Q&A with Danika Revell founder of The Period Place
Meet Danika, she is loud, tenacious, champions the underdog and challenges the system. Cofounder of The Period Place, Danika has set out a big hairy goal for New Zealand to be the first country to achieve period equity by 2030 - in line with the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN.
More urgently, (and this is where you can help) Danika is currently crowdfunding until May 18th to raise $20,000 to create NZ’s first period hub - effectively bringing The Period Place to life.
The hub will smash period stigma through the creation of a physical space dedicated to periods with education, free access to products and resources, and hold the first marketplace for all kiwi reusable brands to show their ranges.
We chat to Dani about where it all began, and how you can help.
Tell us about yourself, and what led you to become the woman you are today.
Imma need longer than one blog post to tell you that! A lot of defiance, frustration at the way things are (in life, relationships, workplaces, the system, the f***ing patriarchy), a hell of a lot of love, more wine and beers then I could count, and an incredible network of friends and family I’ve collected from around the world when I’ve been living in different countries and living in different iterations of myself have all shaped me to be the person I am today, and the kick-ass person I keep trying to be!
Talk to us about TPP, those early days of its inception and what was the deep burning motivator to turn it from ideas to reality.
Those early days were a blur. My co-founder and I both had kids who were mere months old, and we didn’t know what we wanted to do - we just kept going wherever The Period Place was flowing (no period pun intended there!)
We put on events (we paid for The Period Place to exist for over two years, for the website and emails, for events, for everything!) to smash period stigma and showcase periods in public, providing access to experts through our National Period Huis, giving the public access to online reusable period product providers in one physical location, showing up on social media 7 days a week to answer questions and DMs about period health questions and pleas for products - we did it all!
We always wanted to be about big change, systems-level change - and didn’t want to get into delivering period products to people. Then Covid hit and changed everything. We realised we had to pull people out of the river and provide them with products (the “band-aid solution”) while also working structurally upstream to stop them being pushed in the river.
Although we’ve been around for 3 years, really it’s been 1 year we’ve been on this path.
Through sheer force of will and stubbornness I have refused to let The Period Place end, even through two bouts of depression, multiple panic attacks a day and overwhelming anxiety, ante-natal depression that had me feeling suicidal, and a few other f***ing curveballs that have come my way in the last couple of years.
And now, growing team, growing goals, is it a case of the more you do the more you see needs doing? AND how can we help?
We’ve got a core team of 4 now - me and 3 other kick-ass wāhine who mahi HARD every day working on huge secret projects with incredible support from our new board of 8 (people from around Aotearoa who have stepped up to help guide The Period Place from a seriously experienced governance perspective), while also driving around for hours dropping off products to Impact Partners and training them on how to hand out the variety of period products and education we have, to getting up at 6.30am to catch long-lost Uber’s to support me as I communicate our story with media, you name it, they are there.
It’s incredible to have a team you know you can rely on, it’s taken a long time to get here, but damn has it been worth it.
We’ve had a 600% increase in requests for support since last November. I reckon that’s a mix of The Period Place being known around the whole country, thanks to word of mouth and the incredible amount of national news and radio coverage we’re getting, combined with people feeling less ashamed to ask for support.
People have periods, and people need help sometimes to manage them. It’s no biggie - that’s what we’re here to do.
For the last three years, everything we’ve done has been for other people, and while this hub we’re crowdfunding for will still be for everyone, it’s also for us. It’s our dream come true, it’s bringing The Period Place to life, creating the thing that’s been in my head for the last three years, for everyone!
We’re raising $20,000 to pay for a good chunk of the rent for the first year, so we can focus on The Period Place hub and what it needs to do: support people with periods to access free products or purchase products, to provide education to everyone (whether they get a period or not), and to have bloody fun while we’re in there with fundraising events like Bloody Bingo, and Lads and Pads nights!
Every single person or business who donates to the campaign to bring the hub to life will have their name on the wall - everyone who helps us create this space to serve the kaupapa deserves to be in there with us every day too.
and just quickly, why did you choose your Saben Frankie handbag??
Oh honey, I’ve had my eye on the Saben Frankie for YEARS. I wanted to name my second son Frankie James, but we went with James Munro instead (both family names). I needed a proper bloody bag - I’ve been rocking a backpack with everything thrown in the bottom for years, and shit was getting horrible in there.
I picked the Saben Frankie so that way I get to have my James, and my Frankie! At 34, I finally have my first real grownup handbag. Better late than never!
As I said, every bloody person who donates will have their name up on the wall while we mahi in this space.
ABOUT THE PERIOD PLACE HUB
The Period Place will be your place to:
- Smash period stigmaby learning about menstrual health in a safe community space in Onehunga (open to every age + gender!)
- Access free period productsif you cannot afford them
- Purchase reusable period products from kiwi brands (so you can feel before you buy!)
- Attend talks with experts on periods and gender, nutrition, te ao Māori, topics like 'periods in the workplace' + more!
- Access health providers/nurses