‘We Grew By 40% MoM; We Are Expanding To The US' Anika Parashar, Founder & CEO, The Woman’s Company
We have a strong investor team centered in the United States, and with that investor team, we've built great ties with global retailers and distributors.
Brief Us about your venture? How was TWC'S journey so far?
TWC was established in March 2020, on March 8th, which is International Women's Day. So far, the company's progress has been fantastic; we've seen a 40% increase in revenue month over month, and we're present in all of the major marketplaces, including Amazon, Nykaa, Zivame, Flipkart, and a few of smaller ones. We are a group of ten people whose main goal is to sell biodegradable, organic menstrual hygiene intimate products that contribute to the planet's health and the health of women by preventing rashes/allergies and avoiding the linkages that certain chemicals and dioxins have to diseases like cancer, endometriosis, PCOs, and so on. Pads, tampons, panty liners, menstruation cups, urination devices, bamboo razors, and organic shaving lotion are among the products we provide. The fact is that every woman contributes 105kg of plastic waste to the planet, imagine the impact that a global population of women can have, and the impact that this has on global warming, animal health, and planet health, as well as the depletion of resources; thus, our focus is to be able to address that problem and make an impact in that area.
What are your offerings? What makes them different from other players in the market?
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. All its products are organic, bio-degradable and environmental friendly including the packaging.
TWC pads are made with certified organic cotton, which has been grown without using chemical herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides, perfect to avoid infections, they are hypoallergenic and completely biodegradable and does not contain perfumes or super absorbents. They are purified without chlorine or dioxin (which is a chemical component of chlorine used to make materials look white and clean). Certified by gynaecologists, these pads are customized to fit all shapes. Available in three different sizes, TWC pads come in a pack of 12 pads to make your period cycle comfortable and hassle-free.
The TWC tampon comes in two options- with and without applicators. These tampons are made from certified organic cotton with an absorbent core. Organic and natural, these tampons are “bleached without using chlorine” and are made with biodegradable materials.
TWC has created specially customized urination device “manufactured in India” to help every woman stand and pee! The TWC urination stand and pee stick is made up of recyclable kraft Paper without the use of plastic and lamination. The TWC stick is ergonomically-designed, comfortable, convenient, biodegradable and environment friendly.
The TWC medical grade menstrual cup has an extremely high tolerance to chemicals and heat and hence is not impacted by body temperature. Being pliable and soft; it is the best material to be against the delicate skin and tissues of the vagina. These menstrual cups, available in two different sizes, are ultra-soft, with 8 hours of leak proof protection. One menstrual cup can hold fluid up to 3 regular-sized tampons.
TWC bamboo razors are eco-friendly, sustainable and reusable and come with a pack of 5 disposable blades to enable a close and easy hair removal process. These zero-waste bamboo razors are made with grade 5 stainless steel!
Markets are overloaded with 'wellness brands/products,' what is your USP to make space for TWC in the market? According to you, is there any space to have more brands with the same offerings?
True, one of our USPs is that we hold the intellectual property for some items, such as our Teen pads and urine gadgets. Our products are entirely made in India; we do not outsource them from other countries, which is another USP. Finally, the products and the company are offered by women who have experience running and creating women's brands; we are women, not men who claim to understand what women's health is about; we are women who have faced women's health issues. We are also women with experience operating hospitals and healthcare organisations, as well as being trained to understand women's health in terms of even healthcare qualifications, so there is a significant difference between what we offer and what other market participants offer. As a result, we’re speaking with experience.
What are your future expansion and funding plans? If you are planning to raise funds how will you infuse that in TWC?
We recently completed our Pre-Series A capital raise, raising $1.4 million at a valuation of 45 crores. We chose the HNI/Private corporate route because we needed strategic investors on board who would add value to the business in specific areas, and we are very proud to have secured three investors for this round who genuinely care about women-owned businesses and sustainability, have experience in the field, and can help us open many doors as well as add value to the concept, products, and expansion as a whole.
What is the future of the wellness industry in the Indian landscape?
The wellness industry in India is fascinating; it is on the verge of exploding because women are increasingly concerned about what they ingest, eat, and apply to their bodies. There is an expansion in the organic food market, and people have begun to be concerned about what they apply to their bodies. There is a surge in the number of firms offering natural organic beauty solutions, Ayurvedic health solutions, and, in our case, items for menstruation, which is a regular phenomenon in a woman's life. Everyone is looking at this from both a health and an environmental standpoint. We appear to be returning to that realm when it comes to our eco-health consciousness, using methods and sources that our forefathers (or foremothers!) used.
TWC's was launched during the pandemic, the brand is fully operated by women's only, what are barriers faced by a women entrepreneur to set up business in tough times? How was the overall journey?
TWC was literally launched and the world went into lockdown exactly 3 weeks later. We faced a lot of challenges at first because products like "pads" were not considered essential products, so we weren't allowed to deliver them, and women were having difficulty getting them. But we got through it, our delivery system became more robust, working from home was difficult because when you start a new business with a group of people, you really need everyone to be on the same page and focus on the same goal/vision, which was difficult to do online during the absolute launch period.
We also had to familiarize ourselves with all of the market areas and establish vendor contacts, but we were successful. We had a lot of problems, but the fact that we grew by 40% month after month was incredibly encouraging and demonstrates that we do have products and services, as well as a team that is well qualified to confront these challenges, and one of the advantages of working from home was that we could connect from anywhere in the world at any time, and we could chat about topics actually face to face owing to developments like Zoom, G-meet, and others.
Most sectors have noticed a shift in consumer consumption patterns, will this shift lead to evolving D2C brands? What is the future outlook for D2C brands in the Indian landscape?
Definitely, the Pandemic and the world we live in, where we were locked in our homes, or smaller safer groups, not being able to go out to malls, brick and motor itself being a challenge in terms of marketplaces or malls, etc, has led to an increase in D2C buying and consumption patterns. We've seen a lot of D2C brands emerge, and we've seen many women and men alike go to D2C brands. D2C brands have undergone a significant transformation, and we believe that this will continue to evolve and grow as time goes on.
What is the road ahead for TWC?
We have a lot of plans, including a very interesting campaign with a global player coming up at the end of October. We are penetrating the Indian markets far deeper in terms of Tier 2, 3, and 4 cities, and we are also expanding our footprint into the United States, ensuring that we can offer our “Made in India” women's company products to other parts of the world, beginning with the United States, where we have a team on the ground and an office, and where many of our investors have a strong foothold. Conversations with significant retailers and distributors in USA have yielded extremely good results, and our shipments will begin this month as well. We definitely have a lot of exciting things on the horizon.
What are your plans for recent funding? How will it help TWC to strengthen its footprint in the market?
The Woman’s Company plans to deploy capital to deepen penetration into Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities in India and also position its ‘Made in India’ products in North America under the D2C model supported by an on-ground team. The brand's vision is to be the leading player in the women's hygiene industry with an omni channel presence and an outreach of over a 100 million women across the globe over the next 5 years.
Tell us about your expansion plans in North America? What are your expectation with this expansion?
We have a strong investor team centered in the United States, and with that investor team, we've built great ties with global retailers and distributors. They are very interested in TWC items since they are biodegradable and since this is a woman owned business. We have begun receiving orders from both brick and motor as well as online marketplaces in the United States, and our expectation for this expansion is that we will be out there and actually make an effort to expand across America, to be able to impact every household there with our biodegradable organic products, and to reach out to a hundred million women in the next 5 years.
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