We often complain about the things which seem to be absurd as compared to the normal. But barely anyone even thinks of taking a step towards a change that would further satisfy their own mindset. It just takes your conviction to ignite that change and your belief to develop it further as you are always one decision away from a totally different life. This time we bring to you the story of a woman and her initiative; her brand which decided to bring a change. We uncover the true success story of Snigdha Ananth and her brand Naari Cloth Pads.
Naari Cloth Pads was started in February 2019 and launched in July 2019. Snigdha was working in an MNC in Delhi and decided to move back to her home town Bangalore last year to join her father’s business and further help him in his market research firm, Verace Market Research. When she shifted to Bangalore permanently it was then she noticed, her mother’s “zero waste lifestyle”. From reusing containers to upcycling cloth materials and even in case of menstrual routine, her mother used to follow the rule of “zero or minimum wastage” whenever and wherever possible.
Seeing her mother adopting a lifestyle that should be adopted by all the millennials out there gave her the idea of Naari Cloth Pads. She believes menstruation is a topic that is stigmatized because of patriarchy. So, a lot of people don't talk about it or question practices that exist even today. We tend to use the products available in the market without really questioning what goes into making them. The idea of Naari Cloth Pads was born from this. The regular plastic pads available in the market contain harmful chemicals which she got to know about when she formatted research on the same. The plastic is bleached in order to give it the white color which further produces a chemical named Dioxin (declared as environment pollutant by W.H.O.) which clashes and affects the reproductive health and immune system. There was infinitesimal information available amongst the general public let alone be the awareness! This gave her the idea to minimize wastage especially in order to conquer taboo and generate awareness. This gave birth to the idea of Naari Cloth Pads which today is a successful brand at making, creating awareness, and selling sustainable and eco-friendly menstrual kits for all age groups. Gradually leading to the expansion of their idea, Snigdha and her mother started a blog named @litt.erless to talk and bring to light some sustainable and zero-waste practices.
We always believe what is sold to us without even referring to the facts and statistics. The regular plastic pads which have been in trend directly affects one’s body. Moreover, those plastics add up to non-biodegradable waste which gives rise to some other serious issues from which the world is already struggling. There is hardly any space left to be used as dump lands in urban areas, so these companies incinerate the non-biodegradable waste in village areas or areas which are less occupied. The incineration further affects the water retention capacity of soil leading to groundwater depletion. Self-destruction coupled with environmental degradation is a phenomenon that can create unmanageable havoc. One plastic pad takes around 500-800 years to degrade, this tenure outlives us all to our 4 generations and on an average, a woman uses around 16,000 pads in her lifetime. Just imagine the destruction that has been made and which is on its way too. Be it the most natural “cotton pad” it is made up of plastic, the plastic which prevents leakage!
Its high time we realize that what is good for our body will also be good for the environment. Every girl must have faced this situation even for once in her life where she had been held impure, not clean, unfit, undesirable, and many more when she is menstruating. They are asked to stay out of home, stay out of temples, not eat pickles, and whatnot. All this exists due to lack of awareness and information which can definitely not be solved with dumping heaps and heaps of plastic again!
When Ms. Snigdha started with Naari Cloth Pads, she was often questioned that why does the pad need to have designs and beautiful fabrics. Snigdha says, “just because we are the only ones who can see it doesn’t mean it has to be plastic. Even if it is comfortable and beautiful, it will give us confidence and strength. Why cannot a pad have its own personality!” And thus, she incorporated comfortable fabrics with beautiful prints into her ecofriendly sustainable cloth pads.
She had a vision of cloth pads as an alternative for the plastic ones but never had a full proof plan. Before launching the brand, they were extensively researching for substitutes on plastics to hold on to the problem of leakage and odor. They even introduced figurative changes in the pad which will allow the users to wash it at their convenience and dry it fast for the next use. In July 2019, she was invited by Radio 94.3 for the cause of “Plastic Free July” where she promoted the use of cloth pads over plastic pads showcasing its advantages. They innovated various ranges of menstrual hygiene products for all age groups and for all types of ‘flows’.
The topic has been a restricted one since ancient times. While coming up with the ranges of products, it was difficult for Snigdha to test those samples and find people who would be ready to test them and give feedback for changes as well. Initially, it was Snigdha and her mother who used to test the samples but due to the ‘monthly arrival’ issue of menstruation, they had to wait for one month again for the next trial. Also, it was an obstacle for them to ask people with different flows and cycle patterns to test the product out and give feedback. Many of her friends and family members were not supportive of the idea because of the restricted tag attached to it and it was also a task for her to balance her market research business and Naari Cloth Pads.
She was always underestimated to take over her father’s business and thus start a new one and it generally used to be wise men who were not used to discuss business with a young woman. This phase of entrepreneurship bought a dark phase in her life too. It often happens that whenever we set out to achieve something and are not able to achieve it, it stresses us out. The same was happening with Ms. Snigdha and it was slowly affecting her mental health. But as it is said truly, no one can stop you from achieving what you want to, and thus despite all the down pulls, Snigdha flew out of that pit with flying colors
She expresses her gratitude for her parents for being the backbone. She is thankful to her mother who has a background of fashion and who gave Naari Cloth Pads a fashionable identity and her father who was always supportive and suggested her with marketing strategies and a lot more. They also collaborated with “Indian Minimalist” who tried out their product and was overwhelmed by its results.
At present they are working on introducing a new range of products related to reusable baby nappies and menstrual hygiene care which caters to menstruation-related issues like cramps, irritation, etc. which is natural, organic and easy to use with no side effects.
They see this hard time Covid-19 as a boon as people are understanding the need to shift to environment-friendly substitutes and healthy regimes. They also introduced embroidered protective masks for kids, women, and men all. It is a relief to Ms. Snigdha that finally, people are taking command of their health and their surrounding in their own hands.
One just needs to develop a different perspective in order to bring a change. Anyone can bring a change for good which will further impart its goodness onto the entire expanse. All that you need to do is just take a step, and before you even know there will be a change!
A personal message from Snigdha,
“Due to years of aggressive marketing, we have bought into this culture of single-use products. And believe that the products available in the market are what's best for us. I would encourage more and more women to talk about periods in conventional circles so that they make an informed choice towards choosing the right menstrual care product for themselves”.
- Team Satyavachan