Thinx is on the move
It’s about time we start talking openly and freely about our bodies.
For as long as we can remember, periods and bladder leaks have been discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors. Thinx is ending the stigma around these topics by creating better solutions to manage leaking.
Written by HYER NEWSROOM
Thinx exists to create a healthier world through sustainable solutions to menstruation and incontinence.
Launched in 2011, Thinx Inc was a period-proof underwear company that was intent on making more thoughtful underwear and revolutionising menstruation in a £30 billion industry that was ripe for disruption - there had been no innovation in the feminine hygiene market for over 100 years.
Maria Molland was an experienced creative who had co-founded events space Splacer and previously worked for Yahoo, eBay and Dow Jones. She had also endured years of traumatic fertility problems and IVF treatment, so she was impressed with the way Thinx had a really solid footing as a hyper-niche product in the global market and seemed poised to make £40 million revenue by the end of 2017.
More importantly, the company’s mission to address previously taboo topics like periods, fertility problems and menopause - all completely natural bodily functions, but usually only talked about in hushed whispers, aligned with her own deep wish to help change the world of reproductive health.
1 in 5 students struggle to afford period products or can’t afford them at all. 100 million girls miss school because of their periods. Thinx was spreading the word that period poverty is real.
They had also nailed the convergence of trends by replacing bleach filled disposable pads and tampons with their innovative, sustainable underwear, perfect for the 55% of women who were concerned by the levels of toxins in traditional products.
Molland stepped in as CEO and set about turning Thinx from a niche player into a product that was at home on the shelves of mass market retailers. Traditionally girls and women still used not only the same disposable products as their mothers and grandmothers, but the same brands. Acquiring new customers in a profitable way was very tough at the beginning - they had to teach women to swap.
By using their voice for activism, Thinx got people’s attention through grass roots word of mouth. Women started to try the products and stuck with them as they worked. A 60 day money back guarantee plus their Leader’s programme where women were paid commission as influencers to promote the brand on social media and review the products on Youtube, led the company to £39.6 million revenue by the end of 2017. They had doubled in size and they were the fastest growing women led company on the 2018 Inc 5000.
But it was equally important to Thinx to empower women with menstrual equity, so everyone had access to the products they need to reach their full potential. Their GiveRise giveback programme was established to give girls access to better puberty education and facilitate donations of underwear and period products to those who can’t afford them..
In 2017 Thinx launched their education initiative, the EveryBody programme, partnering with schools, providing free after school classes in underserved communities to teach 10-13 year old kids in a safe environment about their changing bodies, their reproductive health and their human rights. As a result, from 2018/2019 there was a 133% increase in the understanding of reproductive anatomy in the kids who’d participated, a 223% growth in the knowledge of period products and 97% showed a comprehensive understanding of puberty.
In 2020 Covid-19 gave a serendipitous boost to sales. Staying at home prompted more women to try Thinx underwear, they wouldn’t have the risk of public embarrassment if the product leaked or didn’t work - much less traumatising if you’re sitting at home than in the office or on the train!
This increase in customer confidence saw over 50% growth, also fuelled by Thinx transparently promoting the chemical-free sustainability of their underwear on social media and promoting inclusivity by using diverse and “normal” models to prove their point that anyone with a period should have a product that suits them.
With big plans for the future and aiming to expand their product range to include activity wear, move into the Asian market, and most importantly to introduce lower priced products to provide more choices for every woman.
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