It’s time to break the taboo


The Asian Age - - Trendmill - PRATYUSHA CHAT­TER­JEE

A 26 year old en­tre­pre­neur , Gauri Sing­hal, has the vi­sion to reach out to ev­ery woman with a one- stop so­lu­tion brand for fem­i­nine hy­giene. Start­ing at a re­ally young age, she has led and built a con­sumer brand and a fam­ily ven­ture, Sharp Foods in the sta­ples cat­e­gory to a 100- crore turnover con­sumer brand in a span of 3 years. Sharp Foods is present in over 8,000 lo­ca­tions across In­dia. 2019 is a year when women are be­com­ing more con­scious about tak­ing bet­ter care of their per­sonal needs. In­dia de­spite be­ing in a bet­ter state than what it used to be five years ago, has a long way to go in the mat­ter of fe­male hy­giene. Thus, till date women them­selves do not want to indulge in re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing their men­strual days. But it is high time to break the an­cient con­cept.

The most trend­ing topic nowa­days, es­pe­cially af­ter Pad­man’s re­lease, is that what the fu­ture is of fem­i­nine san­i­ta­tion in In­dia. Gauri quite frankly shares that, “The fem­i­nine hy­giene mar­ket in In­dia stands at $ 340 mil­lion and is ex­pected to reach $ 522 mil­lion in 2020. Cur­rently, 86% of the mar­ket is dom­i­nated by san­i­tary pads. How­ever, with more in­no­va­tive, af­ford­able and high­qual­ity al­ter­na­tives such as tam­pons en­ter­ing the mar­ket, this fig­ure is set to trans­form. Cur­rently, tam­pons are used by just 1% of women us­ing fem­i­nine hy­giene prod­uct. How­ever, they will con­tinue to cap­ture a larger share in the mar­ket in the years to come, given the ris­ing aware­ness around the im­por­tance of fem­i­nine hy­giene, in­creas­ing dis­pos­able in­come and fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence among women.”

Tam­pons and men­strual cups are new terms to a whole lot even in this mod­ern era. Though, due to the in­flu­ence of the west­ern­iza­tion, tam­pons are a known think for ur­ban people. But lots of them will try and gain a full re­view be­fore even think­ing of buy­ing one. So the mar­ket growth in In­dia for tam­pons is a mys­tery to a lot. But, Gauri dif­fers to this point. She says, “Sev­eral for­ward- think­ing brands and start- ups across the coun­try are now iden­ti­fy­ing the lack of aware­ness around tam­pons and mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts to­wards rais­ing aware­ness and re­mov­ing the taboo around their use. Once women in In­dia re­al­ize the su­pe­rior na­ture of tam­pons as com­pared to other op­tions, the mar­ket is go­ing to wit­ness hockey stick growth. This shift is not go­ing to be re­stricted to ur­ban parts of the coun­try, but will be across all so­cio- eco­nomic sec­tors. Tam­pons are a so­lu­tion that can be em­braced by all age groups across de­mo­graph­ics, which is why gar­gan­tuan growth is pro­jected for the cat­e­gory.”

It may sound ab­surd to an ur­ban chick, but women still avoid us­ing tam­pons to some ex­tent. Some even still pre­fer cloth over san­i­tary nap­kins. Gauri thinks that the rea­son be­hind this is, “The ap­pre­hen­sion to­wards tam­pons is pri­mar­ily due to the fact that we have grown up us­ing san­i­tary pads and have had lit­tle to no ex­po­sure to tam­pons. Since we do not hear about tam­pons through tele­vi­sion or other ad­ver­tise­ments ei­ther, the idea of us­ing them be­comes stranger. Fur­ther, as they are in­ter­nal use prod­ucts, there are also a lot of myths around tam­pons right from dif­fi­culty in us­age to high costs which give rise to fur­ther trep­i­da­tion about their use. How­ever, through ram­pant word of mouth, an in­creas­ing num­ber of women are mak­ing the switch and stick­ing to tam­pons thanks to the con­ve­nience and com­fort that they of­fer.”

Some people keep com­plain­ing that san­i­tary pads keep caus­ing rashes. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cently con­ducted sur­vey, cus­tomers usu­ally com­plain of a con­stant feel­ing of wet­ness. While san­i­tary pads are a great prod­uct, they do suf­fer from some draw­backs where a prod­uct cat­e­gory such as tam­pons and men­strual cups will suc­ceed. In com­par­i­son to san­i­tary pads, Tam­pons are highly por­ta­ble and pocket friendly. They are also eas­ily dis­pos­able. Many women com­plain that pads are un­com­fort­able when fit­ted clothes are worn. Tam­pons are un­de­tectable in any kind of cloth­ing. Women have the flex­i­bil­ity to bathe or go swim­ming with­out hav­ing to re­move their tam­pon. What­ever it is, it’s high time that the hush tone is bro­ken and people come for­ward and speaks up for them and opines about what’s good and what’s both­er­ing them. But the ul­ti­mate choice is yours. What­ever makes you com­fort­able is the ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion for your pe­riod days.

Sev­eral for­ward- think­ing brands and start- ups across the coun­try are now iden­ti­fy­ing the lack of aware­ness around tam­pons and mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts to­wards rais­ing aware­ness and re­mov­ing the taboo around their use.

Gauri Sing­hal

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