July 25: In 2020, after the Covid-19 pandemic tightened its grip on India, leading to a lockdown, the government got into action to ensure access to essential items for every citizen. However, one essential item did not make it to the list – sanitary napkins. This led to a unique campaign by Niine, a company making premium-but-affordable menstrual and personal hygiene products, to lobby for the inclusion of sanitary napkins in the list of essential items. The campaign led to the government revising its list. The person who made concerted efforts towards pushing the case for the inclusion of sanitary napkins in the list was Amar Tulsiyan, founder and CEO of Niine Personal Hygiene.
For Tulisiyan, working towards this cause was not something new. He had founded the Niine movement way back in 2016, even before he launched the brand Niine. “I was sensitized about the issue of menstrual hygiene because of all the women who have been a part of my life. Even today, a vast majority of the women in India do not have access to affordable menstrual hygiene products. Let alone access, there is an acute lack of awareness around it, even among women. When you try to start a conversation around it, the societal taboos come in between. I felt strongly that I had to do something about it, and this is the reason I started the Niine movement,” said Tulsiyan.
Niine – the brand
Niine Personal Hygiene was established in 2018 with the goal of helping to improve the conditions of female sanitation and hygiene in India. Niine made a mark very quickly by focusing on creating the best quality menstrual hygiene products suited for Indian females. Two years of pre-launch research helped the company fine-tune the product range to keep the product price low while giving consumers the best user experience. Amar Tulsiyan has been recognized on various occasions for the work that he has been doing in this domain. At the 2018 International Women’s Health Summit by FOGSI (Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of India), he received the esteemed Partner in Health Award as a testament to his focus and dedication to the cause of women’s hygiene.
Tulsiyan grew up in the town of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. However, he received hands-on business training in the family business. From a young age, he liked to brainstorm business ideas which could also address the challenges that he saw around him. At the age of 16, he began learning about his family’s petroleum business and by 20, he was already involved in the textile business. This gave him the real-life learnings to take forward his business ambitions.
At the same time, the untapped market for menstrual hygiene products was also very large. Not one to be deterred by challenges, the other thing that attracted Tulsian to this segment was that it was largely dominated by two big players. This combination of factors was the seeds of Niine’sjourney. “There are very few businesses which be so useful and yet make business sense. Affordable menstrual hygiene products have far-reaching consequences for women in India. Lack of it restricts their mobility, personal choices and even attendance in school and participation in community life,” he says.
The road ahead
When Tulsiyan decided to launch Niine, he faced harsh criticism and even ridicule. People told him that an Indian brand would not be able to survive in a market which is dominated by big brands. But his commitment was unwavering, and he brushed aside all the criticism to build a homegrown brand that could compete against all the other big names in the industry. “Our principle is to invest in the 3M factors. We invested in Man, Machine, and Material from the inception of Niine. We installed the best quality machines to deliver high-end quality products consistently. We imported the best machines, like the ones the leading brands were using. The raw material selection and R&D to develop the product is well taken care of, and 60% of the raw materials are imported from US and Europe,” Tulsian emphasized.
“We have hired the best industry talent in manufacturing, sales, and other functions, which has helped us grow the market and create a brand identity at par, or better than the leading players,” he further asserted. The company has managed to beat international brands in bagging government projects. In 2021, it was selected for the government’s PLI scheme in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. The brand was selected based on criteria like experience, financial capacity, location of manufacturing, etc. For Tulsiyan, this is the beginning of a long journey in which he wants to create a large-scale impact.
Credit: Source link