Revolutionizing Convenience with Pads on a Roll
Tom Devlin’s wife, a journalist, was one day covering topics like gender equity and period poverty. A particular line in her article struck her – "period products should be as ubiquitous as toilet paper."
And that is where it all started: This inspired the idea to create a product resembling toilet paper for periods.
Nowadays, they advocate for the equal treatment of all bodily functions. Their belief is that just as they do not carry toilet paper around, they should not have to carry period products either.
In fact, providing free period products only costs about $5 per student or worker a year in the US. It is a small price to pay to ensure that students or workers who menstruate can stay in school or at work. 23% of students do not come to school or leave school because of their periods. 62% of women have had to leave work due to no access to period products, according to the statistics for the US.
About Tom Devlin, Founder of Egal Pads, and his talented team
Tom is a serial entrepreneur with a background in the tech industry spanning several years. His team members possess unique strengths that complement each other, enabling them to make rapid progress with a small group. Despite being remote, which can be challenging, their diversity in skills propels them forward. Within this cohesive team, each member's strengths are not only individual assets but also building blocks that fortify the collective foundation.
Period Equity Market Evolution
Their distribution model involves selling to distributors who then manage sales and dispenser installations. They collaborate with advocates like students, nurses, and legislators to facilitate sales.
They are currently addressing the education sector, including middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Additionally, they are targeting businesses like convention centers, amusement parks, corporations, and hospitals.
Thanks to US state legislation, the issue has gained significant attention. Even institutions not mandated to provide free products are acting. This trend is also evident in Europe, where students are becoming more vocal about period equity.
“Our goal is to see pads on a roll available in every public restroom” says Tom.
The solution differentiation & challenge
“Unlike our competitors' vending machines placed by sinks, our products are uniquely designed for stalls, providing convenience and privacy. These machines are costly, challenging to maintain, and lack capacity. Our approach addresses these shortcomings” says Tom.
They faced a manufacturing challenge when one of their suppliers was sold. Through maintaining open relationships, they quickly identified alternative options. This experience taught them the importance of networking and connections.
Furthermore, receiving industry awards early on was validating the solution and bolstered their confidence as they entered the market.
Sustainability - a prominent and growing concern in every industry
The industry wants to move towards sustainability, as do they! Doing it so that the product still works for menstruation is the key issue. Being sustainable but having a product that does not work defeats the purpose as helping provide dignity is of utmost importance.
Attending the Vivatech Conference in Paris recently was enlightening, offering real-world insights on period equity approaches worldwide. The feedback from attendees about their product was invaluable, surpassing online research in usefulness.
About Tech4Eva – advice to other founders
It always takes a bit longer than you think. Bringing a new product to market in this space is challenging because people want to make sure that the product works and for that reason, they trust brands. Being new, they must gain trust in you, and often that is through other entities that they know and trust being willing to use you. And that takes time.
Tech4Eva has been great. The mentors are especially helpful. The cohort is inspiring us, and you really get to know what everyone is going through more than other accelerators I have been involved with. Additionally, the special sessions have super useful specialists that I have learned a lot from.
I would love to get a corporate partner to pilot our product. We have gotten into schools but would love for a corporation to get involved. Since we have started Tech4 Eva, we have gotten a lot more global interest. Figuring out how to grow globally is a huge issue. We feel like partnerships may be the right way to go for such global growth and I hope that Tech4Eva can help us navigate that as well.
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