Each year, there are approximately 100,000 tons of sanitary pad waste in India. So the sanitary waste generated by every woman during her lifetime cumulatively adds up to an enormous amount of waste in landfills.
That's why a group of women co-founded Saathi, an Ahmedabad-based business that makes 100% biodegradable and bleach-free sanitary pads, which degrade within six months of disposal, 1,200 times faster than conventional pads.
Saathi began in 2015, when Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra, Amrita Saigal, and Grace Kane — graduates of MIT, Harvard, and Nirma University — came together to create eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins using locally sourced banana fibers, one of the most absorbent natural materials.
“We were inspired by the idea of improving women's access to sanitary pads in India. Our goal is to create hygiene products that are good for the body, environment, and community,” says Tarun.
Today Saathi pads are sold online through their website and are also available in eco-friendly retail stores in Goa and Ahmedabad.
“Given the ubiquity of WhatsApp, it has proven to be a valuable platform”
In March 2019, they started using the WhatsApp Business app for customer interaction and are already finding it a valuable tool to connect with their customers. Sixty-four percent of their inquiries are from India and 14 percent are international inquiries from interested customers that want to buy the products or make bulk orders.
“We have provided a link to our WhatsApp Business account on our website so that customers can reach us directly at any time, to clarify a doubt, discuss menstrual hygiene or send us feedback,” says Tarun.
They find the quick replies feature very useful as they can quickly respond to FAQs through a standard response or direct people to the appropriate web page, or the person to contact.
“Given the ubiquity of WhatsApp, it has proven to be a valuable platform,” says the co-founder.