A forward-thinking Affi Parvizi-Wayne is the founder of the UK’s first organic and eco-friendly period care subscription box, Freda. We caught up with Affi to find out how she got here!
Sum up yourself & your job in 2 sentences?
I’m Affi Parvizi-Wayne, the founder of Freda, an organic and ethical brand of period products. We make natural products for a natural process, and a proportion of every purchase goes towards initiatives which work towards ending period poverty.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I was inspired to start Freda after seeing refugees stuck at various border crossings in Europe on the news and wondering how they accessed period products. I found that the answer is that they don’t. On looking into this further, I was struck by the lack of transparency about what actually goes into pads and tampons. I think a lot of us buy these products on auto-pilot without really thinking about what what we’re putting in our bodies and how it’s impacting the environment.
So with Freda, we hope to drag these products into the 21st century, and provide a brand for the modern woman – she knows what goes into her food, face cream, and even detergent, so why not her tampons?
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay true to your core values, and never compromise. If you’re working on something that’s true to you and your beliefs, you can really go on instinct when it comes to making decisions, as it will feel natural. When you know what you stand for, don’t settle for less.
What piece of advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as that’s how you learn. If we were all sitting around waiting for a perfect set of circumstances before we tried something, we would never achieve anything – I find that it’s better to learn on the job!
You’re a new addition to a crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
Pink! At Freda, we’re very much onboard with the movement to reclaim pink – as I see it, it’s associated with femininity and it’s also really strong. There’s nothing necessarily silly or frivolous about the colour pink, or with girlhood.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
In fact the last gift I gave was a Freda subscription to my god-daughter! It’s important to me that she gets into the habit as a teenager of being mindful about the products she uses, and not to be awkward at all about her period. Ultimately, it’s a fact of life that doesn’t need to be inhibiting or embarassing.
What inspires you?
I’m very inspired by the ongoing push towards equality that seems to have been gaining momentum in recent times. Social media is amplifying the voices of the brave women today speaking out against oppression. I find it really exciting, and heartening in terms of the work we’re doing at Freda.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
There are of course universally accepted rights and wrongs, the nuances of which we could discuss for hours, but what I and therefore Freda is concerned about is changing perceptions on what is in some cultures considered to be wrong, i.e. periods. The shame and stigma around menstruation is something that hugely effects millions of women around the world, and it needs eradicating. It’s considered a fundamental human right to have our basic needs met, and access to period products is one such basic need. Whether that’s in the inclusion of these products in hotels, gyms, offices, schools, refugee camps… it all helps towards normalising what is a natural process. After all, we’re not expected to carry around our own loo roll!
When have you been most satisfied with your life?
I’m always grateful for everyday moments. Coming from a refugee background, I have come to appreciate the safety and security of my nearest and dearest, and my health and wellbeing.
If there was one thing you could say to your 5 year old self, what would it be?
Don’t be scared. Without a doubt the most useful quality to have, personally and professionally, is confidence, and that is what I would want to impart on my younger self.
Tell us in 3 words, how you got to where you are today?
Having a go!