In India, a large number of women use sanitary pads made of plastic. According to the Menstrual Health Alliance India, primarily sanitary napkins, menstrual products account for approximately 45 per cent of total sanitary waste generated in the country. All of these plastic-based sanitary pads are either flushed down toilets or thrown out with other household waste. While sanitary pads are easy to package and transport, they are extremely toxic and harmful to the environment. Avni, a holistic startup specialising in traditional menstrual care techniques, has all the answers. The company manufactures and sells cloth pads made of 100 per cent organic cotton that are soft, comfortable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly. In an interview, Rahul Mehra talks with Ms. Sujata Pawar, Co-founder & CEO of Avni, about the unique startup.
Where did you get the idea of this unique startup?
I come from a pharmaceutical family. Working on that project and having an unpleasant experience with regular sanitary pads, which caused rashes and other skin diseases, prompted me to investigate the issue. Following this, I realised that those pads impact the environment and sanitation efforts. Working on a suitable alternative, I decided to launch Avni – a holistic startup focused on traditional menstrual care techniques – to help the environment, sanitation workers, and the body’s wellness.
What are the issues addressed by Avni?
Because we, the co-founders, come from a healthcare background, we provide customers with accurate information, and sustainable menstrual hygiene practices, both of which are traditional homemade activities. As a result, consumers’ trust is increased, and loyalty is maintained.
During our research, we discovered that customers want sanitary napkins that don’t cause irritation, prevent rashes and itchiness, and are eco-friendly. Our entire brand philosophy is to provide solutions derived from our traditional values and are environmentally sustainable. Our cloth pads are made of 100% organic cotton and are soft, comfortable, stain-free, and simple to clean. We’ve also added an antimicrobial layer to protect consumers from infections. All of these features in the products are the result of two years of research and interaction with customers.
What are the products/services offered by Avni?
The brand’s current line-up includes Avni Anti-microbial reusable cloth pads – Avni Lush & Avni Fluff, Avni natural cotton sanitary pads, Avni period wear wash, Avni Menstrual Cup & Wash, Avni Antibacterial soothing, intimate care wipes. The products are apt for especially those women who have sensitive skin and are in immediate need of organic and infection-free products for smooth periods.
How are the products/services offered by you different from other similar products available in the market?
Many players in the market offer such products but Avni’s products are entirely natural and chemical-free. We focus on this aspect as well as consider the traditional menstrual healthcare practices, which are though age-old yet never stale.
What are the plans for the future? Where do you see Avni 5 years down the line?
In the next 5 years, we want Avni to be the go-to brand of all the menstruators. We aim to build trust and loyalty by detoxifying periods of over one crore menstruators worldwide.
What would you advise someone who’s just starting?
Someone who is just getting started should have the attitude of never giving up, no matter what. I have experienced more ups than downs as a female entrepreneur, but this has never demotivated me. It was pretty tough to face them and get through the dark times.
It’s never too late to start a business like it’s never too late to learn something new. And in this particular field, I learn something every other day. It is what motivates me the most.