What inspired these 27-year-olds to start in the feminine hygiene space
Prince Kapoor and Ketan Munoth are passionate about brands. Friends, the 27-year-olds would often look at different brands and realised a significant gap in the feminine hygiene or femme care segment. The duo believes that period care doesn’t have to be taboo or whispered behind closed doors.
It got them to start Plush — a new-age femme care brand — which is kinder to the skin and the planet ethos. The startup was founded in August 2019 in Chennai.
Prince was an investment banker and has earlier worked with Spark Capital, while Ketan is an MBA graduate from NMIMS, who had worked at Hindustan Times.
“When we visited a supermarket and found that there is an abundant choice in every category except the femme care segment, it was the trigger point for us to get into something deeper and talk to existing consumers. We got into a lot more detail and realised that in the period care space, there is a massive gap,” says Prince.
He adds that women wanted a brand that understands the consumers and builds products based on those insights. Plush today is a team of 18 of which 14 are women.
For the co-founders, one of the key insights during consumer research was finding the unspoken problem of rashes, which led them to iterate on the kind of materials that need to go into the product to enable a rash-free experience.
Setting up the product range
“We spent more than 11 months visiting suppliers across the globe and understanding the supply chain in this category, which has really held us in good stead. This included testing multiple product variants with consumers. A lot of the work involves patience in this category because feedback cycles are much longer than usual,” explains Prince.
Plush subjected its products to go through multiple quality testing. In fact, it onboarded third-party contract manufacturers to help with the production.
The femme care startup’s period care range claims to be sustainable compared to other incumbent brands in the market. It uses 100 percent pure US cotton instead of plastic. And, the products stay true to the premise of eliminating the problem of rashes.
All of Plush’s products are certified by Cotton USA, Seal of Cotton, PETA, and FSC.
“We also attempted to make sure our pricing is not premium. Further, Plush offers a 100 percent rash-free protection with a money-back guarantee,” Prince highlights.
Pricing and distribution
Plush offers sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, panty liners, and women razors. It charges Rs 95 for a pack of seven sanitary napkins that can go up to an average of Rs 395 for a pack of 30 sanitary packs. The recently launched non-disposable razors are priced at Rs 499.
The startup claims its average basket size to be Rs 400-Rs 500, and it sells primarily on Amazon and Nykaa. In fact, its products are available offline at Namdhari's, More, and Health and Glow.
Initially, the startup had started a subscription model as period care is a monthly need. However, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup realised that third-party delivery worked better, and decided to focus on a more B2C model than a subscription.
In fact, the startup raised an undisclosed seed amount from undisclosed investors in 2019 and a pre-Series A round this year.
Market and future
According to the global newswire, the Indian feminine hygiene products market was valued at Rs 32.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.87 percent to Rs 70.20 billion by 2025.
Plush competes with the likes of Sirona, Carmesi, and HeyDay. Speaking of future plans, Prince says, “We are confident that by the end of 2021, we will reach 1.5 lakh consumers.”