How 3 Brands Found Online Business Sucess in Feminine Hygiene
Despite catering to a niche market, these feminine hygiene brands are made by women—for women—and highlight the importance of sustainability.
Although feminine hygiene products cater to a niche market, it have seen some growth in the past year. In fact, the global market size of the feminine hygiene product market grew from $26.87 billion (approximately PHP 1.47 trillion) in 2022 to $28.45 billion in 2023 (approximately PHP 1.55 trillion).
Here in the Philippines, much of the available products catering to feminine hygiene are commercially produced and are likewise found in drugstores and supermarkets. However, sustainable alternatives to these commercially-produced hygiene products are now available and can be bought from online businesses.
What’s more, these successful online businesses put women at the forefront—given that they are made by women for women. And in doing so, they have found online business success. Here are some examples.
Prior to starting Moontime Cup, its owner Kath Barcelo was already a menstrual cup user for over a year and ended up loving the product. “I discovered its benefits for the users and the environment: safe, cost-effective, convenient, and sustainable,” she says.
Kath launched Moontime Cup in September 2021 with the goal of providing menstrual cups that suit both beginner and long-time users. “We have customized the firmness of Moontime Cup: not too soft so it’s perfect for beginners, not too firm that’s why it’s comfortable to use.”
Having experienced being totally clueless when it comes to menstrual cups herself, Kath realized the importance of creating a supportive community for her customers. “A lot of women are curious to try something new but are sometimes afraid to take risks,” she explains. “That’s why creating a supportive community around your brand can be crucial to building trust and loyalty among your customers.”
“Your brand must be relatable and trustworthy where women can ask questions and openly share experiences,” the 30-year-old girl boss adds. “Because menstrual cups are still a relatively new product for many people, providing clear and comprehensive education is essential.”
The market for sustainable and environmentally friendly women’s hygiene products is still small, so Kath advises those interested to start a similar business to “start by identifying your passion and purpose, and use that as the foundation for your business. From there, conduct market research to understand the needs and wants of your target customers and their pain points, as well as the competition.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help as well and continuously study and learn about the industry,” she likewise reminds.
Back in 202, Aiai Garcia launched Nala Woman “out of personal necessity and a desire to create change.”
“After decades of experiencing my period, I couldn’t help but wonder why there were such limited options available to menstruators in the Philippines,” she shared. “Tampons were difficult to find, and menstrual care made with organic and biodegradable materials were even rarer.”
“But it wasn’t just about the limited options. It was about the environmental impact and the harmful effects of chemicals in traditional pads and tampons on women’s health,” the 33-year-old girl boss adds. “I was shocked by the amount of waste that a menstruator produced from their monthly pad and tampon use, and it was a wake-up call that something had to change.”
As a result, Nala Woman’s products are made out of organically grown cotton, free from chlorine-bleach, added fragrances, and chlorine-bleaching. Aiai also made sure to eliminate plastic in our packaging and used eco-conscious alternatives in the individual wrappers covering the pads and tampons, which are made of cornstarch and paper. “Our products biodegrade within three years compared to mainstream brands that take 500 to 800 years,” she says proudly.
Running Nala Woman has made Aiai realize three important things: the power of community, the importance of education, and the impact of cultural norms.
“Creating a sense of community among our customers has been crucial for us. Women often face unique challenges and having a safe space where they can connect and support each other has been incredibly beneficial,” Aiai explains. “Many women are not aware of their own bodies and the various products and services that are available to them. Providing the much needed education and resources to our customers helps us build trust.”
She points out that “Many cultures have long-standing taboos around menstruation and other women’s health issues, which can create barriers to women seeking the care they need. At our company, we understand the significance of addressing these taboos and working to eliminate the stigma associated with women’s health.”
While menstrual cups are relatively known to women today, they “were virtually unheard of in the country” back in 2015, according to Sinaya Cup Founder and CEO Audrey Tangonan. This forced her to order abroad and pay a large amount.
“I was a woman in need, and I decided to be part of the solution so that Filipinas could have physical and educational accessibility to the innovation that is menstrual cups,” she explains of her decision to launch Sinaya Cup. Audrey proudly adds that Sinaya Cup is actually the country’s first homegrown brand for menstrual cups.
Aside from being proudly local, Sinaya Cup keeps as much of its products, containers, packaging, and even instruction materials sustainable and practical as well. “Our abaca containers are Philippine-sourced, Filipino-woven and sewn, and majority of the materials are compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable,” the 34-year-old points out. “Our metal labels, which bear our name, are handcrafted by local artisans. Our boxes are unique as they were designed and conceptualized by our all-Filipina team.”
As someone who owns and runs a business that caters to women’s needs, Audrey wants aspiring entrepreneurs to realize that “there is a big opportunity in innovation and pioneering ideas for women.”
“Trusting that my perspective as a young woman was valid and valuable is probably one of the best lessons I proved to be true,” she says.