Give us a brief about your background.
Having attended two all-women’s institutions: Carmel Convent School in New Delhi and Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, I have been surrounded by strong and empowered women all my life and naturally been sensitive towards the pains and glories associated with a woman’s life. After graduating, I worked at a Big-Four firm, Ernst & Young as a financial advisory consultant in Manhattan where I was acquainted with the financial acumen to analyse the viability of an idea from a commercial perspective. I had the dream life every college graduate aspires to have, yet my dream of making an impact and helping better the world in whatever scope possible remained unfulfilled at my desk job. I decided to move back to India and started conducting preliminary research to understand markets that had the potential to be disrupted and at the same time contribute to the betterment of the world. With a problem solving mind, I found the right fit for me when I realised that the monopolistic menstrual hygiene market was not actually innovating or providing safe products for its customers. I was appalled to find that most commercially available sanitary pads were composed of almost 90% plastics, parabens, bleaches, antibacterial agents, perfumes and other chemicals that are extremely harmful for women's bodies. Upon further delving into this and conducting target market research, I found that 8 out of 10 women suffer from rashes, allergies, skin infections, UTIs, due to plastic pads and the direct absorption of these chemicals into one's bloodstream could even cause cervical cancer, miscarriages and birth defects. With an aim to revolutionise the personal hygiene space in India and provide a safer, healthier, eco-friendly and more comfortable experience to the India user, Heyday was launched as a pilot in October 2017. The first product to hit the shelves was a biodegradable and organic sanitary napkin made from the plant based fibres of corn and bamboo instead of using plastics.
The pads are extremely soft and rash free on one’s skin and decompose within 2 years of disposal unlike a plastic counterpart that would contaminate a landfill for over 500 years. Heyday saw a roaring success having inspired over 350,000 women to make educated menstrual hygiene choices in 2+ years. The brand also offers natural panty liners and organic baby diapers and aims to expand further in the natural personal hygiene segment. Natural personal care has now become a new segment on the shelf and at Heyday we are so proud to have started the journey. We hope to consistently inspire more consumers and brands to opt for natural and safe alternatives.
Disposable items end up in landfills and create waste. Why do you think majority of people aren’t concerned yet?
The major reason why people are not concerned about the harmful effects of synthetic disposable hygiene products is because they are unaware. In India, only 18% women have access to hygiene products and even those 18% are grossly unaware about what they are putting in/on their bodies. Most commercially available synthetic pads and diapers do not mention the ingredients on their packaging and the government regulatory bodies do not require the same to be mentioned either. 90% of the composition of synthetic hygiene products is plastic, parabens, bleaches, antibacterial agents, perfumes and other chemicals that are extremely harmful for our bodies as well as the environment. We often hear mothers complaining of diaper rashes and allergies and women struggling with chafing and discomfort on their periods but not many wonder why this is caused. If a person is uncomfortable wearing a highly carcinogenic and harmful product for their body daily or monthly which can cause yeast infections, UTIs, cervical cancers, birth defects, miscarriages, allergies, rashes and a score of issues and it also collects in acres of landfills with no decomposition solution, they have got to be made aware about the main cause. At Heyday, we want to educate the end user about safer and healthier natural alternatives that have been created with years of innovation and research.
As a brand that aims at reducing waste, tell us how you came about developing such products?
Heyday was started with the belief that we have two homes: our bodies and the environment, and we should take care of both. The amount of waste generated by synthetic personal care left us astonished. We knew there had to be a solution out there that would be kinder to our planet. The idea was to find a sustainable solution to synthetic products used on the most sensitive skin of the body and matches functionality most importantly. After over two years of testing, building and unbuilding with various plant fibres, we zeroed down to corn and bamboo fibre. Corn provided the softness of the texture and bamboo had naturally high absorbency and bacteriostatic properties. The plant fibres are grown organically in chemical free soil and woven together by a patented spunlace technology. The final prototype decomposes under the action of microorganisms in the air, water or soil with two years from disposal as opposed to 500 years protecting the Earth tirelessly.
In a highly competitive market, how does Heyday maintain its foothold?
