Talking pants with DiaryDoll creator Carol Smillie!
"If periods didn't happen, we'd all cease to exist – it's sad we have such awkwardness surrounding them."
We talk to Carol Smillie about the wonderful DiaryDoll knickers. Created by Carol Smillie and Annabel Croft, DiaryDolls are lightweight, waterproof knickers that help protect against any embarrassing leaks and are perfect for women with heavy periods.
DiaryDoll will be supporting Endometriosis UK’s Pink Pants Challenges throughout the year as we aim to raise awareness and funds to support thousands of women with endometriosis.
What's the story behind DiaryDoll?
Annabel and I have been good friends for a number of years with 3 kids each of similar ages. We often meet up on holiday in Portugal where she has a tennis academy, and on one of those holidays we had a shopping trip without kids.
I was buying cheap knickers as throwaway period pants, and the conversation extended into Annabel’s early years as a junior player, suffering with endometriosis from a young age and how she struggled so much with having heavy periods at 15 while staying with host families around the world. As if that wasn't enough, she was then having to play in a short white skirt! We realised there was absolutely nothing on the market when normal sanitary protection just isn't enough.
How do they work?
They have a secret breathable waterproof layer that is so lightweight, they look and feel like normal pants. They are washable but must be worn together with normal protection as they are not absorbent. They basically protect clothing and bedding from any embarrassing leaks. Simple!
Who are they for?
We created them as a product for teenagers and specifically as period pants for women with heavy periods, but 18 months later, our customers are really varied. The huge majority are mums buying for daughters for exactly that purpose, but they also buy for themselves to deal with pelvic floor problems when exercising. Just say the word 'trampoline' and any woman over 40 knows precisely what I mean! They are also bought by new mums as post-maternity pants.
Endometriosis UK thinks people need to talk about periods more. Do you agree?
Absolutely! We are such a nation of prudes in this respect, yet we have no issues discussing control pants or gel filled bras. How crazy is that? Control pants and gel filled bras are lifestyle choices, yet periods are not.
If periods didn't happen, we'd all cease to exist – it's sad we have such awkwardness surrounding them. As mothers, it's our duty to inform and protect our daughters, not sweep it under the carpet as something shameful.
Annabel Croft and Carol Smillie visit the Endometriosis UK office to donate DiaryDoll knickers for Endometriosis UK fundraisers
Why did you choose to team up with Endometriosis UK and support our fabulous Pink Pants events?
We had a women with endometriosis who posted on our Facebook page telling us that DiaryDolls had literally changed her life. For the first time in years she'd been able to leave the house and even hold down a job! That was such an emotive and humbling letter that it made us think how beneficial DiaryDolls could be for women with endometriosis, who have heavy periods.
Annabel had suffered from endometriosis before having children, and I hadn’t even realised. I now know it’s really common. Women are so strong, they just keep it hidden and soldier on. It seemed a perfect fit to be able to partner with a charity supporting women with endometriosis. We were more than happy to supply some of our early stock as giveaways.*
*Everyone who takes part in an Endometriosis UK Pink Pants Challenge will receive a free pair of DiaryDoll knickers.