After graduating from Missouri State University and backpacking through different countries, Amber English noticed a problem that women across the globe frequently encounter — lack of access to necessary menstrual products.
During her time backpacking, she noticed how difficult it was to carry menstrual products in her backpack and how women in some countries were unable to afford menstrual products.
That led English to found Pixie Cup, a company that makes menstrual cups for women. She said the company aims to provide an easy, sanitary, cost-effective solution for women around the world.
English traveled from her hometown of Branson to Columbia on March 9 to discuss Pixie Cup as part of the annual Women’s Leadership Conference at the University of Missouri.
Adedayo Akala, the director of this year’s Women’s Leadership Conference, said English fit her vision for the event.
“It’s a huge celebration of women empowerment and leadership, which is why we brought in people like Amber English who really demonstrate the power of women in business,” Akala said.
Upon returning to the U.S. after her time abroad, English realized that she wanted the freedom to set her own hours and be her own boss. She eventually quit her full-time job and thought about what the best move would be.
“It began with the idea to just sell menstrual cups,” she said.
English reached out to several manufacturers and discussed what she wanted to change about the style of the cups. Once a manufacturer got back to her, she opened an Amazon sellers account and began selling the products. She made her first sale within a few days and never turned back.
English soon thought of a way to expand access to Pixie Cups to women in poorer countries.
“These women are using things like rags and anything they can find to stop the process,” English said. She also noted that women in developing countries sometimes turn to prostitution just to get the money for their monthly necessities. English thought of a way to fix that.
“We have a buy-one, give-one program,” English said. “So any time a woman buys a Pixie Cup, we donate another to a woman in need.”
This model exemplifies what English said is the mission of the business.
“Our mission is: empower others, give back, live free,” she said. “Giving back is really the heartbeat of the business.”
In sharing her story, English provided tips for the women at the conference to monetize their passion, become their own boss, and navigate the business world as a woman.
“It’s definitely a male-dominated area,” English said. “I would say, as women, our differences make us unique. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better and just go for it.”