Ruth Marsden is founder of Bettercup. This new, beautiful brand creates women’s health products that are not only sustainably made but are also helping tackle the problem of period poverty.
We asked Ruth a few questions to find out a bit more about taking the plunge into running her own business…
Could you tell us a little bit about your background and what life looks like now for you as a family?
I lived in London for the first half of my twenties, working as an actress and just generally enjoying the buzz of London, then at 26, we moved to Brighton and had our eldest son, Jet. My work dried up and I felt a bit lost. Becoming a mum was the most incredible, empowering, soul-shifting experience but within it I also felt like I lost a bit of myself.
I found my thoughts pouring into my lap-top in the middle of those endless-hazy-newborn feeding nights. I set up a very make-shift, clunky Blog and posted from there. I discovered an amazing community of parents on Instagram and found myself sharing more and more on there until it turned into a bit of a job, accidentally!
And that kinda takes us to this year, working ad hoc as a content creator and looking after our two children.
So, can you remember what kick started looking into living in a more sustainable and ethical way and was this pre or post kids?
This was post children, just in the last 3 years or so. The more I was widening the accounts I was following on Instagram and the more I was reading articles about fast fashion and discovering the hard facts about landfill and climate change, I realised that I couldn’t carry on as I had been. If I truly wanted a better future for my children I had to change our lifestyle and significantly decrease the waste we were producing and the amount we were consuming.
Bettercup is a very new venture, what propelled you to take that leap?
I had always judged menstrual cups from afar, they seemed strange and hippy-ish and I had no interest in trying one! It was when my sister gave one a try in early 2019 and told me about her experience that I decided to give one a go. I LOVED it, it completely changed my period.
I found it fascinating. I would consider myself one of the more typical menstrual cup customers and yet I had never considered using one. I wanted to create a beautifully packaged product that would happily sit on your shelf alongside beauty products rather than hidden in a drawer with your eczema cream.
I wanted to help people see that menstrual cups aren’t just better for the planet (one menstrual cup lasts a decade, whereas the average women throws away 10,000 disposable sanitary products in her life) but that they were also better for your body. Tampons and disposable pads are full of chemicals, plastics and synthetic materials, where as a bettercup is just pure, medical grade silicone.
Has trying to build an ethical brand, one that “does what it says on the tin” thrown up any obstacles?
Creating an ethical brand is a much slower process, you have to really seek out the materials, suppliers and products that align with your vision. There are a lot of cheap alternatives and quicker options out there but I wanted to make the best choices for the planet and the customer that I could at every stage.
So, at any point did you feel too overwhelmed to start and if so, what got you over this hurdle?!
Yes! As someone with no business experience I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth constantly. And I still do! For me, what helped is just focusing on the next step, the next line on your To Do list, rather than looking too much at the bigger picture and feeling overwhelmed. Having said that, I also found it helpful to remind myself of the “Why?” the reason and vision for bettercup, to help give some perspective to the overwhelming days.
In your story, you mention that you always had a dream to do this, where do you think this came from?
I think it’s from working as an actress and feeling like your career is always in other peoples’ hands. I wanted to create something that would be my baby and I could nurture and manage in my own way.
What have been the biggest highs and lows for you?
The morning bettercup was launched (May 1st 2020) was a crazy and amazing morning. Within minutes of pressing ‘post’ on Instagram my phone was buzzing as orders started flooding in. It was the most surreal feeling to know that people believed in and trusted a product that I had created.
There have also been a lot of lows too though! As someone very new to business, I have made mistakes at every turn! There have been a lot of “why am I doing this?!” moments!
How have you found being able to juggle family life and a business, and what advice would you give in getting the balance right?
It’s tough, but it’s tough for everyone! There’s no perfect balance. I try and separate my time as clearly as I can so that when I’m with the children I’m not trying to work as well, and vice versa. In the low moments I try and remind myself that I’m doing this for them.
To show them that men and women alike can achieve anything. If I want them to dream big, I first have to dream big for myself.
You can find out more of Ruth’s story in greater detail over on her website www.the-bettercompany.com and follow her on Instagram @_bettercup