Yvette Shum’s mission is to make menstrual products more “accessible and environmentally friendly” for all New Zealand women.

After four years of planning, the Dunedin woman launched her reusable menstrual cups, Coral Cones, on the market last week.

Ms Shum started designing the mugs – with help from Heather Cunningham – in 2018, right after her daughter was born.

The inspiration for the name of the cups came after volunteering for a project in a coral reef on a small group of islands in Indonesia.

Everyone who has their period has created around 200kg of waste in their lifetime and most ended up in landfill, Ms. Shum said.

“I was like, well, I could try to change that,” she said.

The development phase took a while because Ms. Shum wanted to make sure they got it right.

“We really wanted to put our money where our mouth is, so we had to get it right,” she said.

Ms Shum participated in Startup Dunedin’s incubator program this year – which she says gave her the necessary business skills.

“It gave me the momentum and the support I needed to get started,” she said.

Until now, the coral cones – which were made in Waikato – were only available online, but Ms Shum wanted to expand the sale to wholesale retailers and possibly internationally.

Ms. Shum considered herself a “solopreneur”: she created and managed the business herself.

“I’m wearing all hats right now,” she said.

After a busy few days after the launch, Ms. Shum wants to rest for a few days.

“I neglected a load of laundry that needs to be folded and a haircut wouldn’t bother me either,” she said.

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