It was heartening to see a film on menstruation win an Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category this year. That had to be proof that the time had finally arrived for women in India to begin engaging with their health and wellness. Just as the documentary, Period. End of Sentence, celebrates women’s right to health and education, the young entrepreneur, Tanvi Johri works to educate and empower women about their own bodies.
Carmesi, the all-natural women’s personal care brand, was born out of a very personal experience of its co-founder and CEO, Tanvi Johri. Yet to step into her 30s, this feisty young lady has created an online brand for women that has received tremendous response from consumers, attracting repeat customers as well. Unlike conventional sanitary pads that are made of plastic and other synthetic materials, Carmesi pads are made with only natural ingredients. They ensure that your body is not exposed to any harmful synthetics or chemicals, and promise a safe and healthy period.
The birth of a red hot idea
Tanvi remembers a painful adolescence spent in hostels, facing issues of rashes and allergies with conventional sanitary napkins. She also recalls not taking any action back then and simply moving on with life, as most women tend to do. She never equated the discomfort with the product, blaming her own physiology instead.
Disposal of used napkins was another of her concerns, with the concept of biodegradability being almost non-existent with most consumers. Tanvi was stuck by the issue of hygienic disposal of soiled napkins, especially in public places, and why giant FMCG and pharma companies had never addressed it. This was also the period when Tanvi was working with startups, learning that a good idea and a basic business sense could help one address problems one felt deeply about.
With these two concerns close to her heart, Tanvi began researching the manufacturing practices around sanitary napkins. Her shock at finding a lack of policy guidelines on manufacturing such intimate personal care products for women was the tipping point. Most women, she found, assume the products to be made of cotton, although a lot of synthetic material go into their making. That was when she decided to create a premium brand of women’s personal care products with nothing but natural materials, and Carmesi was born. In their effort to be environmentally more responsible, Carmesi pads and disposal bags are completely biodegradable.
Empowering women with education and experience
‘Carmesi’, the Spanish for ‘crimson’, is symbolic of menstrual blood. The brand empowers women through education and experience. The social media platforms of Carmesi consciously carry more blogs on women’s health than on brand promotions and product pictures. “We inspire women to ask more questions. To know what their bodies are exposed to every time they use a product. To know how their decisions are impacting the environment. We teach them about their bodies by telling them about PCOS, about problems like endometriosis and cervical cancer,” shares Tanvi passionately.
The other conscious decision was to make women feel good about their period products. Carmesi is the first brand that created the category of premium sanitary napkins in the country. “Something that the whole menstrual hygiene industry completely lacked in experience when it came to products till that point,” adds Tanvi proudly. “The product ingredients and the packaging that we use, all offer a premium experience for women.”
Carmesi primarily manufactures and sells all-natural sanitary napkins. The top-sheet made of corn starch is extremely soft and delicate to the skin, thus preventing any rashes or irritation. Moreover, it remains extra dry. The core made of bamboo fiber is super-absorbent and provides a complete leakage protection. The bottom layer is made of corn-based bioplastic and remains breathable and comfortable. The pads are incredibly thin in order to ensure a super-comfortable experience.
They have even launched a similar line of panty liners barely a few months ago in October 2018. “The response to our panty liners has been even better than we expected,” says Tanvi, “Almost 60-70% of our website customers who bought sanitary napkins have also bought our panty liners.”
Carmesi also offers direct employment to women. “Right now we have about 15 women across our corporate office and warehouses,” says Tanvi. Carmesi mainly retails its products online, Amazon being a major selling platform for the brand.