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Interview: Sage Mellet on Peach Pack, reducing stigma around periods, and more.

Interview: Sage Mellet on Peach Pack, reducing stigma around periods, and more.

After starting their business Peach Pack together last year, Sage Mellet and her best friend Alyssa realised that the company they had created - which is a monthly sanitary product subscription service - was not only providing important products, but also creating a community in which people who experience a monthly period can feel empowered, relate to other people on their period, and help a conversation where periods and menstruation becomes less stigmatised.

The business not only works to make menstrual hygiene more accessible for everyone (their service is only available in Australia currently but has plans to expand elsewhere), but with every purchase of a pack, one is donated through Share The Dignity to a person in need.

Outside of Peach Pack, Mellet is still studying towards a Media Communications degree in Melbourne (though has taken a break for this semester to focus on the business), as well as supporting her brother Troye Sivan - from attending the Golden Globes with him earlier this year, to following his European leg of the ‘Bloom’ tour at the moment.

We caught up with Sage over the phone last month to discuss what she’s hoping to achieve with Peach Pack, the importance of raising awareness around menstruation, and more…

Breaking the stigma, giving back, representing Australian female brands, those things are all so central to Peach Pack - we couldn’t imagine doing it without those things.

COUP DE MAIN: When did you first decide that you wanted to start a company like Peach Pack?
SAGE MELLET: It’s actually a funny story, that my best friend and I are so similar in every way. She was dating this guy and he is very entrepreneurial, and this one day we were having coffee and he was like, “I was thinking about the subscription industry and what people need monthly,” and he mentioned girls needing sanitary items. We were like, ‘Oh, that’s so true!’ And he kind of just told us that, ‘You guys are so passionate about feminism, maybe you should brainstorm.’ We were like, ‘Oh my god, 100%,’ we’re always speaking about our periods and it being taboo, so we kind of imagined delivering pads and tampons to people without them having to think about it, without them having to realise that they’ve gotten their period and they have no products - we could just deliver it to them. We started initially just speaking about that, then we started brainstorming and came up with the self-love item, and it just grew from this conversation with my best friend.
CDM: It’s funny that it came about from a guy mentioning it - considering a lot of the time they don’t want to talk about periods.
SAGE: I know, we laugh about it all the time! He told us about the subscription business, and he was like, ‘This is very much a girl-thing, you should just take it on.’

CDM: What’s involved in the day-to-day running of Peach Pack?
SAGE: We launched it about three months ago, and we’re both university students and have work, and other commitments too.
CDM: What are you studying at University?
SAGE: I’m studying at Melbourne University, studying Media Communications. So we’re both studying and when we launched it, we were trying to spend a lot of time on it, but at the same time we had a lot of other things going on. So we weren’t spending every day on it. But since we’ve launched it, I’m taking this semester off so we can focus on it every day. In what we actually do in the day-to-day, we deliver the boxes twice a month - so people get to choose whether they want their pack to arrive at the beginning of the month or the middle of the month. On the first of the month we pack all the boxes for people who want it then, and then in the middle of the month we pack the second round of boxes. The labour part is those two days, and the other stuff is just all online. It’s e-mailing brands that we want to partner with for the pack, speaking to different shipping companies, all logistical things are pretty much all online.
CDM: It’s so cool that so much of it can be done online.
SAGE: It’s so true - it’s pretty much just e-mails. So that’s pretty much what we do day-to-day.

CDM: How do you and your business partner Alyssa split the workload of the company?
SAGE: At the beginning we kind of did everything together. But over time, I think naturally in our own way we’ve leant towards different things. I like more of the social media side of it, connecting with brands, that type of stuff, and Alyssa is very much responsive on e-mails, trying to get in contact with other business people that can give us advice. It naturally happened that we do different things, but at the same time we’re not strict about it, we work together.
CDM: It’s always nice having another person you can talk to about stuff to do with work, and brainstorming.
SAGE: That’s so true. It’s so funny - everyone who meets us are like, ‘You guys are so similar!’, and we really are. It’s good and it’s bad, because we also like doing the same thing - I guess it’s not bad at all.
CDM: Maybe you won’t have as many arguments then!
SAGE: Yes. We always say we’re just people pleasers, so it’s hard for one of us to demand things from the other, because we’re just like, ‘It’s okay, it’s chill.’ But it’s great having her. I couldn’t imagine not doing it with her.

