Two 14-year-olds develop a period kit to help build young girls’ confidence
Sachika Motani and Anika Taneja went through the experience millions of girls undergo when they start their menstrual cycles. They watched their friends hide sanitary pads in their pockets or sleeves, ask for one in hushed tones, and look embarrassed at getting their clothes stained. All in all, they realised this added up to a really stressful time every month.
The two, who study at different campuses of The Shri Ram School in Delhi, met at Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). During the initial brainstorming and idea generation sessions, they realised this was a cause they were very passionate about and wanted to make a difference.
And the seed of Li’l Lady, Grow with Confidence, was sown.
Anika explains, “It’s a period-ready kit for young girls, comprising essential items needed during their period. The kit gives one a sense of comfort and preparedness to deal with any unwanted period accidents.”
They even composed a little ditty around their idea, which was also their mission statement.
“Mother Nature has her own way to show your worth,
It’s that time of the month.
It’s OK to be moody and crampy,
These are all hormonal changes.
Sit back with your heating pad,
Enjoy your dark chocolate and don’t feel sad.”
“Through this product, we also wanted to encourage discussions on being period-ready, which we felt was a taboo in a lot of households,” Sachika says.
The girls point out different cases that have had a lasting impression on their minds – like women of menstruating age being denied entry into the Sabarimala temple and period shaming in Gujarat where college girls in a hostel were made to strip to show that they were not menstruating.
“Once we had nailed down the problem we wanted to address, we started talking to our friends to get their feedback. YEA! encourages all their students to do market research to validate their ideas, and we did a survey with several girls where we asked them to share their experiences. All of them shared multiple incidents where they felt stressed, embarrassed, and uncomfortable during their first or subsequent periods. This feedback helped us develop the product,” Anika says.
Building a business
The Li’l Lady kit is a funky sequinned kit that includes a pad cover, two organic pads, two intimate wipes, a sanitiser, a pocket perfume, handmade heat pad which is microwavable, a packet for stained underwear, and a dark chocolate.
“We have also included a period diary that not only provides information about periods, but has healthy diet suggestions and a reusable calendar to track period dates. We collected information from various sources, and included scientific reasons behind menstruation, suggested foods to eat, how to tackle cramps, etc,” Sachika says.
They are emphatic that no girl should feel ashamed of menstruating. The red stain on her uniform, that spare pad she carries in her bag…they shouldn’t diminish her confidence.
The young founders invested the seed money they received as YEA! winners in building an inventory of products.
A few of the products for the kit are sourced from local ventures while the pad holder/cover and the heating pad are made-to-order from a manufacturer. The Líl Lady kit is priced at Rs 750. Out of the profits, the young entrepreneurs plan to donate sanitary pads worth around Rs 50 per kit to an NGO, Pratisandhi, which works towards this cause.
The entrepreneurs got a lot of support from mentors at YEA! They learnt the skills required to be an entrepreneur, including the importance of market research, financial understanding, competitive analysis, and developing a marketing strategy. They also received guidance from an investor panel during the process.
Creating a buzz
The girls have created a buzz on social media through a Li’l Lady Instagram page.
“We have already received several pre-orders just through social media marketing. We have also used forums like parent meetings, orientation meetings, open days at our two school campuses to set up stalls to sell the kit. We would like to reach out to more schools to do this. We also plan to retail our kit through ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. We have recently received an order for patient awareness by a pharmaceutical company,” adds Anika.
The girls say their biggest success will be when society gets rid of its regressive mindset against menstruation, and period-related discussions become a dinner table topic.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)