After twenty years of DivaCup the brand that made menstrual cups mainstream has a fresh new look and name. DivaCup is now just Diva, a move presumably, in part, inspired by their decision to add a menstrual disc to their product line in 2022.
In 2003 the mother and daughter team, Carinne Chambers-Saini and Francine Chambers, used their experience in retail and menstrual products to start their own reusable menstrual cup company out of Canada. Originally, the duo operated as distributors for the Keeper Cup, a cup offered in only natural rubber at the time. According to an archived page on DivaCup’s website about their time as Keeper Cup distributors, “She [Francine] and her daughter, Carinne, singlehandedly resurrected the 75 year old menstrual cup concept by reintroducing this product to the world market when it was virtually unknown. They sold this rubber/latex version for 10 years.”
In the UK another former Keeper Cup distributor was also starting a menstrual cup company; the MoonCup launched the first silicone menstrual cup in 2002. Given the geographical distribution of the two companies, they were not direct competitors, save for global name recognition. Both have fared extremely well in that regard; in North America the phrase “diva cup” is used generically to describe menstrual cups of all brands.
In the EU and UK you’re more likely to hear it called a “Moon Cup.” The original Keeper Cup, a company that could have worn the crown in another timeline as the true first modern menstrual cup, never reached that level of success. DivaCup and Moon Cup, respectively, were simply better at marketing and finding new retailers for what was a very unknown and niche product. Keeper Cup was always relegated to Co-Ops and natural health stores where the reusable mentality was “preaching to the choir.”
20 Years of Progress
2023 is an entirely different landscape than 2003. For one, it’s hard to find a person in North America who isn’t at least vaguely aware of menstrual cups as a period product. They may not know exactly how they work but they know it exists and what it’s for. We can all give DivaCup, now Diva, credit for getting us from “what is that?” to “oh, that’s a diva cup!”
The way we talk about periods and the people who have them has changed significantly in the last 10 years. The move towards more inclusive language in the menstrual space has meant brands, educators, activists, and retailers have moved away from flowery, discreet, and feminine-coded language and motifs. That can be a big problem for brands that started 20 years ago. Menstrual companies often included “Fem” in the brand name, for example. Another brand name trend, including references to the moon, was a stroke of brilliance (or just luck) for earlier brands such as Moon Cup and Lunette.
Diva, like many other menstrual brands, embraced inclusivity in later iterations of their packaging and in their marketing. Keeper maintains the tagline “By a woman, for women” and their website is either woefully behind the times or they are intentionally opting not to use inclusive language.
“I’m a Diva Cup Diva!”
That brings us to DivaCup. It will depend on who you ask how they feel about the phrase “diva.” Diva, as a word, has gone through a lot of changes in 20 years, too. In pop culture, we refer to women as “diva” in a historically negative way. A diva is someone who is bitchy, demanding, and arrogant, but who usually redeems themselves in their special talent. The phrase has enjoyed a bit of a PR refresh making being a “diva” something to be celebrated, owned, and applied to anyone – not just cis women.
According to an Adweek feature in 2022 about the trailblazing brand, “The ‘diva’ part of the name represents ‘fearlessness and confidence’ in shaking up the period market.”
In the earliest years of DivaCup the branding and motifs were of their times; lots of florals, curly-q fonts, and so much purple. In 2019 the brand had a logo and packaging update that pulled back from those themes and the brand began using inclusive language in its assets.
It was around this time the brand was likely coming to a decision about the name. Newer menstrual cup focused brands learned from their predecessors to anticipate change – change to their product line and to worldviews. Most companies started to simplify their brand names to make growth possible. Saalt now has a suite of products but began with their Saalt Cup. Nixit, a menstrual disc brand. Cora, at first a disposable period products brand, later added reusables. Other brands that began as “___Cup” started to update their brand names to allow for product growth outside of just menstrual cups. Hello Cup re-branded as Hello Period. OrganiCup went for a full re-brand and became AllMatters in 2022.
As the leading menstrual cup company in the world Diva let themselves fall behind younger, more ambitious brands. Their new brand and packaging plus their long history will hopefully bring them renewed success with new and current reusable period care consumers.