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Mansi Khandelwal

IWB Blogger

Suhani Of Saral Designs Introduces Us To The Process Of Making Ultra-Thin Pads

  • IWB Post
  •  May 30, 2017

 

Despite living in the 21st century, periods talking and sanitary pads shopping are still done in whispers.

However, the conditioned mindsets and practices seem to have started changing. With several individuals striving to break the ‘period’ taboo, we are hopeful for a more open and healthier nation.

We spoke to Suhani Mohan, the founder Saral Designs who along with her colleague Kartik Mehta are working towards solving problems related to menstruation, hygiene, and sanitation.

Having two production units in Maharashtra, Saral designs have developed world’s first automatic and compact machines to make ultra-thin sanitary napkins.

How will GST impact your production and what is your take on taxation on pads?

Well, it doesn’t really impact the production. Most sanitary making companies operate in thick margins. In different states taxes are different. In Maharashtra, it is 6%, but after GST it will be 12%. The taxes majorly affect either the distributor or the consumer. Higher taxes either reduce the margin for the distributors or increase the MRP.

Well, all we want to do is to absorb the cost. We are trying to reach out to the government bodies to communicate the problem. Even if the government doesn’t want to make sanitary pads tax-free, all we want is that they should not increase the tax from what it already is.

Sanitary pads

What is the deal with ‘ultra-thin pads?’ Is it to reduce the cost? Is it advisable for those with the excessive flow too?

So, ultra-thin pads are the ones which have a high absorbing capability. They absorb more and don’t get wet easily. Because generally synthetic thick pads that are wet back – if you use them for long, there are chances that liquid might get released. One also gets prone to having germ infections and rashes.

About ultra thin pads not being useful for those who have excessive flow, it is just a misconception. Many women think that thicker pads absorb more, but that’s not true. So, even when are doing demonstrations, we take both the types of pads and show them how much more thin pads absorb.

What is the process of producing ultra-thin pads?

We have two production units in Maharashtra. We have developed our own machines, and they are world’s first automatic and compact machines to make ultra-thin sanitary napkins. Our machines are barely 10 feet long whereas large-scale manufacturers have approximately 100 feet long machines.

So we put the rolls in the machine, then the machine cuts the roll into pads, pastes them and packs too.

Who did you test your pads on?

My friends and female colleagues were the first to use the pads. When we began we started receiving good reviews, but it was only when we went from door to door explaining and educating people about our product, we saw the true picture. Since then we have worked on several flaws – and our product today is the result of all the feedbacks.

What are your plans for reaching out to villages?

Well, we do closely interact with rural women. And we do it by partnering with healthcare workers in villages. We also collaborate with NGOs in both education and healthcare sector. It is through them that we reach out to villagers and what has happened is that the NGOs eventually become our distributors. We also reach out to them through medical shops.

Sanitary pads

What is the most bizarre stereotype you’ve encountered while working with rural women?

The weirdest thing I have heard regarding menstruation is when few women came up to me and said, “your pads are good, but we can’t wash them.’ I was puzzled thinking why they would wash the disposable pads?

One woman then told me that if a woman saw their menstrual blood, she would become infertile!

Since Kartik and you together found Saral Designs, tell us about who does the menstrual talk?

Menstrual talking and spreading awareness are done by both of us. Individually, Kartik takes care of the internal work like machine designing, product designing, whereas I manage the marketing and sales.

With increasing health hazards and deteriorating environment, it is applaudable to see individuals and companies coming forward to educate both the urban and rural segments of our society.

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