Courtesy of Nutty Steph's
"It’s a Vulvalution!” announced Jaquelyn Fernandez Rieke, founder of Nutty Steph’s,
a chocolatier in Middlesex.
She was talking about Nutty Steph's effort to raise $100,000 for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
through the sale of chocolate vulvas. For every $5 chocolate vulva Nutty Steph sells, the business will donate $1 to PPNNE.
“I never poured so much into a project, ever,” Fernandez Rieke told Seven Days.
Wrapped in shiny foil, the chocolate vulvas will make their debut on Saturday, January 19, at the Women’s March
in Montpelier. At least 500 of them, purchased in advance by donors, will be given away to people who walk through a "vulva curtain" on the Statehouse lawn, Fernandez Rieke said.
The initiative is both a fundraiser for PPNNE and a way to raise awareness about issues of gender and equal rights.
“Gender and equity is centered around under-representation,” Fernandez Rieke said, “whether that is through the wage gap, political representation, business leadership or access to sexual health.”
The under-representation exists in chocolates molds, too. In 15 years of purchasing them, Fernandez Rieke has come across scores of penis molds, but only one in the shape of a vulva. When her Nutty Steph’s coworker Martina Anderson discovered one online 18 months ago, she bought it.
“It’s not that we’re interested in genital-shaped chocolates,” she said. “We have a deep understanding about why we want to be bold about representing women, but we were cautious. We made a few for fun.”
Courtesy of Nutty Steph's
Chocolate vulvas to benefit PPNNE
The collaboration with PPNNE was conceived about eight months ago. Due to its scale, the project involved substantial work around design and packaging.
"We had to make a product that looks really right," Fernandez Rieke said.
Each chocolate vulva comes in a box with two collector cards designed by the Vulva Gallery
, an online gallery that celebrates "vulva diversity."
The vulva made by Nutty Steph's is "a likeness of one vulva, but every vulva is different,” Fernandez Rieke said. “It’s like a fingerprint or a snowflake.”
The chocolate vulvas will be available initially at Nutty Steph's Middlesex shop and website, and at five retail locations: Pete’s Greens and CBD Vermont in Waterbury; Craftsbury General Store; Mehuron’s Market in Waitsfield and Salaam in Montpelier.
“For me, the project has meant an incredible opportunity to bind together with my team at Nutty Steph’s and feminists and activists from all around the area,” Fernandez Rieke said. “We’re really trusting America’s ready for this in a big way.”