India is an emerging superpower yet it is in the face of a personal hygiene crisis. Heyday bridges the gap in the market by bringing a unique product proposition to the table that sets it apart from competition. The natural raw materials Heyday uses are definitely more expensive to procure and manufacture as compared to synthetic pads and diapers and our margins are nowhere close to that of the popular brands. However, the superior product quality, price affordability, hybrid availability and most importantly the biodegradable nature of the products draw new customers to our brand month on month to satisfy the unmet demand and our repeat customer percentage is around 60%! Several new entrants have introduced natural products after our market entry but the other eco-friendly brands price their products quite high and are unable to compete with the more popular commercial giants widely used by Indian consumers. We offer a superior product with excellent quality at a price that is affordable to the end consumer starting at INR 99/- for a pack of 7 maxi fluff napkins and INR. 299 for our baby diapers. We want the consumer to believe in the product and not hesitate to pick it up because it is priced high. Heyday believes in constant innovation and disruption to stay one step ahead of the rest!
You recently introduced diapers to your product range. Tell us about it.
Heyday launched India’s first natural baby diaper that is biodegradable, organic and eco-friendly in April 2020 amidst the lockdown! Parents do their utmost best to ensure their little ones are safe, healthy and comfortable, however the lack of consumer awareness makes them opt for not-so-healthy baby care. Commercially available synthetic diapers have a top sheet that is plastic based that causes babies to get rashes, allergies and cry throughout the night due to the discomfort and itching caused. A baby diaper is used on the gentle, soft and tender skin of an infant and must be away from any synthetic components for complete nurturing and care.
Heyday natural and organic baby diapers are composed from plant based fibres of corn, bamboo and oxo-degradable materials with no chemicals, chlorine and dioxin bleach providing high absorption & 360° protection. Corn fibre's softness and bamboo fibre's super water absorption, antibacterial properties and bacteriostatic properties helps the infant stay away from harmful chemicals, plastics, toxins and stay safe, rash free and comfortable throughout. We have also introduced unique features like the wetness indicator lines which turn from yellow to blue everytime the baby pees so that parents know when it’s time for diaper duty enabling easy changes without disturbing their child.
At Heyday, we strive to provide users with the most thoughtful and safe personal care experience and we are extremely excited by the positive response received so far!
When selling products for infant care as well as personal hygiene, brands need to be extremely cautious. How does Heyday maintain its safety and hygiene measures?
We are very particular about hygiene and safety throughout our supply chain. Each product is manufactured, packaged and delivered to our consumers with utmost care. All products go through multiple defect checks and raw material audits before they are given a go ahead for the next step. We have a host of international certifications such as ISO9001:2015, Oeko Tek, EcoCert, BPI, SGS, NABL that prove our product quality and manufacturing practices are verified and secure. We have also ensured that our facilities are compliant with hygiene practices with respect to the Covid-19 measures.
How does your brand help consumers make conscious buying choices rather than simply picking any other care brand?
At Heyday, we believe in educating consumers about the power of their choices. Once they realise their impact on the body and the environment, it is worthy giving Heyday products a shot. A lot of customers already struggle with rashes or discomfort so they are actively looking out for alternatives and in terms of price, quality and comfort, Heyday fares the best. We make sure to raise awareness digitally and provide complete information to our valued customers so that they feel extremely comfortable and satisfied with their experience and come back for a repeat purchase month after month.
What does a future with better products like Heyday’s look like?
The future definitely looks greener with Heyday – if more and more users are ready to make the switch to safer, healthier and softer alternatives, our bodies and the Earth will be very thankful. We are right now struggling to survive a medical pandemic, next could be an environmental disaster, it is upon us to choose what kind of world we really want to build. Reducing your carbon footprint by making conscious choices is the need of the hour.
What does the men’s personal care industry look like? Is there scope to work towards changing it?
There is scope for improvement and betterment in every personal care segment in India. We are conducting preliminary research in men’s products and sexual wellness products to introduce sustainable options. Even though natural personal care started out as a niche market, with the growing consumer awareness and demand of sustainable alternatives, we project to see a lot more growth in these segments.
Heyday's most important sustainable aspect.
Heyday has sustainability at its very core. The entire process from procurement of raw materials to disposal of finished products is sustainable and eco friendly. The raw materials used in our sanitary pads, panty liners and baby diapers are plant fibres of corn and bamboo. The raw materials are grown in chemical free soil and the waste generated during the manufacturing process can be used as natural fertilizers. The packaging used are soy coated paper boxes or oxo-degradable bags and the glue used in our products is a plant based resin. Our products and packaging decompose completely within 2 years of disposal going back to the Earth where they came from and minimising the harm to the body or the environment. We believe in bringing organic, biodegradable and natural personal care to the Indian consumer by providing a safer, healthier and comfortable experience and at the same time protecting nature.