Interview with a Mompreneur: Jana Girdauskas of The Period Purse
HELM is very proud to provide grant-funded childcare support to Ontario-based women entrepreneurs. In our new series, Interview with a Mompreneur, we get a glimpse into the businesses and lives of the talented moms who are taking part in The Childcare Support Pilot for Women Entrepreneurs. We hope you find these superwomen as inspiring as we do!
For this week’s interview, we are thrilled to introduce you to Jana Girdauskas, founder of the fantastic organization, The Period Purse.
Tell us about your organization:
“The Period Purse strives to achieve menstrual equity by providing marginalized menstruators with access to free menstrual products, and to reduce the stigma surrounding periods through public education and advocacy. Our vision is for all menstruators to experience healthy periods with dignity. The Period Purse launched in February 2017 with the goal of making one purse. Today, the organization has handed out nearly 4,000 purses and over 5,000 refill period packs, each containing various period products, hygiene items and a motivational note. The Period Purse seeks to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with a much-needed emotional boost.”
Tell us about your family:
“I have 2 boys, aged 3 and almost 6, who are happy and busy, and already know the difference between a tampon and pad. My husband is a firefighter who works 24-hour shifts. In the day, I’m a teacher, and at night, I volunteer and run my non-profit, The Period Purse.”
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
“One woman who panhandled at my car door one day. I didn’t have anything for her, so right there, I got the idea of a purse filled with nice things from my own closet that I could give her. Then I thought of period products, and learned more about period poverty. I saw a need, and I took my idea and turned it into ‘a thing’. I have lots of people volunteering and helping; together we make a great team.”
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
“I love how I can use my creativity to make something so beautiful and help more people out in the community who need help and who need a voice. The ideas are flowing: how I can see we can make a difference and pull in so many people to volunteer with us from the community.”
What are your goals for your business in the future?
“Next year we will become a registered charity. I hope to grow our educational piece, and get our outreach and educational program into more high schools. Obviously, as a ‘charity’, money is always an issue. We hope to find some good funders who will support our mission, so we can do more to help more people and continue to fight for menstrual equity!”
What is your biggest Mom vs. Career challenge?
“Time. Isn’t it always time?! My biggest challenge is what I want to do, and finding the time for it. I have a full time teaching job, and only run The Period Purse at night after my kids go to bed. However, all moms need more time.”
What are your strategies for creating work/life balance?
“I have to be highly organized. I make lists and put them in order of priorities. Even if I do 3 things this week, what is top priority to get done? I try to have a power-hour each day, meaning no interruptions, no social media, just sit down with my computer and work hard on my non-profit. And when I’m with my kids at home, I love playing and just being with them: looking them in the eye and cuddles. Those are the things and feelings they will remember.”
What are your tips for other mompreneurs?
“Sticking to a routine. When do you do your work? When are you with your kids? Divide those completely. And lists! If you make lists when ideas or things pop up when you’re with your kids, then you can get all those things done when you’re focusing on your work. Giving your kids your all when you’re with them, and then giving your work full force when you have that time. You’ll get more juice out of it that way.”
Need a babysitter?
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Are you a mompreneur in need of childcare support? Datenight Babysitting —a HELM company— is the proud recipient of funding from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University to help women entrepreneurs with childcare support. Click here to find out if you are eligible to participate in this program.