Two Rags an Australian underwear brand is on a mission to solve a really serious problem. They are offering a line of women’s underwear that are super soft, comfy, have great designs and for every underwear you buy they donate a sanitary kit to a woman or a girl in need in India. Your buying this underwear directly connects you to making a difference in someones life.
Women in remote, rural areas in developing countries do not have access or means to buy sanitary napkins and have to resort to things like old rags, old newspapers, sand and ash to manage their periods. Using such unsanitary material to contain their blood not only causes immense discomfort but also creates embarrassing moments at times, forcing young girls to stay absent from school during those days and with many preferring to completely quit school once they start menstruating. In addition to disrupting their education and normal life, using such unsanitary methods to manage periods can pose a very serious health problem for these women.
Two Rags is founded by a young, highly spirited girl Phaemie Ng, I recently connected with her to understand her motivation and how she plans to span out her big idea.
Deepa Chaudhary (DC): What prompted you to start Two Rags?
Phaemie Ng (PN): I started Two Rags after realizing that many girls and women in the developing world don’t have access to even the basic needed sanitary products to manage their periods. In India alone, 300 million women lack access to or means to purchase hygienic menstrual products and often use materials like old rags, old saris and even newspaper, sand and ash to manage their periods. So Two Rags is a sustainable way that makes use of commerce to improve feminine hygiene for those in need.
DC: Why should people buy your product over other brands in the market?
PN: Our brand is fashion with a conscience. We offer people an easy way to help improve the lives of those in need in a very tangible way, simply by purchasing a product that you’ll love. Buying our product means you improve someone’s life, and score yourself some trendy and super comfortable underwear, a win-win situation for all.
DC: Where do you manufacture your product?
PN: We manufacture our underwear and kits in India, following a “full circle process”. Our manufacturers are social enterprises that upskill and employ local Indian women from at risk groups, so these women benefit from fair employment with every underwear they sew. We then sell the underwear and give back to the community by distributing sanitary kits so other local Indian girls and women can benefit from improved feminine hygiene.
DC: I currently see only one style in your store. Do you plan to add more?
PN: Yes, we are currently in the process of manufacturing 2 different hipster styles with 4 colors each. We’ll have a total of 8 varieties to begin with, which allows us to start small and grow at a sustainable rate. We’ll also constantly add new cuts and styles to the mix.
DC: What goes into the sanitary kit and how do you get it into the hands of women? Also how do you ensure a steady supply to the same women month after month?
PN: Each sanitary kit consists of 5 cloth pads which are washable and reusable. These kits will be produced by our ethical manufacturers in India which will allow for easy distribution into the local communities. Many women are already used to washing and reusing rags, so washing cloth pads isn’t a big jump for them. Providing reusable cloth pads rather than disposables also eliminates logistical problems of ensuring a monthly supply to the same women.
DC: How are you currently funded?
PN: We are currently self-funded for at least the first round of underwear manufacturing. But moving forward, we might look into crowdfunding campaigns.
DC: How big do you want to go ?
PN: The sky’s the limit! We envision Two Rags becoming an alternative underwear brand in the USA and Australia. We want to make conscious consumerism sexy and make social consumerism more mainstream. This will help us expand our reach to women everywhere who suffer the same problems as in India.
DC: Anything else that you’d like to share?
PN: We’re still new but are very thankful to have already received so much support. Two Rags recently won the top spot at a Deloitte Social Innovation pitch, receiving enthusiastic feedback from the audience and judges.
We’re also in the process of manufacturing our underwear which will be ready for sale soon. If anyone’s interested in ordering the underwear, we encourage them to sign up for our newsletter on the website or like us on Facebook as we’ll be providing updates on availability.