GENTLE DAY Founder Vilmante Markeviciene: 'I have two kids, and my third one is Gentle Day!'

  • 2024-07-01
  • Linas Jegelevicius

“I have two kids, and my third one is Gentle Day,” Vilmante Markeviciene, founder of GENTLE DAY, a major player in the Baltics’ feminine hygiene market, wisecracks at the outset of our conversation. “As I joke, this was my unplanned child,” she adds.

V. Markeviciene has had a truly big U-turn in her life. After returning from the US, where she lived for five years, she switched from being an interior designer to focusing on something entirely different, items of feminine hygiene. 

“One day, I was introduced to a unique type of sanitary pad that completely changed how I felt about my menstruation. These products weren’t available in stores, but I knew other women were experiencing similar discomfort during their periods. I was determined to put these products on supermarket shelves to help women feel more comfortable and even embrace their periods. That’s how GENTLE DAY, with a range of four different sizes of pads and liners, was born in 2009,” explains V. Markeviciene.

What are the milestones that GENTLE DAY has achieved already?

GENTLE DAY quickly became a well-known brand in Lithuania. Some of our products are now top-ranked in the feminine hygiene market. Over the years, our products have undergone rigorous testing and received certifications like Oeko-Tex® 100, VEGAN (Vegetarians Society), and Made for Health®. We started with only four products, and today we offer a wide range, including menstrual cups and period panties. We hold two patents for our FAR-IR Anion strip sanitary napkins and period panties with a unique gusset.

Our products are available in some stores in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and online at across the EU and Amazon UK. In 2015, we introduced our brand GENIAL DAY in the US, which has become profitable in recent years, and this is a big achievement in the US for the self-funded woman-owned brand.

With the abundance of women hygiene products out there, where does GENTLE DAY stand out?

GENTLE DAY stands out because it was born from my personal experience with menstrual discomfort. My goal is not to create just another period care brand but to offer premium quality, safe products. Safety, function, and innovation are my guiding principles. I develop products for myself and my daughter, ensuring they meet our standards before reaching the market. As a woman, I understand the need for confidence and comfort during menstruation, and I strive to provide that with GENTLE DAY.

You sell your products not only in Lithuania but in Latvia and Estonia too. Are the women customers there different in a way when it comes to picking your products?

I don’t think there are significant differences in period product use across the Baltic region. Women in these countries want products that are free of harmful chemicals and prevent skin irritation. However, our brand presence varies, with Lithuania being our primary focus. Latvia and Estonia have been more challenging markets for us, and we are looking to expand our sales there.

What are some of the dearest compliments and feedback you have ever received? Why?

The most meaningful compliments come from customers who feel our products have changed their perception of periods, making them more comfortable. As the designer of our products and packaging, I take great pride in the recognition of their usefulness and effectiveness.

How important was your personal experience in starting the business?

My personal experience played a major role. Believing in the product’s success came from my own struggles and passions. GENTLE DAY allows me to express myself as a product developer, packaging designer, and marketer. Raising a daughter has also highlighted the importance of open communication about menstruation and body awareness with women, mothers and teens.

For GENTLE DAY, social responsibility seems an integral and important part of operation. Please talk about that!

Empowering women through knowledge is crucial. We run three social projects: educating girls in schools, supporting women in need, and aiding Ukrainian women during the war. Our goal is to help women understand their menstrual cycles and view periods as a natural, manageable part of life. By providing the right tools and products, we aim to transform their menstrual experiences.

You’ve said you are looking for business and trade partners to expand your business? Why?

Women everywhere deserve access to the best period care products that empower them to embrace their cycles. Partnering with others will help us achieve this mission.

What is next for GENTLE DAY?

Sustainability is a core focus for us now. We aim to make our products and packaging as sustainable as possible and educate women about the importance of sustainability in period care. We see great potential in our patented period panties and plan to expand this line with more styles and colours to cater to a broader audience.

What is your life motto?

To be happy and enjoy the journey. I remind myself during tough times that life is like a game with wins and losses. Each loss is a lesson. Always being honest, both to myself and others, and remembering that I’m not as important as I might think. Being grateful for who I am and where I am.