For Innovative, Market-oriented Startups, the World is a Playground

Founded in 2015, Sirona has achieved tremendous success in building a global market for its feminine hygiene products. Deep Bajaj, co-founder of Sirona, talks about the drivers of this success – personal conviction, highly innovative products, purpose-driven marketing and the power of cross border e-commerce.

How it started

The aphorism, “Necessity is the mother of invention” stands true for Sirona. The inspiration for PeeBuddy came to me on a road trip in 2013, when I witnessed the struggle my wife and friends went through in search of clean toilets. They had to go for hours without drinking water to control the urge to pee, all the while dreading the moment when it would be impossible to hold pee any longer. Visiting a public toilet would entail uncomfortable squatting/bending, or in worst case scenario, sitting on the dirty toilet seat.

To put an end to this trauma, we devised PeeBuddy, India’s 1st Female Urination Device. With this funnel, women can stand and pee, thus avoiding contact with dirty toilet seats. Soon, we realised that PeeBuddy could also help women with arthritis and pregnant women, who have trouble bending. While it continues to help thousands of women every day, the journey of its launch has not been free of challenges.

When we came up with PeeBuddy, we initially faced resistance from distributors and retailers, as expected. They could not bring themselves to terms with the subject ‘stand and pee’ as a solution for women, and particularly the word ‘pee’ in the product name. However, endorsement from doctors and e-commerce websites ultimately encouraged people to try the product and its popularity grew by leaps and bounds. So far, Sirona has sold over 30,00,000 PeeBuddy units.

How it’s growing

Sirona feminine hygiene_TPCI

Since then, Sirona has been on a mission to offer a range of innovative problem-solving products to women for each life stage from puberty to menopause. We have diversified our business over a range of other products that include Menstrual Cups, Menstrual Cup Sterilizer, Tampons, Panty Liners, Intimate Wash, PeeBuddy funnel, PregRx pregnancy test strips, Period Pain Relief Patches, Period Stain Remover, Tampons and Condom Disposal Bags, Sanitary Waste Disposal Bags, Lubricants, and so on.

Thankfully, technology is changing the rules of the game in the favour of startups today. Cross border e-commerce and online retail have contributed to accelerating the sales and popularity of brands like ours that are disrupting a category. It allows them to save crores of rupees that would otherwise have been spent on set up, distribution and marketing.

Our innovative products are making a difference in the lives of our customers in India as well as globally. We have sold over 10 lakh Sirona Menstrual Cups, thereby ensuring better and hassle-free menstrual hygiene. Being reusable for up to 10 years, the cups have proved to be an ecologically friendly and economically viable period solution.

With more women adopting our products, we have a stronghold on the feminine hygiene market and an ever-increasing customer base. But we believe that to be innovative and relevant in the long run, we need to keep evolving our methods of communication and offerings and with changing customer needs.

International outreach and e-commerce

We have become a trustworthy brand in the country since we offer top quality products, which are easy to use and economical. But ensuring success on a global scale entails more than this. Usually, it requires huge investments and a long gestation period.

Thankfully, technology is changing the rules of the game in the favour of startups today. Cross border e-commerce and online retail have contributed to accelerating the sales and popularity of brands like ours that are disrupting a category. It allows them to save crores of rupees that would otherwise have been spent on set up, distribution and marketing.

E-commerce is a three-part puzzle – finding distributors, finding customers, and taking care of the logistics. In our case, Amazon has taken care of these to a large extent. Once brands crack this, the world becomes their playground. Sitting right here, we are getting orders from across the  world – the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, etc. To sum it up, cross border e-commerce platforms can help Indian companies tap into the global market.

Challenges faced and possible solutions

We have quality solutions and understand customer service very well. But the only help we need is for the regulations to become simpler. For instance, if any of our product is returned from the international market, we have to pay duty on those. If these issues are taken care of, business will become easier.

I believe that if quality Indian brands have the platform, and the stocking and selling is made easier, they can efficiently take care of the rest. With better conditions and improved customs by the governments, things would be streamlined for them. Indian policy makers and our respected industry members can facilitate local entrepreneurs in easing the aforementioned issues and thus help Indian companies achieve greater heights in the global landscape.


The author is Co-founder, Sirona India. Views expressed are personal. Usual disclaimers apply

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