#BEYOUROWN MEETS MASJA BEHZUMI
Selenacup is an innovative and comfortable alternative to tampons and pads.
Selenacup is much more than a product. Their mission is to support women in every period of their life, by creating a community of women who are active, open to changes, making conscious choices, who not only take care of themselves but also of their dreams, fulfilling their passions and living in harmony with themselves.
Masja Behzumi recalls how “I had asked during one of my trips a lady in the US if she had a spare tampon but responded that she was using a cup. I did not know what this meant but googled it when I got back to my hotel room. So I only was made aware of a cup at age 34. While travelling with work again did I run out of tampons and due to where I was, I had to purchase 15 Tampons at €9,95. I was horrified with this and was close to claim it as a company expense, though I decided against claiming it back!”
Driven by optimism and the conviction of female potential to achieve happiness and self-fulfillment. The Selenacup brand ethos believes that every woman can experience the best period of her life if only she dares to follow her inner voice.
Masja continues “However, during a trip to Germany, I saw Selenacup at DM-Markt which is similar to Boots. The cup and packaging spoke to me and I bought one. Gave it a go and had to write an email to the company telling them how much I love their product. As a joke, I added that if they were ever looking for a sales person in Ireland to give me a shout. Well, it went from there. I gave up a well-paid carrier incorporate (power supply market), partnered with New-Systems who developed Selenacup in Austria and formed my own company MaBez in order to build up Selenacup for the English speaking market.”
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
From not being able to get Selenacup listed in the UK to make amazing progress in the last few months and getting noticed by lots of people with periods. A big thank you to John Bell and Croyden in the UK who is the first Pharmacy in the UK stocking us.
How much research did you do on the market prior to launching Selenacup?
My partner company New Systems was asked by one of the biggest retailers to develop a cup and voila!
How is your business funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded ect?
As a healthy, antiallergic alternative to tampons and pads, what is your USP or niche in the market?
Ring stem instead of the standard stem but made from medical silicone. Making removal much easier. Well and also the amazing team behind Selenacup. From medical support to the office team. We do make sure everyone gets the support or advice they need.
Can you talk us through your Selenacups sustainability and the eco-friendly contribution you are making as a brand?
Bringing out Selenacup Zero which will also be available in black. We removed all plastic from packaging and are avoiding any additional leaflets etc.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Having been able to lower VAT from 23% in Ireland which I am working on for months and able to bring cup companies together to make sure cups really become mainstream. Easier if we all did an ad campaign together instead of competing with each other. Every person with periods is different and has different needs of what their cup needs to be like so the more varieties the better. My dream is to go to a store and see as many cup brands and sizes as disposable products.
What are the key tools that you use for your trade?
Social media. Soon more to come. In the middle of launching a bigger campaign for Selenacup Zero and also standard. Watch this space.
What or who inspires and motives you?
Every person that struggles with their period. I suffer from Endo have a very heavy flow and have endured times where I was stuck in board rooms or places where I wasn’t able to change. Experiencing my period has changed completely since using Selenacup and I want to make sure we reach as many people with periods as possible.
What is the number 1 critical business lesson you have learned so far?
Things don’t move as fast as you like. Stay persistent and keep believing in yourself even when some people try to pull the rug from under you.
A highlight in your career so far?
Very simple, every person that shares a pic of having swapped to Selenacup and telling us how much they love it. I live for those, well also a very special person based in the UK that really showed me that the following is not only a lovely Instagram post and also lives by this statement as much as myself: when women support women, amazing things happen.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Staying true to myself, staying on my path and knowing deep down my strategy will pay off.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Getting listed in Super Markets. It will take most another few years to cup on. They would rather sell fidget spinners or more plastic crap than cups. That annoys the sh*t out of me.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
You might think I will mention some mega-mogul or maybe Gary Vaynerchuk I like him but no. Every women and man that have the guts to do something different and stay kind in the process. Its the kindness I admire the most.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I read a tampon box the other day and was wondering why and how they get away with not listing the ingredients or giving an insight on what is required for their manufacturing process.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
Nope, no podcast. Any time I have some time I follow up with the likes of The Vaginablog, The green vagina, Put A Cup In It and all those fantastic outlets on Instagram. After that, I am just done for the day.
How do you define your own success?
Success is relative but I don’t define it. I feel successful just getting dinner on the table for my boys after being on the road all day and checking my son’s homework.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Be my own indeed. Laugh loudly, sit and walk as I want to stay kind and make a difference every day. From lending a helping hand to make sure Ireland will lower the VAT and once able I will make sure a percentage of my profit goes to an environmental campaign.
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
Making sure we keep talking about periods and educating younger generations that periods are like breathing air. Nothing wrong or shameful about it. I will keep talking about my cervix height and my flow as long as it takes or me reaching menopause. Might talk about incontinence and prevention then. A good friend of mine died two years ago of cervical cancer. She did not take regular smear tests so if you read this interview and haven’t had a smear test in a while pls go put it in your calendar and get one done asap.