At the age of 16, Nadya Okamoto founded an organization called Camions of Care to help homeless women across the country gain access to menstrual products. Now at age 19, Okamoto, a freshman at Harvard University, is making her organization ever more powerful, rebranding it with the help of agency Swift, as “Period. The Menstrual Movement,” or simply, Period.
Okamoto started the organization after her own family experienced homelessness in 2013 and she began having conversations with other women about the difficulties they faced. Periods were a major concern. “It was a huge privilege check for me realizing that I never had to worry about dealing with my period. I never considered that it was such a major issue for women so much of the time,” Okamoto said.
While the organization has picked up steam since it was founded—the group has worked with over 75,000 women with 46 nonprofit partners in 24 states and 15 countries—Okamoto and her team of youth advocates decided the former name, Camions of Care, wasn’t quite accurately conveying the purpose of the organization. “We had potential to be a really massive and amazing organization but no one knew what the name stood for,” Okamoto said.
The new name also forces men and women to say the word period. Okamoto discovered while working with potential donors, people seemed to be afraid of the word. “They would say women’s cycle. People can be afraid to say the word period and we are pushing them to do so just by engaging with us and saying the name of our organization,” she added.
The powerful new name gave Swift a great starting point to create the online experience. The idea was to launch the site right around International Women’s Day to “empower supporters to feel confident to speak up for all women’s needs,” the organization said.
In just seven weeks, Swift was able to completely redesign the nonprofit’s entire digital experience with a team of roughly 15 employees working pro bono at all hours of the day. The new site is simple, relying on the colors pink and red to relay the company’s message that all women deserve access to menstrual products.
“It was extremely clear from the beginning was to create a website that would position Period as the leader of the menstrual movement. We had to articulate the issues in a way that totally hit home and allowed people to take action and then really just solidifying Period’s brand identity as this sort of umbrella for this growing network of campus chapters,” Liz Valentine, CEO and co-founder of Possible agency Swift, said.
Swift’s team noted that while the turnaround for the project was tight, it helped that Okamoto and her team are so passionate about the organization. Since Period is a youth led organization, Swift relied heavily on its younger team members to carry the project toward the finish line.
“We saw this as an opportunity for some of our younger staff to really push themselves and develop more in their careers,” Valentine added.
The timing of the new launch coincides nicely with International Women’s Day (Wed., March 8). On that day, Swift has pledged to assemble care packages on behalf of Period, which will include menstrual hygiene products in Portland, Ore., where both the agency and the nonprofit are located.