Pandemic helped D2C brands to grow in market: Monica Bindra, Founder and CEO, Laiqa – The Financial Express

In the last decade, there has been a paradigm shift in people’s outlook towards period plus menstrual hygiene products in the country. Undoubtedly, the particular ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also raised self-awareness among menstruators in choosing the right product. Statistics reveal that revenue in the Feminine Hygiene segment amounts to US$5. 85bn in 2022. Moreover, the market is expected to grow annually by 5. 15% (CAGR 2022-2026). Meanwhile, India’s feminine cleanliness market is valued at USD 896. 75 million and is projected to witness the CAGR of 14. 7% during the forecast period (2022-2027). Several industry experts have also pointed out that the feminine hygiene market within India will be witnessing an unprecedented growth in the particular recent times.

However, despite the development there are some persistent challenges. According to data by the National Family Health Survey 2015-2016, associated with the 336 million menstruating women in India, only about 121 mil women uses sanitary napkins. Data suggests that less than 50% of rural women use sanitary pads while in urban areas the percentage is higher at around 77%. Financial Express. com reached away to Monica Bindra, Founder and CEO, Laiqa and she talked about the recent trends within the menstrual cleanliness business, period poverty, stigma and taboo among others. Excerpts:

What are the particular recent trends in the business associated with menstrual hygiene products? How has the ongoing coronavirus pandemic influenced these trends?

The menstrual hygiene marketplace has seen a growing appetite for intimate care, plus menstrual cleanliness products. The particular increasing awareness about intimate hygiene and eco-consciousness is usually pushing brands to launch environment-friendly plus innovative products. Before, monthly hygiene was limited to pads of some major brands. Even if other hygiene brands were available, menstruators were a little hesitant to try them. Now menstruators are open to trying products from new brands. They are more into self-care and are eco-conscious. One of the reasons that will made the menstrual hygiene or romantic care range a boom is online platforms where a consumer can research on her own and buy items from new and growing brands. Those brands had been available on e-commerce platforms for a long time but people have little to no faith in online systems. Pandemic made people trust online platforms. Hence it helped D2C brands in order to grow in the market.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the particular number of manufacturers focused on menstrual hygiene. What separates Laiqa from them?

There is a rise in monthly hygiene brand names but what separates Laiqa from others is that it is also into femtech. We have introduced a good application named Period Pal, which is definitely not just a period tracking application but it also educates the users with the help of blogs that covers topics related to female cleanliness, wellness, lifestyle, and fitness. Furthermore, you can take expert advice from gynecologists, mental wellness experts, plus dieticians for free. The motive behind providing free expert advice through our application is to encourage menstruators to take care of their health as it is the most convenient way for a person in order to consult an expert. Our time period pal software is the contribution to educating and aware people of menstrual hygiene plus wellness. Along with period pal, we also have got a team of monthly hygiene and wellness advisors with whom a menstruator can directly interact over a call and take advice upon menstrual hygiene and wellbeing products.

ALSO READ | Popularity and usage of menstrual cups have increased after the pandemic: Experts

India is one of those countries where Period Poverty affects a majority of menstruating individuals. Exactly how does this pose a challenge for companies like Laiqa?

In our country exactly where period poverty affects most of menstruating individuals, it becomes difficult for a brand like us to tell them “who we are”. A brand like us doesn’t even reach the stage where all of us could convey to the individual affected by time period poverty about the brand or what we all do because they are usually unaware of the particular importance of menstrual cleanliness. Even after many initiatives simply by the government and NGOs to aware menstruators, they prefer going back to their own traditional methods instead of using sanitary napkins donated by the government bodies and NGOs. Using the alternatives such as rags, cloth, sand, plus ash puts an individual in higher risk associated with urinary and genital infections, which could lead to a few serious health problems. Being a hygiene plus wellness brand we don’t want any menstruator in order to go via a stage where lack of hygiene awareness put them in the severe health situation.

There is still a large group of menstruating individuals who are not wanting to go beyond conventional products like hygienic pads or even tampons. Exactly what are the particular reasons?

A menstruator being hesitant to use other period care products is a clear case of lack of knowledge which is the outcome associated with taboo. The period is a stigmatized topic. Talking about it seems illegal within your own home. Hence menstruators are misinformed. They know exactly what others have conveyed to them. For instance, many menstruators believe that will using a menstrual cup might break hymen or injure one. This piece of information is a product of a lack of understanding. The good news can be that gradually people are getting educated, breaking the taboo, and shifting to the particular new age of menstrual cleanliness products.

The time is still taboo in India. Exactly what needs to be done to break the stigma associated with menstruation?

Women in India go by means of a lot when it comes to menstruation hygiene. Speaking about periods is still prohibited in many Indian households. Period myths still float in society. One associated with the reasons is a lack of consciousness. I aim to enable every person to manage the girl menstruation care needs, along with confidence, dignity, and without stigma or taboo. For that, we conduct monthly health recognition sessions with various Corporates, women’s forums, Schools, and NGOs where we talk about health problems that could happen because of unhygienic practices. Education is the key, being a menstrual hygiene brand name, we should try to achieve people while much like possible plus educate them about periods and make them realize that stigmatizing periods will only bring severe wellness problems for a menstruator.

What are usually the challenges that you have faced since a person started Laiqa? What are your key milestones and future goals?

The journey was not smooth or easy, there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. It was itself a big task to talk about menstrual hygiene along with the audience as it is a stigmatized topic. Then outbreak happened and it changed the overall dynamics for us as we were brand new in this field. Everything has been overwhelming with regard to me, as Laiqa was in the initial stage. But with our efforts plus determination, all of us overcame all those obstacles and made an increasing brand that is focused on serving premium quality hygiene and health and fitness products in order to menstruators. It’s been motivating to see the positive response. It has allowed us to scale our production of sanitary pads. Right now along with premium quality, toxin-free, and softest pads, we all have hormonal teas, roll-on, intimate wash, period cups, and disposable period panties which are made of high-quality materials or even ingredients plus, are free from toxins. In the particular future, we would like to possess an ecosystem of items that menstruators can make use of to maintain the comfortable, healthy lifestyle and launch new features of the period pal application that will benefit the users in all aspects during periods plus day-to-day life.

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