More than a quarter of the world’s cervical cancer patients are from India. (Source)
Could plastic-loaded sanitary pads be a reason for it?
Violette, a Sales and Marketing professional was clear that the body’s natural cleansing process, menstruation, required a natural way of dealing with it too. The general sanitary pads available in the market were certainly not appropriate for many reasons. The plastic layers in the pads that were added to avoid spillage were certainly harmful to the vagina. Moreover, the usage of plastics and other chemicals was harming the environment and took 500-800 years to decompose!
So the current commercial market of sanitary pads was only profiting the sanitary pad manufacturers, neither the women nor the environment.
Her journey to create ‘Breakfree’ is an epitome of determination and motivation to bring about a change in society and let women and nature lead a healthy life.
What triggered you to the idea of biodegradable sanitary napkins?
Since my childhood, I have read, seen, and witnessed the obstacles that women go through on a daily basis. This always got me thinking that how can I be of any help to womanhood? But juggling with work and life I never had much time to think about it. But somehow that sense to create something worthwhile never left my consciousness.
I was reading an article once on Indian women and the menstrual complexities and I stumbled upon the damage done to our environment in this course. It really got me thinking!
There was absolutely no turning back. I started my research and studied about the cervical cancers, infections, rashes women go through during periods. All this was due to plastic and chemical-based sanitary napkins. We all know plastic harms nature in an irreversible way.
However, I looked for alternatives for sanitary napkins but to no avail. There were no options to choose from. I knew that sanitary napkins needed an organic makeover that keeps women healthy during their painful menstrual cycle and also saves nature from the chemical waste generated. That was when BreakFree was created to break from all the age-old traditions and suffering.
How did you learn about the extensive harm sanitary napkins are causing to the environment?
Each one of us is aware of the fight we are putting up to save our mother Earth. It is just that we are not taking responsible steps. If there are no alternatives then people are bound to use the problem-causing elements. This is what has been happening with the use of plastic-based sanitary napkins and other plastic-based products that we use in our daily lives.
During my study, I came across a few facts that completely shook me. Sanitary napkins make up a huge chunk of filth generated each day from the urban sectors. The lack of education has also led to ill ways of disposing of the napkins. Study and reports estimate that about 9000 tonnes of menstrual waste are generated each year in India. Most of it is dumped in reservoirs, rivers, lakes and other water bodies. This chokes marine life and deteriorates the quality of water.
If only sanitary napkins turn to organic alternatives it will help heal the damage caused to our environment. Moreover, this biomedical waste threatens life to a very great extent. The chemicals are the reason for the death of many animal species. If the animal comes in contact with the menstrual waste they are highly vulnerable to many health problems that we fail to address and acknowledge. Hence, a biodegradable version of sanitary napkins is the requirement of today.
How does BreakFree deal with health problems like rashes, infections that women usually suffer due to using plastic-based napkins?
Breakfree is contemplated and designed to tackle health issues posed by using plastic-based napkins. Each part of Breakfree sanitary pads is plastic-free. From the cover of the pack to the disposal envelopes every part is plastic-free. Alternatives such as woven bamboo and corn fiber, wood pulp paper, biodegradable film, SAP sheet of wood, and few other things have been studied and put together to produce a rash-free sanitary napkin. We have a tested and certified production of sanitary napkins. With BreakFree, women can stop worrying about their periods.
A rash-free experience and most importantly comfort is our main aim. At no point will our customers feel uncomfortable in their period days. Furthermore, all the health hazards such as cervical cancer, infections, damage to the reproductive system, infertility, and birth defects will take a backseat with BreakFree. We gift comfort to women and put an end to all their health risks.
With BreakFree, I want to end all the health problems that women are suffering due to plastic-based sanitary napkins.
What kind of difficulties did you face to convince people to leave known brands dominating the market and move to BreakFree?
Women have still not accepted the fact that plastic-based sanitary napkins are threatening their life and challenging the well-being of nature. The lack of information has restricted women from choosing better for themselves. With proper awareness, people will make the right choices. The market has already started looking for organic alternatives so it is a good start for us. We aim to spread the education necessary and make more women aware of plastic-free napkins.
Though other brands have an established customer base, we are trying our best to reach out to more women across the country. Sooner or later, women will choose better hygiene over suffering and health hassles. Undoubtedly, if nature is benefitted then women will turn to better and comfortable options.
You are breaking all the stereotypes of sanitary napkins. How did the market respond to your idea?
The market is still to adapt to this idea and know how beneficial it is for the health of every woman. Since everyone is turning to organic alternatives we have received a good response. But there is still a long way to go and we are definitely prepared for it.
Social Media is a very strong tool for marketing and we are so used to it that thinking of marketing without it sounds a nightmare. The reach that social media can you give as compared to the ROI is incomparable to offline marketing. If I had to market offline, it would be newspapers and word of mouth.
Ah! the thought itself makes me get jitters! I wonder how people marketed their business when a tool like social media wasn’t used. Here in a very nominal amount, you are reaching millions of people. Your marketing, sales, reviews – everything is so easy. The customers can communicate back to you too. So without it I would be more worried about marketing rather than manufacturing the product.
Given a chance, which Indian actress or actor would you choose to be a BreakFree brand ambassador?
I’ll choose Alia Bhatt as she is a vibrant personality.
Tell us more about yourself.
When you are not working on building your brand and market, what do you do?
Cooking, spending time with friends, exercising, or watching a movie.
Which sportsman do you like?
Your favorite food?
Something/Someone that is the dearest to you?
My Pet Dog.
Things without which you don’t leave your home?
What is your definition of relaxation?
Sitting by the Beach.
What is ‘comfort’ to you?
My bed at home.