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23 May 2013 @ 04:48 pm
I have a question.

I have recently put a lot of research into ordering my first menstrual cup. I picked the Meluna Classic I can't wait for it to get here!

The question I asked myself over and over while looking into all the different products is Why do menstrual cups seam to be nearly exclusively European? I know that the keeper, moon cup, and diva cup are American but three is a very small percent of the numerous brands of cups that are out there. Even these brand seem to be harder to get than I would like. How have cups gained so much popularity in Europe with so very little in the US? I am just confused as to how I have never herd of menstrual cups until my 20’s. Why is it that there are pad/tampon commercials on tv during almost every commercial break but there is not a single menstrual cup company advertising in America? and why can’t go in Walmart or local drugstore and buy a menstrual cup? Do you think this is in our future for them to be more widely available? Why isn't it all ready a reality? What is the difference in our cultures American and European for the difference in popularity? My last question is their any US company/store/website that I can order European cups from.
juliiie87juliiie87 on May 23rd, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
Actually Divacup is Canadian and the reason it's SO POPULAR in the US is a mystery, other than they have great marketing and they also were the first silicone cup on the american market, so they still pretend like they're the only silicone menstrual cup ever. Mooncup (UK) was the first. Keeper was before that and is american. There are tons of places to buy cups from in the US, but mostly Wholefoods or online, and only FDA approved brands are allowed : Lunette, Sckoon, Mooncup and the 2 other northern american ones.

Why you don't see ads on TV ? there's been quite a few discussions about that before, check the tags. But in short, part of that is capitalism. Disposables make more profit by imposing a monthly tax on menstruators. Part of it is brainwash induced by decades of marketing : "EEEEWWW periods are sooo gross, touching your own blood and reusing THAAAT? You must be out of your mind. Let's hide it in a bleached white medical bandaid and throw it away asap". Just look at those commercials. And it's true, the first disposable "sanitary" protections were invented to provide a new market for bandages companies after WWI. Another reason is squimeashness of TV, which, as I hear, don't even show actual tampons out of their applicator on american TV. Go advertise for a cup! And you know, advertising on TV is like, way expensive. Back to the profit issue. Most companies simply can't afford it.

Cups aren't even THAT common here in Europe. In fact, my pharmacist had to look it up in her book and said they could perhaps order a Mooncup for me... and at what price. Thanks, but no thanks. You can sometimes find them in hippie health food stores in France though, and at Boots, which is the biggest pharmacy chain in the UK. But just one or 2 brands. However, new brands are being launched virtually every month it seems lately, so yes, definitely the market seems to be growing fast, and I think it's the future. But mentalities have to come a long way from all the sqeamishness. Besides the people I've converted, I only met 2 girls who told me they used a cup. One possible difference between here and the US though, is the fact that non-applicator tampons are a lot more common (and cheaper, considering Tampax has a near monopoly on applicator tampons, which... urgh, I'm so glad I'm not sponsoring them anymore!!).

...vast topic but that's all I can think of for now.
melissa569melissa569 on May 24th, 2013 01:26 pm (UTC)
juliiie87-- pretty much the most awesome comment EVER!!! lol. :)

But to the OP I will say:

1. I think they are about equal in popularity in Europe vs. America, because I still get emails from LOTS of Europeans saying they have never heard of them.

2. Its true, cup companies are not on TV (yet) because they do not get as much "repeat business" as the disposables. Most of their money goes into making the product, not advertizing. TV commercials are ungodly expensive, lol. Also, cups have to be manufactured by hand in a sterile room. This requires more money and less "mass production". Whereas disposables are produced by large (and I think unsanitary) machines.

3. Mmmm... Don't think you're gonna find the European (or other nationality) brands being sold by American retailers any time soon (with the exception of Lunette). This is because American retailers are not allowed to sell a menstrual cup that is not cleared by the FDA. And 90% of cup companies are not. FDA approval is HORRIBLY expensive and lengthy. Its a major investment. Many cup companies just don't see the point, especially when Americans are allowed to purchase any brand of cup they want online and have it shipped to America for their own personal use (its just illegal for American sellers to sell them without FDA approval).

Now granted, I kinda roll my eyes and sigh "woop-dee-doo" when a company brags of their FDA approval. Quite frankly, I think the cups from other countries are every bit as excellent quality as the FDA approved ones, and even better in some cases! That's because I-- and many other individuals, along with law makers in other countries-- do not necessarily consider the FDA to have very high health standards. In fact, some other countries don't even consider FDA's approval valid. I certainly don't consider the FDA to be the home base of "safe products", seeing as how they will pretty much approve any company/item who is just willing to pay their big fees, and hasn't killed anyone (yet) lol. and of course some of the things they have approved turned out to be detrimental to our health. So I kinda think the FDA approval law is a downright silly one...

Maybe I just feel that way because I would truly looooooooove to carry every cup brand on this earth! lol. Or maybe it makes perfect sense that some laws are just useless. Or both.

