Aastha Negi, Founder of She Calm India, spoke to SheThePeople.TV about her mission to promote menstrual hygiene among Indian women and how she aims to achieve it.
“I was 15 years old when I got to know that my domestic help used a cotton cloth during her periods. ‘I can’t afford sanitary napkins’, she told me. I was shocked to hear this. I went to my mother and narrated the incident to her. She told me, “There is still a lot of shyness amongst everyone when it comes to discussing menstrual hygiene and that is because it is related to blood, vagina, smell and mess.”
I was taken aback and decided to do something about it. At 22, I started SheCalm India, a brand of organic sanitary pads which are good for both – the body and the environment.
I started off by sending free samples to my close friends and relatives. ‘You are doing a great job’, their encouraging words pushed me to work harder. My clientele base expanded based on the word of mouth. I started employing more women who helped me in packaging, inventory, transportation management, networking and sales.
Gradually, I managed to reach out to 5000 women all across India through seminars educating them about the need to switch to organic pads. I have also associated with over 10 NGOs intending to give free access to sanitary napkins to the youth. I have been invited as a guest speaker to many renowned institutions, PR companies and co-working spaces to talk about my mission.
I had invested a small amount of Rs 4500/- to kickstart my journey. The money was utilised to test the quality of the pads I was making. After receiving a good response, I moved on to investing more. I am currently making Rs. 1 lakh per month in revenue which is spent on paying my employees’ salaries, creating awareness among women about menstrual hygiene and investing back in the business.
For me, entrepreneurship has never been the goal. It has always been about using my knowledge and skills to make a positive difference in society. I have learned that confidence, the ability to take risks and time management can help us succeed in whatever we fix our eyes on.”
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