Why these IIT Delhi batchmates decided to start up in the feminine hygiene space
For many young girls and women in the country, speaking about menstrual hygiene has been a taboo, with a long list of do’s and don’ts. Even in the metros, women are often not very comfortable talking about these issues.
While studying at IIT Delhi, Harry Sehrawat and Archit Aggarwal saw their friend struggling with menstrual cramps during an important exam. While the duo couldn’t talk or do much about it at the moment, they decided to do something to solve the problem.
Digging deeper, they realised that while there was a large market for intimate hygiene products for women, there were very few viewing the idea from breaking the stigma associated with it.
The duo then decided to address women’s concerns and founded Sanfe in Delhi in 2018. It is a new-age feminine intimate hygiene and skincare brand that aims to be an enabler for women to raise their voice, embrace the freedom, and make the right choice for themselves.
Its product portfolio includes stand and pee device, intimate wash, intimate wipes, panty liners, organic sanitary pads, pain relief roll-on, and menstrual cups.
Harry takes care of the product development and Archit is looking into customer needs and expectations.
“Our journey started back in 2018 from our hostel rooms, and today we are running a 50-member team based in Delhi. One of the key roadblocks to extensive market penetration for women's intimate hygiene products is a lack of information and acceptance,” explains Harry.
Adding community and reach
Harry and Archit knew that to build anything in the feminine hygiene space they need to be able to get the right user feedback. They got in touch with the target audience to ensure that they built the right products. This process alone involves a lot of phone calls, questionnaire analysis, e-mails, in-person chats, focussed group discussion, etc.
“We then shortlist major issues and start with product R&D, testing samples, testing the product’s market viability, improving customer experience at every step till we reach just the right formulation, which again goes for a pilot run to our women's community who dedicatedly try out each of our products before the launch,” says Harry.
The employees themselves try the products first and give the product team the feedback basis which the product is made and deployed. The entire process takes 12 to 14 months from conception to product launch.
At present, the startup claims to be having an active community of over five million users, with over 25 percent month-on-month growth. “
We have a recurring ARR of Rs 30 crore and close to 1.2 million consumers,” explains Archit.
The team attempts to work with companies that are committed to producing high-quality products, as most of the products are formulated for topical use as well as body care. Currently, AOV is close to around Rs 1,000- Rs 1,800.
The brand provides products across Period care - reusable sanitary pads, menstrual cups, and tampons; Intimate care - intimate deodorant, scrubs, and washes, medicated menstrual cup wash, etc; Personal Hygiene - stand and pee kits, toilet seat covers, face razors; Privy Matters: intimate hair oil, bikini line hair removal cream, intimate stretch mark oil; and Breast Care products like a nipple soothing roll-on, a breast tanning oil, a breast hydrating lotion, and more. The products are available online, on their website, and other ecommerce sites.
“According to us, instead of any gender bias, if we start addressing these issues out in the open, it will help women to actually have these important conversations openly and not behind the curtains. Being the male founders of a women’s intimate hygiene product brand, we want to raise awareness on the importance of this and how avoiding it can lead to some serious repercussions," say the founders.
The founders add, "We believe an addressal of women's concerns is the need of the hour, and we bring to light products that solve the concerns that women are apprehensive to talk about which allows them to choose the right intimate skincare and hygiene for themselves.”
Market and future
According to global newswire, the Indian feminine hygiene products market was valued at Rs 32.6 crore in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.87 percent to Rs 70.20 crore by 2025.
At present, other companies operating in the feminine hygiene segment include Sirona, Pee Safe, Plush, The Woman Company, Carmesi, Nua, and HeyDay.
Sanfe has raised Rs 8 crore in a Pre-Series A funding from SucSEED Venture Partners, Titan Capital (a VC-arm run by Snapdeal founders Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl), BIRAC, Elixir Pharma, and a group of investors.
Speaking of how they are different, Nalini Prasad, Senior, Brand Manager, Sanfe, says, “We are a young firm, and our diverse category sets us apart from our competition. Sanfe strives to be a go-to-label for women throughout the four stages of their lives -- starting as a young socially active teenager, progressing onto a young adult carrying characteristics of being independent, exploring, employed beings; as middle aged women -- parents, expectant mothers, and then onto age 40 and beyond- experienced and looking for stable and trustworthy wellness options. Our products are organic and dermatologically tested.”
In the future, Sanfe plans to add more products specific to certain categories and help resolve not just common intimate issues faced by women on a daily basis, but plans to come up with better solutions for grooming at home, health, and hygiene.
The brand intends to capture the pulse of the global feminine hygiene industry, taking its success story to other parts of the world. Sanfe visions to be one stop solution for all women-related problems.
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Edited by Megha Reddy