Azah: Promoting Feminine Hygiene

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Feminine hygiene and its awareness has never been given its due importance in India It is only recently that people have become cognizant of it. Still, there are many women who compromise on their health by using below-par products for menstrual hygiene.

While awareness about feminine hygiene is seeing an uptick, the existing products available on the market, especially menstrual pads, aren't up to the mark. The optimal ones do their work but are often out of reach of the lower classes due to their costs. To tackle this issue, two individuals from Gurgaon launched  a venture named 'Azah' in 2018.

Azah was founded with the aim to innovate, improve, and deliver high-quality products that solve menstruation related hygiene issues faced by the Indian female population. Azah at present manufactures ultra-soft organic sanitary napkins known to be safe and comfortable.

StartupTalky interviewed Azah founder Mr. Aqib Mohammad to learn more about the company.

Azah in a nutshell

StartupName Azah
Headquarters Gurugram
Founders Shashwat Diesh and Aqib Mohammad
Sector Feminine Hygiene
Founded 2018

Azah - About
Azah - Industry Details
Azah - Founders
Azah - The Idea
Azah - Name And Logo
Azah - Funding
Azah - User Acquisition
Azah - Major Challenges
Azah - Competitors
Azah - Advisors And Mentors
Azah - Work Culture
Azah - Achievements
Azah - Future Plans
Azah - Founders Advice

Azah - About

Azah currently manufactures ultra-soft organic sanitary pads that are available in 3 packages -  a box of 12, a box of 15, and box of 30 pads. Azah pads are made ensuring premium quality at every stage of the production process. The price of Azah sanitary pads is Rs 239 for the pack of 12 pads, Rs 289 for the pack of 15 pads, and Rs 519 for the pack of 30 pads. Azah pads can be purchased online from the company's website as well as from other major e-commerce portals.

The USP of Azah sanitary napkins are:

  • Convenient: The pads are available in 2 sizes. Both can absorb light, medium and heavy flow.
  • Ultra soft: The top layer of  the pad is made with the finest organic cotton. This ensures a smooth velvety surface to prevent irritation and rashes.
  • Chemical free: The pads don't have harmful chemicals such as chlorine, dioxins, and artificial fragrances.
  • Super absorbent: can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water.
  • Eco-friendly: All the layers except the bottom-most are made of either cotton or paper. Each pad comes in sealed biodegradable disposal bag.
  • FDA approved: Azah is also amongst those Indian organizations have been approved by the United States FDA, one of the most reputed quality certification bodies in the world known for its exacting standards.
  • Free of harmful  plastic and synthetics.
Azah Pads 

Azah - Industry Details

The Indian feminine hygiene industry is growing rapidly with women becoming more educated, financially independent, and aware about personal hygiene.

The revenue in the feminine hygiene segment has been US$105 Mn in 2019. The market is expected to grow annually by 6.7% (CAGR 2019-2021).

Read More: Dhivya Suryadevara, Indian Female tops US multinational

Azah - Founders

Aqib Mohammad and Shashwat Diesh founded Azah in November 2018. Shashwat and Aqib met while they were working with Snapdeal and came together to start Azah.

Aqib Mohammad graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2015. He worked with Snapdeal and co-founded Edtech startup Xolvr.com that got acquired in October 2016.

Shashwat Diesh graduated from R.V College of Engineering in 2012. He worked with Ola and Snapdeal before Azah. He also founded an FMCG brand 'Flossy' in 2017 which he exited in February 2018 to focus on 'Azah'.

The Azah team has 9 members at the moment.

Read More: Successful Women Entrepreneurs in India

Azah - The Idea

Menstruation and openness are rarely mentioned in the same breath because of the social stigma around it. Therefore, it is was a courageous act for Aqib and Shashwat to start a company based on manufacturing sanitary pads.

It began with a casual conversation. Sometime around May 2018, Shashwat was having a general talk with one of his sisters. She casually mentioned the problem of rashes and itchiness due to the conventional sanitary pads in the market.

Sashwat was moved by his sister's ordeal decided to take corrective measures. He spoke about the same with his friend Aqib and the duo began researching on sanitary pads. They did a survey in the end of May 2018 and got a response from 285 women attesting the fact that 1 in 2 women face rashes and itchiness from menstrual pads. They inquired further about feminine hygiene from gynecologists and experts.

On the 1st of June 2018, Aqib and Sashwat left their respective professional commitments and to work full time on Azah. On 28th October 2018, Azah officially launched its products in the market.

"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", says Aqib

Read More: Work from Home Business Ideas for Women

Azah is a Hebrew name meaning strong and bright. The brand name is inspired by the immense strength a woman carries within herself and consequently as a brand, it aims to lend the same qualities to its product line.

Azah Logo

Azah - Funding

Azah raised USD 200,000 in the seed-round funding from a group of angel investors in April 2019.

Date Stage Amount Investor
April 2019 Seed $200,000 Angel Investors

Azah plans to use the funds raised for expansion of its inventory and operations across India. The company plans to use a part of the fund to optimize its supply chain management and improve customer service by leveraging technology.

Read More: Got Funded ? Here Are Some Common Mistakes Seed Funded Startup Do

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 through friends and family, the biggest factor that helped the company scale to 5,000 customers in a matter of 90 days was through positive word of mouth publicity.

The company also runs social media campaigns to promote its products.

Azah - Major Challenges

According to founder Aqib Mohammad, brand stickiness is unusually high in this industry. There is very little consumer awareness and women resort to whatever brand they were introduced to in the beginning by their mother or sister. It has always been a challenge for an upcoming brand to convince customers to switch brands, especially when they've been using a specific one for as long as a decade.

Azah - Competitors

The company faces tough competition from international market leaders like P&G and Johnson & Johnson. The company has been still been successful in carving its niche in the market and earn the trust of consumers.

Azah - Advisors And Mentors

The company is moving forward under the expert guidance of Mr. Mehmood Khan who served in Global leader innovation process at Unilever from 1990-2009.

Azah - Work Culture

We are friends first then colleagues - said Aqib Mohammad.

Every member of the Azah team is motivated by the positive impact fostered through the work done at Azah. This enables the team to go above and beyond in making ever-lasting contribution.

Azah - Achievements

Azah pads has received positive reviews from customers across various e-commerce platforms. It sold more than 200,000 pads within 5 months of launch. The company has successfully served customers in over 1800 pin codes across India with the average delivery time being only 2.5 days.

Azah’s average monthly revenue is growing at 50%. The company's revenue crossed INR 10 lakhs 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 plans to become a one stop solution for all premium feminine hygiene products. Azah is expecting a ten-fold growth in order volumes by 2020. The company envisions to expand globally over time.

Azah - Founders Advice

Don’t be afraid of taking risks. More importantly don’t be afraid of failure - Aqib
Website - Azah
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About Chayanika Goswami

Chayanika is an MBA in Finance and a trained Digital Marketer. SEO and content writing are her hobbies turned profession. She is a rover. In her free time, she loves traveling and cracking jokes.
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