Visionary #48: NIKKI MICHELSEN AND LEAH REMFRY-PEPLOE of ohne

ohne is a brand that challenges the mainstream beauty industry in style; specialising in tampons and CBD oil resulting in 360 degree pleasant periods that are both kind to the body and the environment. ohne is a kind brand who’s tampons are recyclable all the way from product to applicator, with 100% organic cotton to boot.

The formidable force behind ohne are Nikki Michelsen and Leah Remfry-Peploe; helping women reclaim their health and give a new perspective on what it means to be a woman, all channeled on their online platform fem space. Meet the founders here, as they share their story and approach to their own self care.

Where is home for you?

Leah: Now it’s London, but I’m a country girl at heart as I grew up in Somerset, where my family home is and where my parents are still based. So, deep down, home will always be there.

Nikki: When I was growing up, I didn’t stay in one place for more than three years. Thanks to my parents’ jobs, and then my first couple of jobs out of university, I’ve lived all over the world: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Denmark, Vietnam.

What is ohne all about and what is the message?

ohne is a community-first brand focused on reshaping the way people experience their menstrual cycles. We make a range of organic period products, including the UK’s first pro-period CBD oil, and multi-platform content, with the goal of helping women and people who menstruate feel confident in their skin and equipped with the tools, data, and support they need to manage their cycles. We’re focused on dismantling the boundary between period care and self care.

How did you first begin your journey into women’s health?

L: Honestly, I feel like my passion for it appeared almost overnight – the second I realised what mainstream period products are made of I couldn’t shake the surprise and, well, worry! I felt like I’d been lied to about what I was putting in my body and it just made me wonder how many other products I’d been using were bad for me (and the environment). I dived into research into women’s health and the period product industry more specifically, and pretty much haven’t slowed down since!

N: I worked for an NGO called School Club Zambia, which ohne now partners with. Seeing the work SCZ do firsthand was such a lightbulb moment for me – I realised just how important and devastating period poverty can be and how important education is in not just helping people manage their own periods better but ending the shame that contributes to period poverty and the social stigmatisation of women and girls.

Please tell us more about your work with The School Club Zambia. What excites you the most about that initiative?

The School Club Zambia runs the Girls Programme- focused on helping schoolgirls living in rural Zambia to escape period poverty and stay in school through long-term, sustainable solutions. I’m so excited to see the impact that ohne’s support can have. The most exciting part about working with them is that they are constantly trialing innovative new approaches to combating period poverty and working at a grassroots level with the people in the communities they are helping to develop methods and projects that will effect the most positive change.

How do you hope to take your positive message about periods to the wider world?

We think the most important thing is to foster community – period positivity and education is never going to spread while people don’t feel supported to open up and share their stories. It’s more important to us to create a really strong community of people who share their stories with us and feel fully supported by our products, services, and content, than it is to grow like wildfire with less connected customers. That model of business just doesn’t make sense to us anymore and we definitely don’t think it’s the best way to help the people we built ohne for in the first place!

54% of the girls did not know what menstruation or a period was.” – stats taken from a period education workshop a school partner of The School Club Zambia where ohne are a partner- working with 46 young women between 11-13 years old.

What are your favourite skincare and hair care rituals?

L: My motto is basically ‘all natural, all the time’. I only use organic, cruelty free products and tend to keep it quite minimal in the makeup department. My top hair tip is actually from Nikki – when we met on the first day of Uni, she pretty much instantly convinced me to stop obsessively straightening my hair (I was seriously damaging it). I now let my curls fly free 24/7 and I have to say it’s never been healthier.

N: I am OBSESSED with CBD. I literally use CBD oil on my face all day and all night. I used to get hormonal acne but since CBD came into my life my skin that has cleared up like magic. When stress gets the better of me and starts to show in the form of bad skin rearing its ugly head, I’ll use a cheeky facemask too, but on the whole I just stick to my CBD oils.

Do you have any favourite products?

L: Is it cheating to say CBD? If I’m low on sleep (which happens more often than I care to admit) I’ll make a CBD-infused coffee and my whole face (and brain) brightens.

N: My favourite beauty product is magnesium bath salts. When I make time to have a hot bath they triple the relaxation vibes and make my skin feel amazing to boot. Amazing for stress-relief and winding down after a long day.

Do you incorporate any holistic practices into your self care routine?

L: It can be quite hard to maintain a strict wellness routine when you’re a startup founder, but I do always try to make time for an acupuncture session at least once a week. It’s life-saving when you’re spending all day everyday hunched over your laptop!

N: To be perfectly honest, no! I used to be really good at keeping a balance but running my own business has just taken over my life! I am trying to bring some daily meditation practice and a weekly yoga session back into my life, though. Even if I can just squeeze it in in a few spare minutes I know it’ll make all the difference to my mental health.

Find the ohne online here, and on Instagram. Read more about their period education programme with The School Club Zambia here.