In India, and in many countries the world over, menstruation, has been veiled in myths and secretiveness, superstition and deeply embedded taboos. It has been a hard-fought battle to overcome such societal restrictions, even though today these still hold true in many ways.
India in recent times has made an effort to open up gender-inclusive conversations to help bust the myths, superstitions and taboos that surround menstruation.
Spearheading this movement from another perspective is Niine, a sanitary pad manufacturer, whose home-grown initiative has been very vocal on many platforms in this battle against the stigma around periods.
India has the second-highest menstruating population globally with 35.5 crore females. The sanitary napkin market, however, is a dismal 18%. When Niine Hygiene and Personal Care launched its operations in 2018 it made a commitment to bring about a change in this number by contributing towards improving female hygiene and sanitation conditions across India, and to significantly grow the market.
The Power behind Niine
The passion and commitment of Niine Hygiene and Personal Care has been the driving force behind its rapid elevation in this niche market. Founder Amar Tulsiyan and co-founders Sharat Khemka and Gaurav Bathwal are backed by a wealth of experience in textiles, mouth fresheners, and hospitality industries. Inspired by their collective desire to improve hygiene conditions in India, especially feminine hygiene, they chose to enter into the category of menstrual hygiene. They couldn’t have chosen a more challenging segment in this sector to make a name for themselves!
Their aim was to offer best in class, quality products while focusing on the larger aim of making a positive change in society. They kicked-off operations with the launch of their premium, yet affordable, Made-in-India sanitary napkins in 2018. Largely dominated by MNCs, this category offered the company an opportunity to prove its mettle for their future in this field. That it turned out to be a hit is no surprise given the success the brand has had since then.
Niine Sanitary Napkins was the first brand to comply with the government mandate of providing disposal bags along with sanitary napkins, by launching its own crafted Biodegradable Disposable Bags in 2018, which caters to not only disposal problems but also introduced variants of extra soft products for the hot and dry climate, customized for the Indian consumers.
Today Niine is ranked amongst the most trusted sanitary napkin brands among women in India. It has been awarded as India’s Most Admirable Brand 2020 for offering premium hygiene and personal care products to consumers.
Richa Singh, CEO, Niine Hygiene and Personal Care is of the opinion that, "Excellence and Passion to Win in each and everything that we do, has been my guiding mantra, and this is also something that we at Niine look for while hiring people. The Niine family is united in their passion to win and create a brand that stands for quality and meaningful innovation in hygiene and personal care products for the Indian and international consumer."
Niine-Rajasthan Royals: Generating Conversations at IPL
Niine continues to think out of the box when it comes to promoting the brand. The company decided to partner with Rajasthan Royals to ramp up its campaign and drive awareness around the adoption of safe menstrual hygiene practices. In a unique move the back of the team jersey of Rajasthan Royals was emblazoned with the Niine logo for the Indian Premier League held in the UAE from September 19th until November 10th, 2020; the aim was to open up a conversation among men and women to break menstrual stigmas on an international platform. Since sanitization and personal hygiene have been a focal point for Niine, it provided the Rajasthan Royals team with hand hygiene kits to continue playing without compromising on health and safety.
On its part Rajasthan Royals was delighted to welcome Niine on board, who have been frontrunners in making a change in the way menstruation is perceived in the society. The synergy between the two organisations, to work on women's empowerment, is something the cricket team was quite excited about. Social media was flooded with appreciation posts for this unique collaboration. The IPL association truly magnified their #LetsTalkPeriods campaign to get both men and women, to talk about periods.
Niine CSR during Covid-19 pandemic
In line with its ongoing commitment to communicating and lobbying for the need for sanitary napkins, Niine prevailed upon officials and government bodies to ensure women stayed protected for their menstrual hygiene during the Covid-19 lockdown. As divulged by Amar Tulsiyan, founder and chairman, Niine Hygiene and Personal Care, the government, as a result of the company’s lobbying, revised the list to include sanitary napkins under Covid-19 essential commodities. "The Niine team, as Covid Warriors, ensured continuous production and distribution of napkins pan-India to keep women protected and comfortable as India battled with Covid-19," he shares.
Gender inclusive conversations
From the company’s perspective it has played a pivotal role as a driving force for creating platforms to help remove the taboo of periods from society; it also prides itself in its endeavour to open up conversations in families and men, in particular, to seeing and discussing sanitary products as a norm.
Niine Period Tracker app
Ramping up its agenda to streamline its promotion and distribution of sanitary napkins the company has been the first in India to launch a period tracking app, which has been developed in consultation with medical professionals. Aimed at addressing the lack of knowledge about menstruation (71% of women in India are ignorant about it before their first period), the multilingual app (available in 9 different languages) aims to break the stigma around menstruation discussion and make women more aware about their bodies’ functions and natural menstrual cycle.
To streamline the process of making Niine Sanitary napkins accessible to its customers, the company has also launched a ‘WhatsApp Store Locator’ service that enables customers to find the closest store where Niine Sanitary Napkins are available.