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The Team

Teamname: OH CIRCLE

Members: Anna Schulze-Ardey, Christina Seiffert





What is your idea about?

OH CIRCLE is the vision of a brand that deals with menstruation in a sustainable and mindful way. Our washable and thus reusable tampon meet the current social interest in reduction of disposable products and environmental protection. We want to create a sustainable menstrual product that is an attractive alternative to conventional tampons.

Every month, around 250 million tampons are used and thrown away in Germany alone. For the environment, this means: clogged drains, microplastic pollution of the water and CO2 emissions from burning the tampon waste.

Organic quality labels, materials free of harmful substances and fairly produced and environmentally friendly ingredients

The reduction of disposable products to protect the environment is a current issue in our society, which we are addressing with our product - a sustainable, reusable tampon, which is washed after use rather than discarded. Our tampon is designed to be as close as possible to the functionality of a conventional tampon. We pay special attention to organic quality labels, materials that are free of harmful substances as well as fairly produced and environmentally friendly ingredients.

After use, the tampons can be rinsed with cold water, dried and washed all together in the 90 degree wash at the end of the period. Matching accessories make the product perfect to integrate into everyday life, even on long days or on the go.

Tackling the taboo and acceptance of menstruation

As founders and menstruators, it is particularly important to us that "OH CIRCLE" stands for the removal of taboos and acceptance in dealing with menstruation - therefore we would like to contribute to social education with our brand and promote openness and female empowerment.

How did you get together as a team?

We started OH CIRCLE at the beginning of 2022. At the beginning, Anna developed the idea further with her best friend Christina. After a good six months, Jonna joined to help with product development, as she brought the necessary know-how from her studies.

We are from the same hometown and have known each other for a long time. After some time, it was clear that Christina wanted to focus more on her studies again, as the desire to become a teacher still existed. When it became clear that she wanted to leave as co-founder, we met Lisa at an event, as fate would have it.

Everything worked out the way it was supposed to, and now the three of us make a great team!

How did you come up with your idea?

After we knew that we wanted to have a positive impact on people and the environment with our own start-up, we thought about the areas in which we find ourselves in and see a need for action. 

We quickly came up with the topic of menstruation, because it affects both of us and many of our friends, and there is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of sustainability. 

There are already some innovations that are supposed to replace disposable products, but none that imitate the function of conventional tampons. That's where we wanted to start, because even though there are alternatives, 86% of menstruators still use tampons - so many seem unconvinced by the existing reusable options. 

This motivated us to develop a tampon that is just as functional as a conventional one, but can be washed and thus reused.

What are you studying/working or what have you studied?

Lisa didn't go to Australia after graduating from school, but she moved from Schwerin to Cologne. She is studying Sports Journalism at the Sport University in Cologne. At OH CIRCLE, her areas of responsibility are Communication and PR, Marketing, competitions, and Events.

Anna is studying product design in Düsseldorf. Her areas of responsibility include Content Management, Marketing, design, and Finance.

Jonna studies Clothing and Textile Technology at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences and is responsible for product development.


Anna made our very first prototype from an old pair of Chrissi's jeans, hand-cutting and sewn painstakingly with a small needle - only to find out afterwards that the fabric is absolutely unsuitable and the production so complicated that no one would ever do it for us.

The prototype didn't have much to do with a tampon... but the motivation was there!

What has Gateway ESC helped you with?

Thankfully, we joined the Gateway ESC relatively early on, because thanks to the start-up coaches, our idea then also got more structured and we further developed a concept.

Without the advice, workshops and many contact persons, we would not have known where to start and how to implement a start-up idea without failing at the first steps.

The Gateway ESC team offers such a wide range of expertise that we can get help with very specific questions, something that has often saved us from despair or crises.... for example, when we had to change our name because of trademark problems.

It's also great to have a workplace outside of our shared apartment where we can work in a focused and productive way. And having all the other startups around us motivates us as well.