Mike and I are both owners of House of Callaway - not just me. It might sound weird that I’m saying this but, sometimes, people automatically assume that a man wouldn’t own a business relating to menstrual products or menstruation at all for that matter. I'm not sure why but, when people meet us, they often think that Mike just helps me out or is there as moral support since he's my long-term boyfriend outside of the business. This is not the case, he actually owns half of the business as my formal business partner. He also works on numerous things behind the scenes which, unfortunately, I think contributes to people thinking he doesn't actually work with the business as a permanent thing. I decided, for this blog post, to interview Mike on what it's like for him to work in a primarily "female" industry (I put that in inverted commas since I'm aware of the trans community but menstrual products are still considered by many to be a women-only thing), what he does for the business and how he feels about reusable menstrual products as a whole.
Q: When I first mentioned cloth pads and cups to you, what were your first thoughts? How do they compare to disposables in your opinion?
Mike: When I first heard about them I was surprised that they were a thing. I thought straight away how good of an idea it was to not need to throw out something and use another over and over. I was also surprised by the comfort when you showed me your cloth pads compared with one of your old disposables. I remember my first reaction was how little I’d like to wear a disposable compared with the cloth pad if I were a woman.
Q: Why did you initially agree to partner up with me on this business?
Mike: I thought that more people need to know about reusable products like this, not only to save money, but it's healthier and more environmentally friendly, it's a multi win situation for women really.
Q: What's it like to work on a business where most of the other owners/makers appear to be female?
Mike: I don't mind, I feel like it's good to have a male perspective on things like this because in the end, many women using these products will have a boyfriend/husband. I think it's good to have a positive male perspective on something so they may feel more comfortable about using a reusable option.
Q: What tasks do you normally do for the business?
Mike: I assist with the building and maintenance of the website, the occasional marketing, and assisting with the cutting out of the fabric. I also try to talk to people on social media when I see posts about disposables and their dislikes about them, I let them know that there are reusable options.
Q: How have your friends reacted to you owning and working with House of Callaway?
Mike: I remember being quite surprised about how many people saw the articles about us in the online newspapers. I saw a friend on the bus who I hadn’t spoken to in years and even he had positive things to say about what we are doing. It’s generally been a really good reaction from everyone – both male and female.
Q: What is one thing you'd say to the boyfriends of girls thinking about trying reusables who may be a bit sceptical?
Mike: Don't be bothered by them, women bleed and that’s just part of their life, supporting them in making a better decision about the products they use is a good thing. You'll not only be helping them save money, but also reducing the risks of health problems from tampons and reducing the waste in landfill.