Exclusive: CEO of Sustain Talks Orgasm Equality and Defeating the Tampon Tax

We’ve raved about Sustain Natural, aka the company that actually cares about what you put in your vagina, and recently we had the chance to talk with CEO and Co-Founder Meika Hollender.

Meika and her dad started Sustain together back in 2014 and were determined to create awesome, all-natural products that were good for both you and the environment.

Sustain has everything you need including, tampons and pads, condoms, lube, massage oil, and more. Meika is even coming out with a book for badass babes called Get on Top: Of Your Pleasure, Sexuality & Wellness: A Vagina Revolution to help you take control of your sexual health.

Read on to check out our interview with the girl boss herself.

There is still some debate about whether natural tampons are actually better for your health. Can you squash that debate once and for all?

Let me just first start by saying that all tampons are FDA certified as class II medical devices and are regulated as such. That being said, the FDA does not require tampons to disclose ingredients. Sustain chooses to voluntarily disclose the information about the ingredients we use because we believe ingredients can be an important consideration for products that come into direct contact with sensitive vaginal tissue.

Did you know that the average woman will use between 12,000 and 16,000 tampons in her lifetime?! Women have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies which is why we are transparent about the fact that our tampons are made with one simple ingredient: 100% certified organic cotton, as certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Sustain’s commitment to ingredient disclosure means women with allergies, skin sensitivities or concerns about exposure to potential irritants can make important decisions about their purchase simply by reading the label.

In today’s political climate when reproductive justice is on the forefront, how has Sustain gotten involved?

As a company and as a founder, I am constantly thinking about ways to make an impact, especially in today’s political climate.  But this movement is bigger than any one company.  As a voice in this industry, it’s my responsibility to lead the charge for change and demand full transparency so that all women everywhere can make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. This means working with Period Equity and organizations like Planned Parenthood and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

Sustain currently has a 10%4Women policy, in which you donate 10% of your proceeds to women’s health organizations. What are some of the organizations Sustain has supported so far?

We donate primarily to Planned Parenthood, however, we work with other incredible nonprofits and organizations on specific campaigns and product launches. For example, when we launched our line of organic tampons and pads in May 2017, we felt compelled to do more than just launch product, and so we created a multi-faceted campaign to fight the tampon tax and give back to the organization Girls Helping Girls. Period (GHGP), a non-profit offering low-income women access to menstrual hygiene products. For the first 30 days of Sustain’s period product launch, we matched the dollars we collected in sales tax with a product donation to GHGP.

You have a new book coming out mid-March, Get on Top, which builds on the success of your campaign. Why do you feel like now is the right time for this book?

Coming off the Women’s March, #TimesUp, and #MeToo movements, its clear more than ever that we need to start changing the conversation around sex in order to feel empowered about our sexual identity, choices, and desires.  As the CEO and Co-Founder of Sustain, I have heard stories about sex, relationships, vaginal dryness and so much more from thousands of women, and the common thread among all these conversations was a lack of accurate, sex-positive information. I wrote Get on Top to provide a space for informed, healthy, sex-positive, pro-pleasure information about all things sexual and reproductive health.

We’re particularly excited about your chapter on self-pleasure, which is not talked about nearly enough. Can you give us a little preview of what we can expect?

One thing I’ve learned so clearly over the last 5 years of building Sustain, is the great inequality around pleasure. Women have forever been taught that the purpose of having sex is either to procreate or to please our husbands. So from decades of the way we educate or don’t educate women about sex, we’ve ended up in a world where men demand and expect pleasure in every sexual encounter and women do not. The self-pleasure chapter of the book is about scrapping all that and getting back to the basics of how to achieve pleasure first by yourself and ultimately with a partner. As someone once said, women have been fighting for equality at work, at home, and the next frontier will be in the bedroom #orgasmequality.

You already have a full range of products and now a new book on the way — what’s next for you and Sustain?

Sustain is gearing up to host our first-ever NYC physical experience–  a retail/events pop-up in April to celebrate the Get On Top movement – kind of touring the book, instead of having a book tour. Because the book covers topics ranging from contraception to menstruation to relationships and consent, we thought it would be really cool to host a retail pop-up that embraced these different topics. In addition to being a retail space, we’ll be hosting events, panels, and discussions that will celebrate a different chapter each day.

You can pre-order Meika’s new book, Get on Top, here.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.