Our feature in the Palisadian Post!
Disrupting The Industry!
Palisades Charter High School alumna Valerie Emanuel, founder of Regenerative International Female LLC, is hoping to create change in the world by launching the first company to market hemp period products, including eco-tampons and maxi pads.
Not only is Emanuel a mother, but she has also been a teacher, as well as the founder of Role Models Management and RIF. She’s a native Angeleno who’s on a mission to change the feminine wellness industry, with a goal for RIF to offer hemp-based carbon negative solutions.
“We hope to change the way companies are producing products for women,” the Class of 2008 graduate shared with the Palisadian-Post
“It took about a year and a half to develop,” Emanuel said on the development of RIF products, which include maxi pads, tampons and reusable pads.
“Over the course of a lifetime, a person who menstruates is predicted to throw away roughly 400 pounds of packaging from menstrual products,” according to a statement shared by Emanuel. “Most tampons, pads and liners are currently made of a mix of cotton and synthetic fibers like rayon. Menstrual pads can contain up to 90% plastic, while nearly all commercial tampon products contain some sort of non-recyclable chemical by-product.
“Most of these toxic ingredients will end up in landfills, sewer systems or in our waterways.”
When developing the tampons and pads, Emanuel was sure to balance costs to the consumer and the environment. The products are created in China, which she explained has the best technology to make the products. According to Emanuel, China has invested more in regenerative technology than anywhere else.
“No one wants to pay $20 for a box of tampons,” she joked, elaborating on the cost efficiency without sacrificing quality.
Hemp is moisture-wicking, has antibacterial properties, is more absorbent and is better for the environment (it’s a carbon-negative crop). Cotton uses a quarter of all chemical pesticides on American crops, she explained.
RIF products are made with clean processes to upgrade the hemp fiber into smooth, cottoned hemp that equals fine cotton in value.
“We’re just making decisions based on what’s available,” Emanuel shared, “and we need better products to be available.”
By providing RIF as an alternative, Emanuel shared that she hopes more people will be able to prioritize their health and wellness, adding “during COVID, consumers became more health conscious.”
She also stressed the specific challenges RIF has faced: Although hemp has been used for thousands of years as a sanitary product, it has associations with weed and cannabis. In fact, Emanuel was unable to advertise on many platforms (including Facebook) because the platforms ban any advertising including hemp, cannabis or weed.
However, hemp does not have any mind-altering properties and has multiple benefits, she explained.
RIF isn’t just helping the environment: The company will donate 2% of its profits toward the Violence Intervention Program in Los Angeles. VIP is dedicated to helping the victims of family violence and sexual assault.
On her time at Pali High, Emanuel shared, “I think that Pali really gave me the creativity to do what I wanted and we always had the resources available to us as students to do whatever we wanted. Not every high school has teachers with experience in the real world. We were really lucky and fortunate to have such amazing teachers and coaches.”
By teaching at other schools, Emanuel was able to gain a deeper understanding of just how unique Pali High is. In fact, she mentioned how some of her Pali teachers were published authors.
“I definitely want to be in a few stores in the Palisades,” Emanuel said about the future of RIF. “I think the Palisades is going to welcome RIF with open arms. The people here really do love health and wellness. We appreciate all the support we’ve received from the community.”
Emanuel also added how stores like Erewhon, with its commitment to wellness and sustainability, would be perfect for RIF products.
She said the business’ kickstarter ended in December and made $52,000. The money was used to place its first order which is currently in production—RIF officially launches in April.
“With RIF we’re really thinking about legacy,” she concluded. “We believe in an open market where we share ideas, especially as women, because we have to work together.”