Poppy (Anthropology 2009) is Sales Director for LUÜNA naturals, a woman-led social enterprise that challenges the stigma which still surrounds menstruation.
Poppy studied abroad in Canada as part of her degree, and then worked part time for a shoe retailer during her studies at Sussex. Graduating in 2012, she went on to complete a Masters degree in London before exploring other areas of the retail industry, starting in merchandising and then moving to business development for luxury retail brands. This led her to Hong Kong, where she started working for LUÜNA naturals after being inspired by a talk given by its founder Olivia.
What led you to Sussex?
I wanted to study social anthropology and be at a university with a campus experience. I also wanted the opportunity to study abroad (which I did!).
How did you get started in sales? How did your career lead to where you are now?
When I came back from my year abroad in Canada, I got a part time job at a shoe retailer. After finishing my Masters, I decided to explore a career in other areas of the retail industry.
I first started working in London in merchandising and then moved over to business development for luxury retail brands. I then moved to Hong Kong to work for an agency that helped British brands enter and grow in Hong Kong and mainland China. It was a fantastic role that allowed me to work across all aspects of opening a retail store in a new market. I worked there for three years prior to my current role as Sales Director at LUÜNA.
What attracted you to working for LUÜNA? What about their ethos appealed to you?
As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to work somewhere that was making a difference. I saw our fantastic founder give a talk on menstrual equity and I was so inspired about the work that LUÜNA were doing that I reached out immediately.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I have played netball throughout my life, including at Sussex, and continue to play in Hong Kong. Also eating, hiking (Hong Kong has beautiful mountains and nature reserves) and travelling in Asia.
Tell us more about your role as Sales Director. What are some of your key responsibilities?
Being a part of a small company is great in that you get to work across lots of different areas. I primarily focus on business development for both our sales channels.
For retail, that means working with current retail partners and finding new partners across Asia-Pacific (APAC) to grow our line of sustainable menstrual products.
We also work with companies, schools and underserved communities, providing both access to menstrual products, as well as thought leadership and educational events to destigmatise menstruation.
The culmination of stigma has meant that this is such a taboo topic that it’s not spoken about openly. With so many of the population experiencing periods every month, this really shouldn't be something menstruating people feel they need to whisper about or not talk about at all."
What would you say are the most prevalent stigmas around periods?
One of the most prevalent stigmas around periods is that they are ‘dirty’. Many people and companies use the term ‘sanitary products’ implying that periods are unclean, and these products will “sanitise”. We prefer referring to the products as menstrual care products.
The culmination of stigma has meant that this is such a taboo topic that it’s not spoken about openly. With so many of the population experiencing periods every month, this really shouldn't be something menstruating people feel they need to whisper about or not talk about at all.
What makes your company’s product different?
Many of the conventional products on the market use harmful irritants that your body absorbs.
LUÜNA products are hypoallergenic and made with certified organic cotton. All wrappers and packaging are fully biodegradable. They are free from pesticides, fertilisers, chlorine, dyes and viscose.
Our B Corp-certification highlights that our supply chain and business model has been vetted and certified to reach the highest standards of social and environmental impact.
What top tips would you give to someone looking for a career in Sales?
Be nice to people!
What was your favourite place on campus?
East Slope Bar (RIP!), Dhaba café (only found this in third year), the Co-op to purchase my daily Bagelman bagels. The list goes on!
What are you currently reading?
Bad Actors by Mick Herron. I love this series and I very much read to escape!
What's the best advice you've ever had?
There is never a ‘right’ time.
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