Since last few years, we have seen more and more women entrepreneurs starting up their ventures. And what can be better than a venture for women by women? And we recently found one such venture- The Woman's Company, which is all set to revolutionize the women's intimate & hygiene products space. Founded by female entrepreneurs, Anika Parashar and Roopam Gupta, this brand has come up with eco-friendly women’s intimate and hygiene, that are not only good for the women consumers but also good for the planet.
According to the Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI), there are 336 million menstruating women in India, of which 36 % use disposable sanitary napkins — that totals to 121 million women, which means India has 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to take care of every year. In such a situation, The Woman's Company (TWC) products seem like the need of the hour.
Anika has experience in the healthcare and wellness space for over 19 years and has worked with some of the leading organizations such as Fortis Healthcare & Mahindra & Mahindra. She's also the founder & CEO of RiverRock Ventures, a firm which invests in and mentors young start-ups and the chairperson of ORGAN (Organ Giving and Receiving Awareness Network) India, which works on spreading awareness on organ donation and transplant across the country. And now she has recently started with TWC this year. So, we recently spoke to Anika Prashar, Founder & CEO of TWC, to understand more about her entrepreneurial journey and why TWC's products are important not only for women consumers but also for the environment.
Please tell us how did you come up with such a unique idea of starting something like The Woman's Company.
I had left my role as the COO for the Fortis La Femme hospitals due to personal issues and shortly after my mother passed away which meant I moved into a natural sabbatical. Having two young kids and a brother who had his own struggles as well as closing down my parents' matters meant I had a full plate. As time went on in this past year, I was clear I wanted to continue my trajectory of two decades in women’s healthcare & wellness – I had ample time and experience in understanding the need gaps and the challenges that existed for women. A bunch of investors suggested I should look at creating solutions in this space myself.
My daughter is hitting puberty and the ‘problem’ started with her. What products were good enough for her? What products would be certifiably biodegradable, organic, soft, rash-free and enable her to continue her level of normal activity even while she was menstruating? And hence The Woman’s Company (TWC) was born in trying to find solutions for the lakhs of women who felt their needs were not catered to and for those who wanted their daughters and their granddaughters to have long term, viable solutions. The company was launched on March 8, 2020. We also had concerns about the planet we were leaving behind for our children and their children – we wanted to create a brand that was curated for women’s needs as well as responsible enough to leave behind a legacy for the generations that follow.
Why do you feel there is a need for new & eco-friendly menstrual products in the market?
After having spent nearly two decades in the women’s health and wellness space, I have been a witness to the gap in good quality intimate products for women which are environmentally-friendly and less damaging to the complex world that we are living in. It’s scary to know that a single woman can generate up to 125 kg of non-biodegradable waste through her menstruating years alone and she is actually using those chemical-rich products for one of the most intimate parts of her body. It was then that we decided to create and curate a set of products which we would be proud to use for ourselves and our daughters. The Woman's Company aims to reach out to every woman out there and build spaces to cater to her wellness and hygiene while being mindful of the depleting environment.
Please tell us about how TWC's products are eco-friendly & sustainable and how are they going to help the environment.
TWC offers an array of products ranging from sanitary napkins, panty liners, 100% organic cotton tampons, stand & pee urination devices, medical-grade silicone cups and bamboo razors.
We have consciously built our products with industry differentiators in order to offer the best to the users and fill up for the existing gaps. All our products are environmentally safe, biodegradable and extremely comfortable. Our sanitary napkins and panty liners are ergonomically designed to fit the Asian sized body type and comfortably sit under the body curves we, as Indians, flaunt. The pads are free from the very harmful dioxins which are mostly found in all available products of personal hygiene.
Our "Made in India" stand and pee sticks are all plastic-free, foldable and easy to carry. Our tampons are made of 100% organic cotton and have cardboard applicators while our menstrual cups are made up of medical-grade silicon. We have a specially designed softest Teenage Pad for the young girl who has just started her periods and wants to feel free and confident during the 5 days of her menstrual cycle.
Could you tell us about the awareness sessions, especially on menstrual health and hygiene you plan on conducting?
We need to focus on educating women about their health – we need to build a tribe of women who are progressive about preventative healthcare and that is our aim – with both products and information. We aim to not only provide products but also education to women in corporates, schools, colleges and other touchpoints. This is the major game-changer. Having been in healthcare for so long, the connects and the network we have is phenomenal. We have a panel of expert stakeholders who we are on board to build awareness and bring about further change in the landscape of women’s health – not just menstrual health and hygiene.
The Woman’s Company aims to be an information company alongside a product company. It's great to see such an initiative which is helping create awareness about menstrual hygiene and help save the environment at the same time. It's definitely the need of the hour.