But sadly, I do not rule the world... Hehehehe. I better stop now, I'm starting to sound narcissistic :D

Edited at 2013-05-24 01:34 pm (UTC)
juliiie87juliiie87 on May 24th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks Melissa. Great minds think alike. ;)
Sayga: sp-camerasayga on May 23rd, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
I believe that the lack of cups/cup use/cup awareness in the US is due to 2 main issues.
1. Getting people hooked on disposable products means a constant income stream to the company. Reusable products are not as big money makers. After all, I've had my 2 cups since 2006 and 2008, and am only just now in the market for a new one (and not because they're broken, just because I figure it's about time).
2. Americans are, it sometimes seems, more hung up on body functions, "hygiene" and the "ick factor" than people in other countries. Hygiene is in quotes because I think the cup is way more hygienic than pads and tampons, but people seriously think I'm nuts when I talk about the cup. They think it's gross, dirty, icky, weird, and that people who use them must be tree-hugging hippies (well, I AM a tree hugging hippy but that isn't even my primary motivation for using the cup).
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on May 24th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Also, there's the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration, a federal governing organization. Menstrual products are "Class II Medical Devices" with "Performance Standards" (whatever that means.) And to sell cups here in the US, the manufacturers (even international ones) have to go through the approval process.

Just because a cup is "made of FDA approved silicone" doesn't mean the cup itself has FDA approval. Cups made internationally can still be imported to the US for personal use but not for retail sale.

I assume that getting FDA approval means reams and reams of legal paperwork and the costs involved with that plus the fees, taxes and other costs to the Federal Government for giving the thumbs up. Big corporations like those behind tampons and pads can afford the costs involved for the bazillions of units of those disposables that they will sell. Cup companies, however, are usually small enterprises without the initial resources or repeat-business profits that would come from disposables. It just doesn't pay for them to do business through US retailers (whether they're made here in the States or elsewhere.)
trejoytrejoy on May 24th, 2013 05:05 am (UTC)
The others have done a lovely job of explaining why we don't have advertising or great retail selection in the USA.

As far as ordering cups from outside the US: You can order directly from cup company websites, though my order from Fleurcup.com was held up in customs and took a month to reach me. I am currently waiting on a shipment from Menstrualcup.co (a drop shipper). I bought a Si-Bell via Femininewear.co.uk and a Ladycup through Amazon, both delivered relatively quickly.
okwaho_okaraokwaho_okara on May 24th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
Just curious, when did you order your Fleurcup that it was delayed?? Are you in the US or outside of it?? I'm just curious because I'm in the US and I ordered my 2 Fleurcups and got them about a week later.
teacupcake89 on May 24th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
I'm not the OP, but both my 2 Fleurcup orders, and over a dozen friends who have ordered them took Minimum 10 days, average 2-3 weeks to arrive to the UK, all at different points of the year. :( very annoying as Femininewear orders come 2-3 days!
pascallewest on May 24th, 2013 04:01 pm (UTC)
I'm on the west coast of the US, ordered from Fleurcup website and Melunas from menstrualcup.co and received both orders in about 10 days. Interesting the shorter delivery time to go such a longer distance!
okwaho_okaraokwaho_okara on May 25th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Crazy!!! Mine was like 9 days max if I remember correctly. I am on the East Coast.
trejoytrejoy on May 25th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC)
I ordered from Fleurcup mid-March and it arrived mid-April ~ I'm in Arizona. MeLuna, LadyCup and the Femininewear shipments came in less than two weeks.

Edited at 2013-05-25 03:09 am (UTC)
okwaho_okaraokwaho_okara on May 25th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
That is weird :( I am on the East Coast and mine came in 9 days max if I remember correctly.
djehutys_wisdom on May 24th, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
Make that 5!
Don't forget about SckoonCup and FemmyCycle!

SckoonCup is made by Sckoon Organics, who also make cloth pads and other such things. FemmyCycle is made by the same company that makes the FemmeCap cervical cap. Both are made in the USA.

I myself own three Lunettes and a SckoonCup. I am not quite sure why it took so long for US companies to get in on the menstrual cup scene, but it may be related to the difficult history of menstrual cups in general here (like the Tassette, Foldene, and Tassaway). It may also be that since DivaCup has solidly covered the market (it's sold in many organic/health food stores as well as many bigger chain stores), and Keeper/Mooncup has been so lawsuit-happy, it may have been seen as too difficult a market to break into.

Edited at 2013-05-24 04:55 pm (UTC)
melissa569melissa569 on May 25th, 2013 08:57 am (UTC)
Re: Make that 5!
Oh yeah that's right! So makes 6 FDA-approved cup brands that can be sold in the USA:

Keeper/Moon Cup

:) we are coming up in the world
m03m on May 24th, 2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
I don't actually think that cups are all that popular here. I've never seen one in a brick-and-mortar store; most people don't know about them. I don't consider them to be mainstream.
It may just seem that way from where you sit, because all these European (and other non-US) brands are popping up; keep in mind, though, that these are all separate countries. Italy has several brands, but France has only one and the Netherlands has none. The US has more brands, in other words, than most of the European countries. Because most have none.

I think that Divacup and Keeper/Mooncup did such a great job at covering the market, each of them pretenting to be the only game in town, that it's harder for new companies to get a foot in the door on your continent. Over here, there is no one brand that's all over the place. So new companies can try their hand at making a cup of their own.

Does any of this help?