Feminine hygiene in India was not considered as something important till a few years back. There are many women who are still compromising with their health by using substandard products for menstrual hygiene. But with women becoming more and more educated and financially independent, they are becoming more aware of the need of personal hygiene. The need for products related to feminine hygiene is increasing. But at the same time the market is flooded with low quality products. Keeping this concern in view two energetic youth from Gurgaon started a venture named 'Azah'. Azah was founded with a view to innovate, improve and deliver products that genuinely solves hygiene related problems faced by Indian women. Presently, Azah manufactures ultra-soft organic sanitary napkins which are safe and comfortable.
StartupTalky interviewed Azah founder Mr. Aqib Mohammad to learn more about the company.
Azah - Highlights
|Founder||Shashwat Diesh & Aqib Mohammad|
- About Azah
- Azah - Industry Details
- Azah - The Idea
- Azah - Name & Logo
- Azah - Customer Acquisition
- Azah - Funding
- Azah - Challenges
- Azah - Achievements
- Azah - Founders
- Azah - Work Culture
- Azah - Competitors
- Azah - Future Plans
- Azah - Advisors & Mentors
- Azah - Founders' Advice
Currently Azah is manufacturing ultra-soft organic sanitary pads, which are available in 3 types of boxes - Box of 12, box of 15 and box of 30 pads. Azah pads are made ensuring premium quality at every stage of the production process. The current price for Azah sanitary pads is Rs 239 for the box of 12 pads, Rs 289 for the box of 15 pads and Rs 519 for the pack of 30 pads. Azah pads can be bought online from the company's own site as well as from other major e-commerce sites.
The USP of Azah sanitary napkins are that they are-
- Convenient - pads are available in 2 sizes. Both the sizes can absorb light, medium and heavy flow.
- Ultra soft - the top layer of the pads is made with the finest organic cotton. This ensures a smooth velvety surface that prevents irritation or rashes
- Chemical Free - as the pads do not contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine, dioxins, and artificial fragrances.
- Super absorbent - can absorb to 1000 times its weight in water.
- Eco friendly - all layers except bottom-most layer are made of cotton or paper. Besides, each pad comes in sealed biodegradable disposal bag.
- FDA approved - Azah is also one of the first companies in India to ensure that their pads meet approval of US FDA, one of the most reputed and strictest quality certification bodies in the world.
- Free of harmful plastic and synthetics.
Azah - Industry details
The feminine hygiene industry is growing fast in India, with women becoming more educated, financially independent and more aware about personal hygiene.
Revenue in the Feminine Hygiene segment amounts to US$105 Mn in 2019. The market is expected to grow annually by 6.7% (CAGR 2019-2021).
Azah – Founders
Aqib Mohammad and Shashwat Diesh founded Azah in November 2018. Shashwat and Aqib met while they were working with Snapdeal and both came together to start Azah.
Aqib Mohammad graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2015. He worked with Snapdeal and co-founded Edtech startup Xolvr.com, which got acquired in October 2016.
Shashwat Diesh graduated from R.V College of Engineering in 2012. He worked with Ola and Snapdeal prior to starting Azah. He also founded an FMCG brand 'Flossy' in 2017, which he exited in February 2018, to focus on 'Azah'
Azah currently has a team consisting of 9 members.
Azah - The idea
Menstruation and Menstrual problems are rarely discussed because of the social stigma associated with it. In this scenario it is a matter of courage for two boys to startup a company for manufacturing sanitary pads.
It all started with a casual conversation. Sometime around May 2018, Sashwat was having a general conversation with one of their sisters. She casually mentioned that she faces the problem of rashes and itchiness because of the conventional sanitary pads available in the market. Sashwat was moved by these problems faced by his sister and also other women, and genuinely wanted to do something. He discussed the same with his friend Aqib, and the duo were curious enough to start researching on sanitary pads in general. End of May 2018, they did a survey related to this problem and got a response from 285 women validating the fact that rashes and itchiness are problems that 1 in 2 women face. They further gained knowledge about feminine hygiene from gynecologists and experts. On the 1st of June 2018, Aqib and Sashwat left their prior commitments and started working on Azah full time. On 28th October 2018, Azah launched its products.
Without support from family and friends it would have been very tough to startup a company to produce sanitary pads considering the taboo associated with it. - Said Aqib
Azah - Name & logo
Azah is a Hebrew name for a girl meaning strong and bright. The brand name is inspired by the immense strength a woman carries within herself and consequently as a brand, aims to lend the same qualities to its product line.
Azah - Funding
Azah raised USD 200,000 in the seed-round funding from a group of angel investors in April 2019.
|April 2019||Seed||$200,000||Angel Investors|
Azah plans to use the funds raised for expansion of its inventory and operations across India. Besides, the company is also planning to use a part of the fund to optimize its supply chain management and improving customer service by leveraging technology.
Azah - User acquisition
It’s extremely hard to develop and design a product that you yourself can't use - Aquib
While the company got its first set of customers from friends and family, the biggest factor that helped the company scale to 5,000 customers in a matter of 90 days has been an overwhelmingly positive word of mouth.
The company also runs social media campaigns to promote its products.
Azah - Major challenges
According to the founder, Aqib Mohammad, brand stickiness is very high in this segment. There is very little consumer awareness and women just prefer using whatever brand they were introduced to, in the beginning by their mother or sister. So it's always a challenge for an upcoming brand to convince the customers to switch from their existing brands, which in some cases they've been using for as long as a decade.
Azah - Competitors
The company has tough competition from international market leaders in feminine hygiene like P&G and Johnson & Johnson. But the company has been successful in carving its niche in the market and earn trust of consumers.
Azah - Advisors and Mentors
The company is growing under the expert guidance of Mr. Mehmood Khan who served in Global leader innovation process, Unilever from 1990-2009.
Azah - Work culture
We are friends first then colleagues - said Aqib Mohammad.
The biggest motivation for every single member of the Azah team is the positive impact that is created through the work that they do throughout the da
Azah - Achievements
Azah pads has received positive reviews from customers across various e-commerce platforms. It has sold more than 200,000 pads within 5 months of launch. The company has successfully served customers in over 1800 pin codes across India, and it delivers effectively across the country, the average delivery time being 2.5 days.
Azah’s average monthly revenue is growing at 50 percent. The company's revenue crossed Rs 10 lakh in March 2019.
Azah claims to have a retention rate of 90% and has a Net promoter score (NPS) of +6.
Azah - Future plans
The company’s future plan is to be a one stop solution for all premium feminine hygiene products. Azah is expecting 10 times growth in order volumes by 2020. The company also envisions to expand globally over time.
Azah - Founders advice
Don’t be afraid of taking risks. More importantly don’t be afraid of failure. - AqibWebsite - Azah