With feminine hygiene product business, Franklin County native looks to give back

  • 2XChromosome feminine hygiene products for sale at Green Fields Market in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 4/22/2021 5:24:55 PM

Though her business is based in Boston, one entrepreneur hopes to give back to the Western Massachusetts community that raised her through her new brand of biodegradable feminine hygiene products.

Sarah Elizabeth “Betsey” Silvester, who grew up in Shelburne Falls, Ashfield and Heath, is the founder of 2XChromosome, selling biodegradable pads, liners, tampons and wipes — all of which are currently available at Keystone Market in Shelburne Falls and Green Fields Market in Greenfield, and will be presented to nurses for distribution at local schools.

“I remember very clearly how long it took to go to a grocery store or a pharmacy, and I also fondly remember the support that we as elementary school kids received as kids in health classes,” said Silvester, who lives in Somerville now. “It was just really important that I not only give free products, but give back to the West County area.”

The issue of period poverty, she said, is one she “takes to heart.”

“Period products are expensive for women, and for people where money is a real concern in their families, they may not have extra money for something that is truly a necessity,” Silvester said.

When Silvester began first discussing her idea for the business, which was formally created in June 2020 and launched in March of this year, she knew she wanted a business that would “promote a message of positivity.”

“I started having conversations with people about women’s period products, and the types of unnecessary chemicals that were contained in them,” she said.

Silvester spoke to the amount of plastic included as part of other feminine hygiene products — namely the applicators for tampons. After speaking with experts on the reason those products can’t be recycled, she learned that they’re considered “medical waste.”

“Unless, or until, we have some type of national recycling program for these types of products … I made a decision early on that I didn’t want to sell tampons with plastic applicators,” she said. “I was very lucky to find a manufacturing partner who was using some of these new, biodegradable plastics.”

Silvester is working with Global Health Solutions LLC for the development of her products, which are produced with the “highest quality organic cotton.” In addition to being available at certain stores, products are ready for purchase on the website, 2xchromosome.com.

2XChromosome is the most recent partner of the Mary Lyon Foundation, which Silvester’s mother, Sue Samoriski, established in 1990 and incorporated in 1991 in the name of Mary Lyon, a “19th-century pioneer in women’s education and advocate for opportunity and quality education for all,” according to the foundation’s website. The nonprofit, keeping an office at Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland, supports education in Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe and Shelburne.

Kristen Tillona-Baker, executive director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, said she “heartily welcomes” the new partner, and looks forward to providing feminine hygiene products to those in need.

“We are excited about the addition of this unique partnership,” she said, “and look forward to working with 2XChromosome.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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