The femtech brand, Nua has collaborated with Hockey Maharashtra. Further to this association, the brand is keenly expanding the safe space for girls to talk freely about menstruation. Nua offers a range of products including daily intimate hygiene solutions. Altogether a new brand in the segment, Nua has a lot of plans.
MI talks with Nameeta Saigal, Head Of Marketing, Nua, in an exclusive interview. Nameeta is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of background in leading marketing initiatives across various categories of telecom, home care, men’s grooming, and feminine hygiene.
Q) Tell us more about the association with Hockey Maharashtra?
Nameeta: Since our inception, our vision has always been to support and help women in their health and wellness journey. This philosophy guides us in all our endeavours – be it introducing science-backed products or in our initiatives to usher taboo topics into mainstream conversations.
Recently, ace Chinese tennis player Zheng Qinwen’s experience went viral, where she shared how she was unable to win her French Open match due to menstrual cramps. We truly empathized with her and countless other women who resonated with this. This, in turn, prompted our intention to help and support women athletes enduring dysmenorrhoea.
The fact is, every month, millions of women endure dysmenorrhoea or period pain. While most tend to reduce the pain by popping painkillers or resting, it gets exceedingly difficult for those involved in physical movements, like athletes. Understanding this and seeking to support women athletes, we decided to associate with the Hockey Maharashtra organization. Through this, we strived to offer care and support to women athletes representing our state and the country by distributing Cramp Comfort heat patches to them, in the hope that they never miss an important match again (only if they want to play, of course).
The Cramp Comfort heat patch is a science-backed solution to help women ease period pain. These are self-heating, long-lasting, easy-to-use, and portable – making them the most practical & effective solution for women athletes to manage period pain.
Q) Being a newcomer in the industry, what kind of difficulty have you faced?
Nameeta: Sanitary Pad is a habit-driven routine category. It is almost always the case that the first brand one buys will most likely be the brand they use for a very long time. In such a category where the purchase works on an auto-pilot mode, it is quite tough for a challenger brand to gain a share from market leaders. To win in such a situation, a challenger brand can either dominate the category by claiming or ferociously defending the category benefit or it can go for ‘blue ocean’ by changing the codes of the category. Nua chose to do the latter.
Where market leaders bucket all women as a tribe of unstoppable alpha women, raring to go on the most athletic of activities during their periods, in their whitest of trousers; Nua decided to create a brand story based on reality – having real conversations and solving real period problems. With an aim to break the stereotype in advertising around menstrual health and to normalize the conversation about menstrual hygiene, Nua designed and executed the #GoWithYourFlow campaign. Through this campaign and beyond; Nua is striving to spark meaningful discussions and provide effective solutions to women in order to promote menstrual wellness and in the process, build brand love.
Q) The market is already overcrowded with so many hygiene brands and products. What kind of competition are you facing?
Nameeta: The Sanitary Pads category in India continues to be dominated by International brands – Stayfree and Whisper. However, new-age brands are on the rise. Therefore, while legacy brands have a strong foothold in Offline and E-commerce platforms, digital-first brands such as Nua are gaining consumer acceptance and therefore market share in the D2C and Quick Commerce space.
In a habit-forming, routine category such as ours, it can be tough to make your mark but it is not impossible. When we think of period care at Nua, it is not just about the flow but the holistic management of all things periods – right from pain management, PMS relief, expert articles, and trusted content. It includes addressing not just the physical aspects of menstruation, but also the social, emotional, and cultural aspects.
Speaking strictly of challenger brands, we are amongst the top across D2C, E-Commerce & Quick Commerce platforms. We also have a customer-first approach where we co-create our products with our community who constantly help us innovate to meet their period care needs. This allows us to course-correct or improves much quicker while staying ahead of the curve when it comes to offline/traditional brands.
All in all, are challenger brands big enough to dominate the category today? Perhaps not. Will it happen someday? Most likely, it can
Q) As per reports, the femtech industry is expected to grow 16.2% CAGR by 2027. How do you see the market?
Nameeta: The future of femtech is definitely promising. In fact, the global femtech market is valued at about USD 1.2 trillion, and out of this, India represents about 2-3%. For a country like ours – constituting 15% of the world’s population – femtech is a massive opportunity, showing tremendous potential for further growth.
Additionally, technology and increasing research and funding for women’s wellbeing have led to the development of more products and solutions for women’s issues that were not a focus of interest earlier. Today, technology helps women detect early signs of diseases like PCOS, diabetes, infertility, breast cancer, and more. Thanks to this, women, too, are becoming more informed about their health and learning to manage it effectively. Another contributing factor to femtech growth is more millennial women joining the workforce and openly voicing women-related issues such as menstruation and sexual health.
Meanwhile, following the pandemic, people have realized the convenience of remote healthcare. Hence, femtech startups with the same approach will also be welcomed.
At Nua, we feel that the femtech sector is a great avenue to bring about a change – initiate the right kind of conversations, through content, safe platforms, and thoughtfully made products that solve real problems
Q) What kind of awareness are you working up to reach among small/adolescent girls that have just started menstruating?
Nameeta: The first step to building awareness is creating a safe space where one can be able to share and talk openly about periods. We constantly strive to do this through content that is informational and non-judgemental on our Instagram, newsletters, blogs, and initiatives such as Project Prerna where we distribute our Sanitary Pads to young girls and women in rural areas along with informational guides around period care, in the regional language.
Our Instagram page, however, does this every single day. All questions in our comments and our DMs are answered with a personal touch. We also have a content peg called #PeriodStories, where women from our community share what their first-period experience was like. We also remember a DM that deeply moves all of us even today. A young girl reached out to us for advice when she got her first period because unfortunately, her mom had passed away. There was definitely a common sentiment in our team that day; we had an enhanced sense of purpose and responsibility – not just because we wanted to do our best to help but also because we were standing in for a very important person in her life.
Q) Tell us more about your partnerships with Deepika Padukone?
Nameeta: Deepika Padukone is a powerful woman whose vision for Indian women perfectly aligns with Nua’s objective. Her optimism and fearless endeavours in breaking norms make her a perfect choice for the brand. For instance, our recent campaign with her aimed to eliminate stereotypes attached to menstrual health by portraying a realistic scenario of women during menstruation. It struck a chord with our audience as, until now, the way periods have been depicted in Indian advertisements has been quite unreal.
Furthermore, Deepika is a source of great inspiration, and having her as our brand ambassador is a giant leap forward for us. Especially as we continue to build science-backed products, offer easy access to menstrual products, and normalize conversations about menstruation in India.
Q) Future plans and visions?
Nameeta: While we have strengthened our foothold in the menstrual wellness space, our endeavour now is to take that forward. We have just launched a skincare range that offers women the best of both worlds. It has scientific ingredients that fight the skin concern and nourishing ingredients that boost the skin’s health. Meanwhile, we are exploring sexual wellness concerns, life stages such as menopause, and more. We also aim to eventually expand and invest in technology to build an online community platform within the Nua ecosystem itself.