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Vilmante Markeviciene Answers Our Prayers with Stylish, Organic Period Panties

Vilmante Markeviciene grew up in the Baltic state of Lithuania with just one dream – to create something new and amazing that would help women everywhere live life comfortably. Combining her sewing skills and degrees in Business Administration and Interior Design Vilmante produced a special line of organic (not to mention, sexy) period panties.

In a lengthy email exchange, Vilmante filled me in on her organic, comfy collection.

HC: What gave you the idea to create your own “organic period panties?”

Vilmante: “First, it was my daughter embarrassed of her periods, especially when she needed to change her clothes before and after the gym at the school. Then I thought about myself, whenever I go to get a massage or whenever I’m shopping and trying clothes on in the fitting rooms. Since I was already working with organic sanitary napkins, I wanted to create the panties to match our pads and to hide the pad wings. That’s how idea of the crotch with wing pockets came up. On my search for the fabric I knew that synthetic fabrics are not very good for our skin down there, and our pads do not stick very well to such fabrics. I wanted organic, soft, very comfortable, air permeable fabric for my EiVi panties that can be worn during menstruation or every day. Fortunately, I found a great factory which makes its own jersey fabrics and has experience making underwear.”

HC: Could you tell us a little bit about the EiVi line?

Vilmante: “As a token of the successful mother/daughter collaboration, we have named the new underwear collection –  EiVi [pronounced: a-vee], which is a portmanteau of our respective first names: Eiva + Vilmante. With the EiVi line I have designed three models of panties for every woman available in any shape and size. There is a sexy model with lace – Cheekini, or very comfy Hipster – which is the best for period days since it has good coverage and a higher waist line; women of all sizes can feel comfortable in it. There is also a sports style Hiphugger to provide coverage and comfort. We offer extra-small to double XL. Since panties are so comfortable, I decided to add a matching bra, to have a comfy feeling not only for our bottoms, but also for our breasts. I don’t know if it is just me or my intuition that more and more women want to have something breathable, and more natural for the bra. So I’ve added two styles of an organic cotton bra, one with lace to match the laced panties and a sports bra to match the Hiphuggers. We offer extra-small to extra-large in bra sizes.”

HC: What makes your product different from the competitors?

Vilmante: “There are many period panties, where you do not even have to use any pads or tampons. I tried them also, but it is not for me. I do not like the moist feeling and it is not convenient since it cannot be changed as often as you can change a pad or tampon. The EiVi line provides a different kind of comfort and protection. It’s designed to wear with Genial Day pads; the panties can be also worn as regular panties for everyday use. Cotton underwear are recommended by doctors, it’s soft and gentle on the skin, it absorbs and wicks away perspiration, and it has good breathability evaporating moisture that might otherwise be trapped by synthetic fabric encouraging the growth of bacteria that causes skin irritation and infections. This is especially important for women who experience vaginal infections and skin irritation often.”

HC: When did you decide to launch Genial Day [Gentle Day]?

Vilmante: “Me and my husband we launched Gentle day in 2009 in Lithuania, Europe. After seven years of success, we decided to launch the Genial Day brand in the United States. We used to live in the U.S. for five years, and it is still like our second home, so we are familiar with the U.S. market. We receive a lot of great reviews and thank you notes from women because our products helped them to get rid of allergies, and pain during menstruation while using our pads and liners. We believe in our products, and we hope it will also help a lot of women in the U.S. to change how they feel about menstruation.”

HC: You mentioned that Genial Day is a family-owned business, who else works with you on this project?

Vilmante: “Yes. It is family owned business – me and my husband we’ve always worked together on this. We also try to involve our kids (son who is 19 and a daughter who is 15) in our business. I am very passionate in developing new products and designing the packaging, ads, and marketing. My husband works with the numbers, planning, and sales –  all that stuff I don’t like. We also have a staff of five employees, and distributors in different European countries to distribute Gentle Day there. We have a partner in the U.S. who takes care of Genial Day while we are away. Thanks to modern technology we can work with the U.S. from a distance.”

HC: What exactly is SilverPlus?

Vilmante: “Silverplus® (silver ions) is a fabric finish which is applied to the fabric along with the dyes, so it sets quite deeply in the fabric and cannot be washed out. This finish is developed by a German company and is EPA-registered, and certified by OEKO-TEX®-Standard 100 and bluesign® I chose this finish so women can stay hygienic, have protection, and freshness during menstruation or for everyday life. It protects from bad odor and bacteria. It does not do any harm to the environment.”

HC: What does the future of Genial Day look like? I see you currently have three styles of panties; do you think the brand will expand?

Vilmante: “In the meantime we already have Genial Day eco-certified super absorbent sanitary napkins with Anion strips available online for U.S. customers. We believe that our sanitary napkins will be available on the shelves of organic stores and supermarkets (our biggest goal is Whole Foods) and drug stores, that’s what we’re striving for. With EiVi underwear we are hoping for a successful Kickstarter campaign. Since this project is very new to us, it is hard to predict what will happen with EiVi. But we will definitely have underwear available sooner or later.”

“We are planning to expand our range of products related to women’s hygiene including organic cotton tampons, wet wipes, and menstrual cups. We want to bring hygiene products to suit every woman’s needs that are safe and free of harmful chemicals. As for the future of Genial Day, we hope it will be bright and like what we have in Europe now. Gentle Day (European brand), became a TOP organic brand in hygiene category in Lithuania. We hope for the same success here, but we understand the challenges of a huge market and we know it will not be easy, especially for such small company as we are. But we are ready to roll and accept the challenges.”

HC: As far as product sales go, have you reached out to department/women’s health stores? If so, where can we find your products?

Vilmante: “We are trying to reach the stores and distributors, but since we opened our office only in August, we are quite new there and it will take time. In the meantime, only Genial Day sanitary napkins can be found online, as well as on Amazon and Ebay. We do not have EiVi underwear in the U.S. yet.”

HC: Will you be creating organic tampons as well?

Vilmante: “There are a lot of women who use tampons nowadays, therefor we want to provide organic cotton tampons. Right now, we are working on creating tampons with plant based plastic applicators, but it takes time to get a finished product. For those women who want an alternative for tampons or pads, and are looking for friendliest solution to environment we will provide menstrual cups made with medical grade TPE (thermoplastic elastomer).”

Tabitha Britt

New School '18

Tabitha Britt (formerly Tabitha Shiflett) was the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Correspondent of Her Campus at The New School between August 2016 - January 2018. Tabitha graduated from The New School of Social Research on January 31, 2018. She's also a graduate of the Dub (The University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNCW) where she held the position of Managing Editor for the UNCW HC team. You can find her byline in a variety of publications including CBS Local, Taste of Home, Luna Luna, Thought Catalog, and Elite Daily. See more at www.tabithashiflett.com.
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