1) The Founders
Tanvi Johri and Rikshav Borah.
2) The Idea
In a world that finds periods embarrassing and the word 'blood' a taboo, Johri wanted to transform sanitary napkins into a chic, healthy and eco-friendly product. Several reports highlight the health risks posed by mass-produced napkins as they contain synthetic materials and chemicals such as synthetic fibres, dioxins and even pesticides used in rearing cotton.
In March 2016, Johri started working on an all-natural product that would not cause skin rash or chafing. She also spoke to around 4,000 women and found that 70 per cent of them faced these issues. Rikshav Borah, who had sold his start-up to Yatra.com, also joined the team and the duo launched the luxe, environmentally friendly napkins under the brand name Carmesi (it means crimson in Spanish).
Carmesi raised an undisclosed seed amount from Amit Manocha, MD, Everstone Capital, and a clutch of angel investors, including Sunil Kalra, Rohit Sethi, Arun Venkatachalam, Adnan Merhaba and Viditha Kanakamedala, among others.
4) The Product
The top sheet of a Carmesi napkin contains cornstarch and is soft to the skin. The absorbent layer in the middle is made of bamboo fibre. And the bottom layer has corn-based bioplastic. The company is also working on biodegradable packaging. Carmesi products are made by a contract manufacturer in China but are packaged locally. These are available in marketplaces such as Purplle, Nykaa, Amazon and Flipkart or one can opt for a subscription model on the company's website. A pack of 10 is priced at Rs 349; a three-month subscription costs Rs 999 for 30 napkins and a 12-month subscription costs Rs 2,999 for 120 spread across four shipments. Delivery is custom-scheduled for subscribers, ensuring that they get the products ahead of their monthly cycles.
Procter and Gamble's Whisper, Johnson and Johnson's Stayfree, an organic sanitary napkin start-up called Heyday and cloth pad brand Eco Femme are the key competitors.