It's not very often that you get kudos from your business competitors, but then again, the alternative menstrual products world isn't exactly your average business. I feel compelled to respond to Brenda Mallory's (GladRags' founder, doncha know!) empathetic comment on a recent blog post of mine with more positive thoughts.
It's an interesting coincidence that Brenda and I both started our respective pad-making ventures in 1993. We also share the commonalities of being Moms to "only" (Brenda could probably come up with a more positive term) daughters, as well as being of a creative bent - in my case as a former fashion designer, and in Brenda's as a highly accomplished visual artist, sculptor and teacher. We didn't actually cross paths until 1999 at a crazy trade show and I must say that it was an odd meeting for me, encompassing part looking in the mirror, part curiosity, and part feeling very threatened. It's a shame, the way traditional business-think has us programmed to fear (or even dislike) our competitors, without first relating to them as people.
My initial reaction lasted all of about 30 seconds, and I'm happy to report that today, Suzanne and I are proud to count Brenda as a valued friend and esteemed "compatriot" (Brenda's wonderful term) and that we keep in regular contact. It's frankly liberating to have come to this place. When we fear our so-called competitors, the world becomes very small, scarcity-oriented and us-or-them. In our case, with upwards of 60 million people in North America alone out there as prospective customers, it would be seriously counterproductive to see the game as being about Lunapads vs. GladRags, not to mention that we'd be missing out on an extremely interesting relationship.
So thanks for your support, Brenda, you are a fabulous person who, like the thousands (yes we can!) of others in this natural menstrual dance, is making a positive difference for people and the planet; we're proud to be working with you.