WHEN friends Aine Kilkenny, Fiona Parfrey, and Lauren Duggan launched Riley last year from a garage in Schull they had no idea of the 12-month whirlwind that lay ahead.
Riley, an eco-friendly period product subscription service, was founded on the belief that people deserve a healthy, sustainable solution to their period that also fits their lifestyle. Selling their homes and other businesses to fund the project, the three women went all in and quit full-time jobs to focus on Riley.
During their first year in business, Riley has served over 10,000 menstrual cycles and saved 612,593 products from ending up in landfill, as their products are compostable breaking down within one year. The founders raised €475k in funding and started growing the team so that they can focus on expanding across Europe. Now with two distribution centres and an office space on Leeson Street in Dublin, it’s a far cry from the garage they launched from just one year ago.
Fiona Parfrey, Riley co-founder said: ‘We see period products as a basic human right but unfortunately many people cannot afford them. Having witnessed first-hand the damaging effects of period poverty on young girls in Kenya, specifically when it comes to missing school, we knew fighting this had to be a core part of our business.’
Riley donates €1 from every sale to fighting period poverty. The startup has partnered with volunteer-led grassroots initiative Positive Period Ireland to provide sanitary products to homeless shelters and direct provision centres. They have also teamed up with Development Pamoja, an Irish registered charity based in Kenya, to donate products to young girls and to run a menstrual education programme. Since launching last year, Riley has donated 14,501 pads and funded menstrual education of over 1,500 students with doctor-led school visits.
Riley also works with universities and businesses who wish to provide their staff and students with free sanitary products. Co-founder Lauren Duggan noted: ‘It’s great to see companies of all sizes investing in employee wellness. We’re proudly partnered with Merck, Education Training Boards Ireland and Mark Anthony Brands, to name a few, and we’re hoping many more employers see the benefits of making this small step in the near future.’
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the company will continue to hire and expand into other markets, as well as focusing on new product development to further improve the lives of their target market.