– Provides last mile accessibility to the rural women across 100+ villages, 2 urban slums and underserved regions of India
– Installed vending machines at 14 low income schools to provide young girls with an increased accessibility to menstrual hygiene
June 26, 2017, Mumbai: Saral Designs, a National Entrepreneurship award-winning healthcare start-up focused on promoting menstrual hygiene among rural India, today announced that it has sold more than 1 million sanitary pads in a span of 12 months reaching out to more than 1 lakh rural women across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Manipur and many more. With innovation in the product, production and local distribution the company provides access to high-quality ultra-thin sanitary napkins at an affordable price in the villages, through Sangini, a group of women healthcare workers. The company will expand its operations to other states including Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan and Gujarat this year.
Founded in 2015, Saral Designs commenced operations in 2016 and has designed potentially the world’s first compact, modular and automatic machine named ‘SWACHH’ that enables them to make ultra-thin sanitary napkins. The automation reduces human errors and keeps the production rate high to ~15,000 pads per day, reducing the cost of production. Further, decentralized production enables a reduction in distribution cost by almost 30% leading to an overall price reduction.
Commenting on this feat, Suhani Mohan, Co-founder and CEO, Saral Designs said “We are delighted to achieve this milestone in a short span of time. At Saral Designs, we believe that menstrual hygiene is the right of every Indian woman and we are committed to providing that last mile accessibility to high-quality pads. While innovation in technology and decentralized distribution have made the pad affordable by almost 50% as compared to a global brand, the percentage of first-time users of pads and our repeat buyers reaffirm the quality of our product. However, a vast majority of Indian women are still using unhygienic modes during their menstruation period. From our own survey in rural areas, we found the lack of awareness of hygiene, lack of accessibility and lack of affordability among the primary reasons discouraging rural women to switch to using sanitary pads. Hence, we are investing in awareness programs to address social challenges including taboo around menstruating women.”
As a part of its School intervention program, Saral Designs has installed vending machines across 14 low-cost schools across villages in Maharashtra. Additionally, during a survey conducted across 30 villages for over a year, Saral Designs observed that:
– About half of the total brand adopters were cloth rag users
– More than 90% of the buyers feel that easy accessibility at the last mile has helped them to use pads regularly
– Almost 70% users who switched from other brands believe the product quality was much better
“I hardly go to the town as I feel shy asking my family members to get pads for me. Hence, I had to use cloth. Now that Sangini didi sells pads in our village, it is very convenient for me. Now, I use Active Ultra pads only. I like the quality of pads too“, said Sapna Marade, a happy consumer and a repeat buyer in one of the villages.
Available to buyers on Amazon.in, Saral Design’s ‘Active Ultra’ pads have been designed keeping the Indian context in mind. As the brand’s underlying concept ‘Healthy Hamesha’ suggests, Active Ultra pads are long lasting with active NaPA gel technology; are UV sterilized and free of added colours or perfume for those with sensitive skin; have large wings to prevent leakage and have an ergonomic biodegradable disposal wrapper to solve for the disposal woes.
About Saral Designs
Started by a team of engineers from IIT and the winners of the National Entrepreneurship Awards 2016, Saral Designs, is a Mumbai based start-up, focused on promoting menstrual hygiene by providing increased access to high quality affordable sanitary napkins using a smart distributed manufacturing technology developed in-house.
Saral Designs was co-founded by Suhani Mohan, CEO and Kartik Mehta, CTO in the year 2015 with an aim to provide Indian rural women that last mile accessibility to sanitary napkins. The company commenced its operations in year 2016 and actively works with NGOs and a group of healthcare women workers called Sangini, to create awareness around menstrual hygiene.
Saral Designs has been recognized at several prestigious platforms including the National Entrepreneurship Award (MSDE) in India, Acumen Global Emerging Leaders Award and American Society of Mechanical Engineers I-show (ASME). It was also recognized among the ‘top 10 good businesses of 2016’ by Outlook Business Magazine.
The company has successfully raised funding of INR 1.6 Crores from prominent Angel investors from Powai Lake Ventures including Ambi Parmeswaran (ex-CEO of FCB Ulka), Farooq Adam (Co-founder, Fynd), Gagan Goyal (Founder Thinklabs) and Acumen Fund.