A new generation of feminine hygiene
Every woman uses around 17,000 tampons or pads during the course of her life. But how many women have given serious thought about what impact the use of these products has on their body as well as on the environment? Bettina Steinbrugger and Annemarie Harant asked the questions and founded the company erdbeerwoche - a company now successful operating beyond Europe's borders. In Austria, erdbeerwoche is a company on the rise and, with its product portfolio, will in the beginning of 2017 gain the attention of many men and women with a true "promotional advertising campaign". The two founders, in the framework of Gründen in Wien 2016 and the "pitch for talent" road show final, won the special prize of a Puls 4 television advertising media package.
How did you come up with the idea for your company erdbeerwoche?
Conventional tampons and pads are mostly a mix of bleached cellulose, wrapped in a layer of plastic. The latter is repeatedly associated with skin irritation and infections around the genital area. The product "silk touch" is pure plastic and the gel found in the pads is even worse. Dioxin, formaldehyde or softeners are substances that have no place in the most sensitive part of the female body, nor do synthetic perfumes or additives. Normal menstrual hygiene is neither sustainable nor healthy. That was the starting point of our reconnaissance platform, and our online shop resulted later.
Was there a specific point where you knew that the idea would be successful?
Yes, when we presented our idea at a conference in front of 2,000 people (mostly men) and received roaring applause. We also managed to win a start-up competition. It was then that we knew: the time is right for a new generation of female hygiene!
What was the funniest experience in your business career?
We have had a lot of funny experiences! Finally, it is our approach to educate women on the subject with facts and humour and not with a raised index finger. We have especially had funny experiences at trade fairs: there we had interest shown for our products from both nuns and transvestites. Especially popular at the trade shows are also our organic erdbeerwoche slips. These were once tested by customer directly at our booth - and tested as being good!
Social entrepreneurship is a slogan for new entrepreneurship. What does this mean for you?
For us, it means to have a positive impact on the environment, society and the health of our customers. The best feedback for us is: thanks to you and your products I feel healthier and have developed a whole new attitude towards my body!
The topic of menstruation is often a taboo subject that draws more far-reaching circles than you can imagine here in Europe. Even as far as India. Why?
According to WHO, one out of five girls in rural areas of India leave school after she gets her period. Women are excluded from society during their menstrual days and have to contend with many prejudices. In our affluent western society we are all too often unaware of this. We set high priority here in providing more information and support to women in developing countries.
No woman in this world should have to be ashamed of her natural cycles, and every woman should have access to safe and healthy menstrual hygiene.
Services of the Vienna Business Agency:
- Sponsored in the programme Internationalisation
- Nominated for the Start-up Award 2015
Lindengasse 56, Top 18-19
as of October 2016