Saral Designs

Saral in Sanskrit means straight and simple. Saral Design Solutions Private Limited prides itself in staying true to the meaning of its name. Founded by alumni of the IITs, it is a for-profit social enterprise that designs and manufactures affordable and quality sanitary napkins. According to a study carried out by Nielsen, 88% women in India do not use sanitary pads. The resulting health and social hazards are both mentally and physically scarring for them.

Saral Designs has developed advanced machines that manufacture sanitary pads at a low cost so that can be sold to a majority. Its products provide 100% absorption compared to cloth/ordinary pads.

How does Saral Designs operate?

Saral has designed and developed a machine that can produce superior quality pads at 5x scale compared to other decentralised manufacturers and at a price which is far less than the price of machines used by multinational sanitary napkin manufacturers. This brings the benefits of economies of scale at a unit level. Saral's sanitary napkin manufacturing process is decentralised, which helps keep costs low that are otherwise incurred due to several layers of distribution. At the same time, it involves locals in the process of production and distribution to build trust within communities.

What challenges did Saral Designs face?

1) Saral is primarily looking to establish its sanitary pads as bankable products through targeting branding and marketing.

2) It wants to put in place a steady supply chain through a manufacturer-cum-distributor model or any other one that may suit the business.

How is Scale-Up Program helping them?

1) Scale-Up Program is helping Saral in business development, starting with understanding the consumer then launching the product in test markets and developing a scalable go-to-market strategy.

2) We are identifying the scale (within the state and pan India) of their partnerships and profiling the right ones.

3) Scale-Up Program is also helping Saral put a financial model in place and set relevant pricing/packaging for the products.

4) Further, the locations of the target users and where the products should be sold are identified. After which either the market is tested or further research will be carried out.

Inception: In 2012, I met Anshu Gupta from Goonj. He described how women in rural India use newspapers, rags and other unhygienic products during menstruation. Many women contracted reproductive tract infections and lost their lives. I felt deeply ashamed. It had never crossed my mind that though I spend Rs100/month to manage my menstruation, how does a woman, whose entire family's earning is lesser than Rs1000/month, manage hers? This inspired me to take a 15-day tour around rural India (Jagriti Yatra), where I learned about the miseries that women face during their periods. On further exploring the low-cost sanitary napkin industry, we realised that most of these units were running into cash flow issues due to insufficient scale and lack of demand for the poor quality product. This was when we decided that we need to work in this sector and develop a product for the 350 million under-served Indian women.

MIF: Marico has a deep understanding of launching new products – right from product placement, to branding, to the entire distribution strategy. Through MIF, we could access one of the best brains in the FMCG sales sector and get personal mentorship which has streamlined our internal processes and approach. We feel our product launch at a test market level got accelerated and much more organised as we had the expertise from Shivjyoti Dash. We feel this systematic approach will be essential for us to scale our operations effectively.

Suhani Mohan Founder, Saral Designs

Read Saral Design's success stories:

1. "The pad was extremely comfortable to use and didn't leave any rashes overnight. Quite impressed by the quality at this price point!" - Hina Shah, Master in Bio-Med, John Hopkins University.

2. "For this quality at this price, we can sell 1 lakh pads every month in my locality" - Praveena, foot soldier at Mahila Milan, Shivagi Nagar slum, Mumbai.

On vending machine:

1. "After installation and awareness session, girls started talking freely about periods with us" - Mrs. Shanti, Teacher AEJC Mumbai.

2. "Will you please install Suvidha (vending machine) in all other schools and colleges as we will be leaving this school soon?" - Student from class 12 AEJC.