A mother-daughter business team from Burlington have launched a new venture offering emergency period kits for tweens. Jennifer DeFrenza and her 10-year-old daughter, Talia, started making the kits at the end of the summer.
"It kind of happened by accident," Jennifer said. "Talia is in Grade 5 and we started talking about periods."
The two decided Talia should carry a small kit, just in case her period started at school. "I thought this would be an easy thing to go and buy online, a little kit," Jennifer said. But she soon found those available were very expensive or too big and impractical for what they wanted.
So Talia and her mother decided they would make one. "I found some of the bags online and they came in a four-pack for the colour she wanted and approved," Jennifer said.
Talia suggested some additions like "cool" Band-Aids, hair ties, dental floss, a nail file and a flushable wipe. "Just things she thought she might need at school," Jennifer said. "We just kind of curated it one day on a Saturday morning. We put it all together and it looked really cute.
"I had three extra bags so, I shared with friends and around a mom group and everyone was like, 'This is amazing!'"
Word began to spread and, in a matter of two weeks, the entrepreneurs had sold over 100 kits.
The kits have been particularly popular with tween moms who weren't quite sure how to approach the topic with their daughters. The age of first menstruation can range greatly. Most girls typically get their first period between the ages of 10 and 15 but it can vary by years.
It's not uncommon for a girl to be caught out unexpectedly while at school so, an emergency kit could be invaluable. The kits are waterproof, re-usable and discreet.
"The feedback I have gotten is that it is an easy thing to pop in your backpack," Jennifer said. "Some people have bought a couple and put it in their daughter's school bag, dance bag or hockey bag."
The DeFrenzas decided to formalize their business. They came up with the name Girl E Kits - E for emergency - and registered it, then began building a website.
Jennifer's day job is in marketing and she drew on her background but Talia makes most of the design choices as she has a much better idea of what will appeal to her peers. They assemble the kits in a small production area with the help of Talia's seven-year-old sister, Lily.
They will be taking the kits to a number of craft shows in the coming weeks, have started an Etsy shop and are learning to navigate e-commerce. The kits are also available at the Barn Door Studio in Milton.
Talia is keen for their enterprise to grow. "I hope it grows to be a really big business," the budding mini-mogul told BurlingtonToday.
The DeFrenzas are an entrepreneurial family. Dad Marlo runs his own painting company, Nico Interiors, and Mom and Dad are proud that their daughters see running a business as a legitimate career path.
"What really got me excited was moms thanking us for coming up with this," Jennifer said. 'I like that it is supporting my daughter, and younger daughter coming up, to be comfortable talking about periods. I don't want them to feel embarrassed."
In addition to the tween kits, they have developed a dorm room kit, one aimed at Millennials, a mom's kit and an extended kit for expectant mothers to take to the hospital with them. They also offer a donation kit for those who would like to help local women's shelters and charities.
The kits start at $24.99. More information can be found on their website, girlekits.com.