CDM: Menstruation, and having your period has been such a taboo subject in society over the years - and it’s so cool to see a company helping to reduce the stigma. Do you think its important to be able to have honest conversations about periods?
SAGE: Yeah. When brainstorming what Peach Pack was going to be, central to the pack more so than the physical box, is what it represents. Alyssa and I, we’ve had so many conversations with our friends over the past few years, between the ages of 20-21, we’ve spoken about our periods - it felt so freeing. We love having those conversations, and we were saying, ‘Imagine how much better we would have felt if at the age of 12 when we got our periods, if we knew that they were normal things, that we had people to talk to.’ So part of the pack is that people feel like they’re a part of this peach community, and they can talk about their periods, they can talk about the shit things that come with it!
CDM: Cramps, the most relatable thing of all.
SAGE: Exactly! We can completely empathise with each other. It’s just so important to talk about and break that stigma. With the growth of Peach Pack, we really want to grow the community with it, to keep talking about these things.

CDM: Do you think the way that we talk about menstruation is changing, compared to how it was, say ten years ago?
SAGE: Yeah! I think so. I think we’ve come a long way, even speaking to my friends about it. Back when I got my period I was so embarrassed about it, I was one of the first in my friends to get it, and I had no-one to speak to about it, I would hide my pads in the sleeves of my jumper at school.
CDM: I remember my mum put pads in my school-bag when I started going to school, and I was like, ‘What is this?!’
SAGE: <laughs> I’m 21 now, so I can definitely say it’s changed for me personally. I wonder how 12/13-year-old girls feel now. I definitely think it’s changed, especially online, and women are more empowered and are speaking about it. But I think we still have a long way to go.

CDM: In New Zealand too, people are currently fighting for taxes not to be charged on sanitary products - I know they cut it in Australia last year.
SAGE: The whole stigma around it has caused so many external factors as well. The fact that it was being taxed, up until a few months ago - it’s just crazy. The more we speak about these things, and the more we normalise it, I guess we’ll get rid of these unnecessary things affecting it. It was so great to see when they happened.
CDM: I’m hoping it’ll eventually happen in New Zealand too.
SAGE: I hope so too!

CDM: When you were starting Peach Pack, was having the charity element of it (with Share The Dignity) something that you always wanted to do?
SAGE: Definitely. The charitable aspect of Peach Pack immediately came about as soon as we started brainstorming what we wanted it to be. Alyssa and I were talking about it and we said, ‘We can’t imagine running this business, if at the centre of it there wasn’t our values.’ Breaking the stigma, giving back, representing Australian female brands, those things are all so central to Peach Pack - we couldn’t imagine doing it without those things. So we work with Share The Dignity, and we are soon going to be using Tsuno products in our new product. They work with One Girl, they provide funds to girls who don’t have access to education. In every way, we’re trying to be as intentional as we can.

CDM: The sustainability around sanitary products is another hugely debated issue at the moment - so it’s rad that Peach Pack is made using sustainable and organic products. Was that another thing important to you guys starting out?
SAGE: 100%. That’s another value that we really wanted to uphold. It’s really not hard to use sustainable products - it may be a bit more expensive, but it’s just 100% worth it in our eyes. That’s the future, and if we can help save the environment we’re not going to miss out on that opportunity.
CDM: It’s such an intimate product, so the idea of not having anything sustainable or organic is kind of crazy.
SAGE: Exactly. When you’re young, you assume that the things that you’re putting into your body, the products people are making, are fine to put in your body. It’s shocking to know that some products aren’t.

CDM: Do you have plans to launch Peach Pack in other countries around the world as well?
SAGE: That’s definitely one of our goals coming up this year - like I said, I’m taking this semester off University, so that’s definitely a plan of ours to expand internationally. Definitely to New Zealand! I feel like we’re pretty much brother and sister countries.

CDM: If S.A.G.E. was an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
SAGE: Oohhh, that is a good question. I reckon, Sentimental - I’m definitely a sentimental person. I’m going to say Adventurous, I’m not adventurous right now but it’s something that I put in my goals this year. G is probably gullible, I’ll believe anything you tell me. E, I’m very emotional. I’ll cry at the click of my fingers. <laughs>

CDM: What are five songs you can’t stop listening to right now?
SAGE: I’m looking at my playlist now. One of them is ‘Don’t Feel Like Crying’ by Sigrid, ‘Soaked’ by Bene, ‘Light On’ by Maggie Rogers, ‘Bury A Friend’ by Billie Eilish.
CDM: I love all these women!
SAGE: I was speaking about this to my boyfriend, and I was saying that I solely listen to female artists, besides my brothers! A song I’ve been revisiting is the remix of ‘Homemade Dynamite’ with SZA and Khalid and Post Malone. It’s so good!

Peach Pack is currently available for monthly subscriptions in Australia - click here for more information.

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