We absolutely love businesswoman Martha Silcott and the story of how FabLittleBag came about! We’re almost certain that if you suffer with periods, then you will at some point of your life be in need of her product.
Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand FabLittleBag
Rather unglamorously, it all started on the toilet! Whilst at a friends house for a dinner party, I was on my period and needed to use their down stairs loo to change my tampon; I am a Binner so I did the ‘Loo Roll Wrap’ and went to put it in the bin… only to find that there was no bin! After ten seconds of panic I decided to wrap it up some more and did the ‘Sleeve Smuggle’ followed by the ‘Handbag Smuggle’, I was relieved that the wine was flowing and hoped that no-one had seen! Suffice to say it really ruined my night worrying about what was going on in my handbag… I was convinced that there must be a better, less awkward and less stressful way to dispose, but there wasn’t! So I invented one and FabLittleBag was born.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
There have been too many to single one out! At first the biggest challenge was inventing a bag that opened with one hand, then it was trying to find a manufacturer to make it, then it was finding a retailer to sell it…. I have to say that the combination of Covid and Brexit has been very hard, in fact Brexit has had more of a negative impact than Covid in someways due to the amount of red tape, unknowns, huge expense, and extra education we have had to invest simply to sell in the EU. We overcame all of these challenges by having a “I will not be defeated” attitude, and our utter belief in the value of FabLittleBag both to our customers experience and wellbeing, and the rivers, oceans and beaches in terms of reducing the pollution impact of flushed period products.
If you were to describe your business mantra in three words, what would they be?
What advice would you offer anyone interested in venturing into the world of sustainable menstrual products?
Hmmm, a hard one as it is actually a pretty crowded market in terms of organic products for example. When I first launched FabLittleBag 5 years ago there was basically one organic brand, now there are over 25! There are many reusable pads brands, and an increasing number of cups and period pants. Unless you offer something truly unique I would question if it is worth the effort needed…. If you do go ahead, please do not greenwash, be open and honest about the ingredients and the cradle to grave journey of your product. Bear in mind there is no such thing as the perfect material or ingredient either, it is always about balancing the effectiveness of the product with the environmental impact.
Talk us through an average business day in your life…
Ha! There is no such thing! Any one day can include the high of learning that you got a big order, or have won an award, to hearing that your stock is stuck on a ship whilst you run out of stock in the warehouse, to getting amazing customer emails and reviews which make you tingle, to an IT meltdown, stock being lost in transit, or a big deal falling through. All the while having to make a plethora of decisions from the minutiae to hugely strategic ones!
Business can be an upward struggle at times, what do you do to stay positive?
I say my mantra: This Too Will Pass!! Remind myself to breathe, it’s Amazing how shallow your breath gets when stressed! My small but perfect team are positive people and we all pick each other up when the struggles hit. I do affirmations too but not as frequently as I should.
What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?
Just one more step… or There’s along way to go …BUT look how far we have come!
How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
A lot, it does with any brand these days, we rely a lot on word of mouth as we do not have big marketing budgets.
How do you want people to feel when they first see and use your bags?
Relieved that there is now a solution and delighted that it feels so good to use!
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list, and would you take your period disposal bags travelling with you?
I went to Bali over 25 years ago and I would love to go back, the sea is what I miss so much, I would love to live by the sea ( a warm sea preferably!) Mind you I also want to go to Vietnam, South Africa and the Nordic countries as I have never been.
ABSOLUTELY! FabLittleBags are essential for travelling as one never quite knows when your period may arrive and having them means that whatever type of trip you have; adventurous, where access to toilets maybe hard, or chilled out luxury, where binning can just feel awkward and icky, knowing that you can bin with ease, discretion and good hygiene is so reassuring.
What’s next for you and your brand?
Growth expansion and new products! We have some very exciting news coming out soon about FLB’s involvement in sports, and a new product finally bringing the combination of sustainability and dignity to the disposal of nappies, incontinence products and personal medical items such as ostomy bags. Stay tuned!
Where can people find out more about FabLittleBag?
FabLittleBag has a lot of info on it, we also retail at Boots.com, Ocado, Amazon, and in the USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan!