BENGALURU: Natural and biodegradable sanitary napkins, unlike the conventional ones, are the way forward. The idea of Bliss Natural sanitary napkins emerged when curious engineers Niveda R and Gowtham S wished to help menstruating women. The journey began in 2017 as a part of their BTech final year project. “As fashion technology students, we wanted to work around organic sanitary pads.
An NGO from Andhra Pradesh came to us with kenaf, a fibre plant that grew abundantly in the locality. We observed that the fabric was antimicrobial, a great absorbent and resistant to mildew (a type of fungus) and draught. We decided to implement it in sanitary pads. It turned out to be a success,” said Coimbatore-based Niveda R.
The duo developed their prototype during college days. The product was approved by South Indian Textile Research Association as per the Bureau of Indian Standards. Niveda went on to pursue her post-graduation in the same field and Gowtham worked as a research associate at Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore where the duo studied. After a year, the commercial prototype was developed and Bliss Naturals was launched in September 2018.
“Around 60-70 per cent of women are not satisfied with the existing sanitary napkin. The plastic in it causes itching and rashes. We worked on it and kept the layers in the pad breathable. Over 1,13,000 tonnes of junk make it to the garbage fills because of sanitary napkins. It takes 500-800 years to degrade. Our products will take only six months,” said Niveda.
The raw materials are sourced from Coimbatore and sent to a manufacturer in Pune who designs sanitary napkins exclusively for Bliss Naturals. Two to three lakh napkins have been sold in the last one year across the country. The products are available at selective organic and departmental stores in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Pollachi. Two sizes are available — XL and XXL — priced at `59 and `79. Each pack consists of six pads and each lasts for six to eight hours. The final pack comes in an eco-friendly box.
“We started as a student start-up with an investment of `30,000. We won a few national awards and used the cash prize on our brand. The All India Council for Technical Education and Engineering Council of India awarded us Vishwakarma award in 2017. In December of the same year, AICTE, Department of Science and Technology and Confederation of Indian Industries presented us with three awards.
The most promising student innovator award, Srushti Mitra Award, and International Centre for Entrepreneurship, Ahemdabad offered us free incubation support,” she added. The duo wants to implement kenaf in all hygienic products like diapers. They plan to pitch the ideas to the investors by next year to develop the company. “We started as a student start-up. We did not think about investment; the risk-taking trait has brought us this far,” she said.
In a nutshell
The commercial prototype was developed in 2018
Bliss Natural Pad was launched in September 2018 with an investment of `30,000
They have sold two to three lakh pads in a year
They have won national awards for their innovation
They ship across the country