Hygiene and You: Sustainability and Profitability
(8 pages of text)
Hygiene and You, an Indian entrepreneurial venture, retailed sustainable menstrual products such as menstrual cups and cloth pads. In December 2017, the business was not making profits because of slow growth and increasing competition in the sustainable menstrual product industry. Menstruation was a taboo topic in India and associated with deep-seated socio-cultural beliefs that severely inhibited marketing communication. In India, 88 per cent of menstruating women still used unhygienic menstrual products, and the Indian government actively promoted disposable sanitary napkins to encourage women to shift to a hygienic alternative. The company’s founder had to decide on expansion strategies to make the business profitable while passionately advocating sustainable menstruation practices.
This case can be used in graduate or postgraduate level courses on sustainability, social entrepreneurship, or innovation management. It can also be used in courses related to female entrepreneurship, emerging markets (particularly dealing with socio-cultural issues), or global health / public policy in health care. The case gives students an opportunity to do the following:
- Design an expansion strategy for an entrepreneurial venture.
- Understand the marketing communication needs of social entrepreneurship.
- Discuss the diffusion of innovation process, including innovation adoption, social structure, communication channels (especially social media), barriers to adoption, and rate of adoption.
- Understand the competitive structure and ecosystem of sustainable menstruation products.
- Identify the socio-cultural perspectives in product adoption for menstrual products in India.
- Understand the role of externalities, the government, and policy framework in product adoption.
Health Care Services
India, Small, 2017
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