Quick Question

Karla Welch Wants That Time Of The Month To Be Easier For Everyone. Period.

“When people who period thrive, the world thrives.”

Quick Question

In Quick Question, Bustle asks women leaders all about advice, from the best guidance they’ve gotten to how they deal with demanding hours. This week, Karla Welch, celebrity stylist and co-founder of Period. by The Period Co., talks about period sustainability, her unique career path, and her favorite way to manage stress.

Karla Welch is known for styling the likes of Hailey Bieber, Tracee Ellis Ross, America Ferrera, and Lorde. By day she rubs elbows with her celebrity clientele as she gets them dressed and ready for the red carpet. Then, in true Virgo fashion, she dives into her side hustle.

Along with co-founder Sasha Markov, Welch also runs a period underwear company — aptly named Period. Their goal? To banish the age-old narrative of shame that surrounds that time of the month. “We started as a company that was going to re-talk about what the period is in a more positive way — because it is a positive thing,” she tells Bustle.

The brand’s slogan is “Period. Soon everyone will want one.” At $9 to $16 a pair, the aim is to make period underwear more accessible, as well as more comfortable and effective. The patent-pending organic cotton has four layers of fabric that can soak up a full day of period blood, while a unique seam prevents leaks.

Since launching in 2020, the brand has also remained mindful of sustainability — you don’t need a single-use pad, tampon, or plastic applicator to manage your period, Welch says — and it has expanded its reach to ensure people have access to period products on a global scale.

“We’re on the road to making sure everybody has equity and care for their periods,” she says. “It’s one of the most worthy human rights crises we have to take care of, because when people who period thrive, the world thrives.”

Below, Welch talks about period poverty, her go-to workout, and what wakes her up in the middle of the night.

How did Period. come to be?

My child got their period really early. I remember it was hard for them to manage, and then I remembered my own first period had been a mess, too. I started talking to thousands of people who get periods, and a lot of them were in a similar boat. I wondered how I could make periods easier for everyone.

At the time, period underwear existed, but it was super cost-prohibitive. I was also someone who didn’t like the amount of waste I was creating with tampons and pads, so I decided to make my own period underwear — but make it better.

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Did your career as a stylist come into play while you were designing period underwear?

I understood manufacturing because I had done many clothing collaborations and had my own clothing line, so I understood everything that goes into making something. Sometimes when we have great ideas, there’s a hard learning curve. But everything I had done up to that point in my career really helped me with the brand. Plus I got to have my celebrity clients amplify the company.

Tell me more about how your company addresses period poverty.

Typically, period programs involve giving someone a box of pads, but once it’s used up, it’s gone. With period underwear, you eliminate the need to have access to period products. You’ve provided someone with safety and increased their chance at an education.

What makes your brand sustainable?

Pads and tampons never decompose. There isn’t one disposable period product in the world that decomposes, so the very first product you ever used is still on the planet.

When you look at the lens of sustainability, giving a person five pairs of period underwear means their period is taken care of for a minimum of five years. We think our underwear could last up to a decade with the right care. It eliminates the economic pitfalls of having to pay for period products every month.

WWD/WWD/Getty Images

How do you cope with stress before big meetings?

I always get nervous, but you know what? I actually think that feeling is more excitement than anything else. Your body can easily confuse the two. I view the nerves as a good thing and remind myself I’m always prepared.

How do you recharge at the end of a long week?

I’m a homebody. I like to watch a movie with my family, fall asleep on the couch, and hang out with my dogs. I’ll do as little as possible because I do so much during my work life. I also like the Tracy Anderson method. It’s very hot and loud, but I’ve never felt stronger. I love having someone tell me what to do for an hour. It’s the only time I don’t have to make decisions.

What kind of advice would you give your younger self?

Every single thing you do, even if it feels insignificant, will get you where you want to be. Every step is still a step. I think of all the jobs I’ve had over the years, and they’ve all played a huge role in who I am today.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.