An upmarket, femtech squad of sorts has made its debut with Indian women taking control of their intimate hygiene, personal wellness, and health solutions. Strengthening the narrative is a desi collective, not really blushing all the way to the bank, while bringing out compact, ingenious, cyclical solutions for every fair, tacit need. From menopause cookies, UTI and PCOS drinks, thyroid control tea, herbal cramp relief patches, intimate washes, grooming products for down under, to coloured biodegradable pads, a boom has happened. The dynamics of menstrual management and femcare are up, courtesy the eager urban spenders and dynamic innovators. Call it the femtech phenomenon

Menu Magic

Call it inclusive chic. Those taboos of newspaper- wrapped sanitary napkins that local chemists send over or sly hypnotherapy apps to make you forget period discomfort are simply passé. Enter a melee of sleek, digitised wellness trackers that map your dates and flow and keep a note of hormone-driven symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, loss of libido… with everything arriving in a pretty posy, at the click of your mouse.

Think puberty, lactation, intimate hygiene, menopause… The booming femtech mart serves up an array in such specials, with tech tweaks to focus on women’s wellness. The solutions for intimate hygiene, fertility, pregnancy, nursing and motherhood demands, sexual health, and overall wellness are serving as liberators for Indian women. Fair game. “The market currently stands at $310 million in India,” says Karan Gupta, founder and CEO, Namyaa Skincare, eyeing a market valuation of `200 crore by 2023. With reason, enough as Namyaa’s organic and plant-based offerings are courting women aplenty. The intimate hygiene wash glowing with the Ayurvedic goodness of haldi and chandan doubles up as a multitasking lighting product too. Hopping bestsellers include intimate lightening serum to bleach the inner thighs naturally while maintaining the natural pH level. 

Femtech phenomenon: Women now have an array of menstrual, femcare products to choose from

It is a natural, need-driven approach. For boomers, mean menstrual cramps brought in painkiller-popping or hugging the mobility-restricting hot water bottle. For millennials, Sirona Hygiene brings in their bestseller in the miraculous pain relief patch powered by the goodness of Ayurveda. For those slipping into menarche, the first-period kit comes to the rescue. Deep Bajaj, CEO and Co-Founder of Sirona Hygiene, has been busy facilitating a grateful shift from the age-old napkins to convenient, eco-friendly menstrual cups. “That’s five lakh women converts, and counting. We have sold over two million units of PeeBuddy (Indian’s first urinary device for women, enabling them to stand and pee).

Then there are underarm sweat pads, intimate wipes, oxo-degradable disposal bags, natural anti-chafing cream, and more,” he says, busy shipping over 50,000 orders every month (recording 140 percent CAGR over the past  three years). Spoilt for choice, buyers have competitive offerings jockeying for visibility. Tanvi Johri’s four-year-old fem hygiene brand Carmesi brings in cramp relief air-activated heat patches with natural ingredients. “Call it a portable solution to PMS that does away with period shame when debilitating cramps arrive,” she says.

Go-Getter

Meanwhile, the power of pink is pirouetting in a chunky 20 percent growth, month-on-month (MoM), as women eagerly pay the premium for forming the menstruating population. “The 18-45 age group forms the heart of our target audience,” says Ankur Goyal, founder and CEO, andMe, for whom the hero PCOS product range is winning rave patrons for its brilliant efficacy. “We started PCOS drinks, launched the hot tea, then the cold version.” The andMe ingenious No Compromise Period Box is a hot sellout, with its eco-friendly sanitary pads, period tea, period chocolates, ‘easy’ menstrual cup, and soothe roll-on to take care of your cramps, bloating, cravings, fatigue and mood swings. Research findings, surveys, and chatty calls to their buyers by their nutritionists constitute the bedrock of innovation for andMe. Coasting ahead, come the andMe app and 40 new products up next year. Biggest challenge? “Logistics: 70 percent consumers are in non-metros. Also, the pandemic has been tough,” says Goyal.

Serving the PMS-pounded population are Power Gummies. The brainchild of CEO Divij Bajaj, who astutely launched That Time of the Month Gummies targeting women on PMS, on World Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28. “Though three out of four women deal with PMS, it is largely ignored,” he says. But his innovation arrives on point in the tacit, tasty niche. The tangy chew, strapped with the soothing power of passionflower, milk thistle extracts, magnesium, vitamins and more. It relieves anxiety, insomnia, and mood swings due to hormonal changes.

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

Read the Full Story