most retailers - big and small- charge their brands slotting fees just to get on the shelf, and then continually ask their partners for more. This can be a huge deterrent to diverse makers who often raise significantly less capital than those helmed by white men. We’re also committed to highlighting our female maker community, not just this month, but every month. And we’re proud to donate 15% of proceeds from our Women Run The World bundle to Heifer International to help women break the cycle of poverty.
This year has been particularly hard on professional women, with many leaving the workforce entirely to deal with the increase in emotional labor accompanied by virtual schooling. The female makers in our orbit have always been impressive, but this year, we want to see each and every one of them continue to keep running their businesses—and encourage new ones to get started, too. We want them to know they have our support, in all of the challenges they face day in and day out.
We hope you’ll join us in the fight to support diverse makers.
—Katie Tyson, Co-founder & CCO at Hive