Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Tanvi Johri: Pad woman

Published: Feb 4, 2019 04:37:01 PM IST
Updated: Feb 6, 2019 05:20:03 PM IST

Tanvi Johri: Pad womanDespite selling at 2.5 times the price of a regular sanitary napkin, Tanvi Johri's Carmesi has clocked 70,000 customers
Image: Aditi Tailang

Tanvi Johri | 27
Co-founder & CEO, Carmesi

Category: E-commerce & Retail

Tanvi Johri, a chemistry honours graduate from Hindu College, New Delhi, got the idea to sell natural and biodegradable sanitary pads, after having suffered a persistent personal issue. For years, she suffered from rashes, but did not take the problem seriously. “As a woman you’re taught if it’s on the face, then go to a doctor,” says Johri.

During her work stint between 2015 and 2016, first with a travel portal and then with a hyper-local marketplace, she started reading up on why sanitary pads caused rashes. “Almost all sanitary pads are made from synthetic components, including plastic, which puts a woman's body at risk of infections, allergies and rashes,” says Johri, who was born and brought up in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The other issue was functional—the disposal of sanitary pads for which women carry tissue papers and newspapers.

In January 2017, Johri launched Elize, a synthetic-yet-softer brand of sanitary pads. A pack of 30, each of which came with a disposal bag, was priced at ₹1,299. Eleven months later and after having individually spoken to 4,000 customers, Johri rebranded it to Carmesi, which means crimson in Spanish. These sanitary pads are made from bamboo fibre and corn starch. A pack of 30 costs ₹749 which is about 2 to 2.5 times the cost of regular sanitary pads. But that hasn’t deterred its 70,000-odd customers. “Close to 40 percent of my sales come from Tier II cities,” claims Johri.

Johri has raised about $500,000 in angel funding from a slew of investors, including Sunil Kalra. “I’m impressed with Tanvi’s grit and never-say-die attitude,” says Kalra. “She will inspire many women to follow her path of entrepreneurship.” 

Tanvi Johri: Pad woman

(This story appears in the 15 February, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)