Cleveland, OH

Courtesy Cups aims to destigmatize menstruation and end period poverty

Paul Krasinic

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CLEVELAND, OH — Courtesy Cups is a brand-new and game-changing menstrual product from the brain of Savannah Daniels, a graduate of the University of Akron School of Law.

Courtesy Cups are menstrual cups products that are made of medical-grade silicon and easy to fit in a special carrying case and able to clean each cup on its own. This uniqueness made this product convenient to use while active or mobile, and easy to clean, as menstrual cups are a more eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative compared to single-use products like tampons and pads

Daniels got the idea of her products from her time as a truck driver in the National Guard. "Menstruation or menstrual products, are only mentioned three times in our field sanitation training," Daniel says. "Although awareness is increasing, women in the military are still given little to no menstrual hygiene education and left to fend for themselves,"

"I spent weeks at a time in the field sleeping outside without toilets, electricity, or running water," recalls Daniels. "I told everyone, 'You have to switch to menstrual cups. You don't have to carry your trash around, or worry that you packed enough, or poach a tampon off a friend.' But how do you clean them? Courtesy Cups solves this. This product offers the only option to sanitize menstrual cups on the go in the field."

Daniels is aware that not only military personnel facing these issues, but many students and those without dependable shelter lack access to necessary items and basic utilities. These circumstances made menstruation anything but an unwelcome struggle.

"Living in the field and looking forward to going home, I realized that some people may not know when or if they will ever go home," says Daniels. "People experiencing homelessness experience the same problem with little access to toilets, electricity, and running water; that's why Courtesy Cups has a mission to give back by donating one cup for every cup purchased. We believe that together we can end period poverty."

Courtesy Cups is entering its discovery phase, as Daniels is still researching and analyzing the needs of her product and customer base. By placing in two entrepreneurship competitions: the Zip Pitch competition organized by UA's EX[L] Center and Stark Tank, Courtesy Cups product has already gained recognition in its hometown. They also completed the regional I-Corps Med Tech & Healthcare Accelerator through the National Science Foundation.

Courtesy Cups will be released to the military first. As of now, Daniels applied her products for the STRIDE program of the University Akron Research Foundation to secure funding for public releases. She also expects Courtesy Cups will appeal to "hikers, backpackers, and adventurers"

"Ending period poverty starts with talking about it," she says. "In our backyard teens are missing school days, making improvised protection, and even resorting to stealing these necessities. Destigmatizing menstruation means we can help more people overcome period poverty. With every conversation and pitch, we're making a difference, but I can't wait to get this product into the hands of someone who needs it."

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