Founded in 2018, Niine is a homegrown women’s menstrual hygiene brand. Entrepreneur Amar Tusiyan speaks to Women Entrepreneur India team about the brand’s journey into making menstrual hygiene products available to every women in the country- financially & socially.
Menstruation is still considered a ‘bad word’ in a majority of Indian households. However, the problem runs much deeper than people’ reluctance to say a simple word i.e. PERIOD.
Amar Tulsiyan, Founder& CEO of women’s menstrual hygiene brand Niine explains, “The menstrual hygiene market in India has penetrated less than 20 percent of the country’s population.”
A major reason behind the low penetration of menstrual hygiene products is the taboo surrounding the topic. He believes there is also a lack of knowledge about the benefits of using sanitary napkins. Owing to these factors women often have to resort to traditional and unsafe practices which results in major health concerns.
Tulsiyan launched Niine in the May of 2018 and the brand has since been working towards making menstrual hygiene products available to every women in India- financially and socially. The brand’s name ‘Niine’ draws inspiration from the importance the number holds in the transformative journey of motherhood for every woman.
Women’s health is often directly connected to their individual growth as well as the freedom they exercise in the society. This is why it’s imperative for women to have access to menstrual hygiene products at all times.
Other than making products available, the company also works towards raising awareness regarding menstrual hygiene. “We center a lot of our efforts around raising awareness about menstruation along with distributing Niine sanitary napkins to the women, to give them access to affordable means of menstrual hygiene,” says Tulsiyan.
In India we are always taught to treat topics regarding women’s menstrual health in hushed tones. But the need of the hour is to break this taboo and bring out these topics out in the open.
Tulsiyan agrees, “It’s important to talk about it and make others talk about it too. We regularly hold awareness and distribution drives in schools, colleges and other institutions where we talk to young girls and women about menstruation, its biological significance and how to take care of themselves during this time.”
Speaking about the stigma surrounding the topic on ground, Tulsiyan narrates, “Menstruation is a highly stigmatized topic and we still have a long way to go in our mission. Sometimes, when we go to schools for our awareness drives, we are asked to conduct them in a hush hush manner. Girls and women are often shy and hesitate to ask us questions or express their doubts. But that has only served to strengthen our resolve, because the resistance is an indication of how much menstrual education and access is needed for the women of our country.”
Niine runs campaigns that address how one must overcome the stigma surrounding the topic. One of the brand’s most popular campaigns was its collaboration with Rajasthan Royals during the IPL. The brand distributed sanitary napkins to 9 girls for every run scored by the team. RR scored the highest number of runs in IPL history that year!
Making Products Affordability
The price factor plays a big role in keeping a majority of Indian women devoid of their menstrual hygiene needs. “Affordability becomes an issue when there is no awareness of menstrual health and hygiene,” says Tulsiyan.
He believes that sanitary pads should be affordable and Niine’s primary objective has been to bring quality together with affordability. The products are placed in the affordable range and at par with other leading brands.
“We are extremely aware of the reason we started Niine- to make sanitary pads accessible to every woman in India- financially and socially, without the stigma- and that plays into all the decisions we make regarding the brand and its products, especially the pricing,” says Tulsiyan.
Launched in 2018, Niine sold sanitary napkins worth INR 32 crores in the first year. Sales grew to INR 112 crores in 2019 and INR 232 crores in 2021. The projected estimate for 2023 is 300 crores. “These numbers are a testament to the brand’s growth, which has spread to every corner of India and Nepal due to our distribution network,” says Tulsiyan.
The brand has also incorporated innovations to increase its products’ appeal in the market. Niine was the first to introduce free bio-degradable disposal pouches with its packs for safe disposal of used sanitary napkins. Additionally the brand has included some elements from European style packaging by introducing resealable packs in the ‘Ultra Thin’ ranges. Users can simply pull out a sanitary napkin or a wet wipe and close the pack.
Tulsiyan’s first order of business is to make brandNiine the best when it comes to the personal care market. Niine has also ventured into the baby care sector with its diaper pants and baby wipes as well as the hand hygiene sector with sanitizers and hand wipes. Going forward the company is looking to launch adult diapers in the future. “We want to continue making products that understand and address the needs of our customers,” states Tulsiyan.