This startup invents a new concept to overcome the taboos of rules in business

Posted January 13, 2023, 2:45 pm

Abdominal cramps, pelvic and muscle pains, headaches, backaches, hemorrhagic losses, severe fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, constipation… For a (long) list of different menstrual symptoms, take a look at the “period monitoring” section of the Health app. .

According to a September 2022 IFOP study commissioned by EVE and CO (a French brand specializing in menstrual panties), 65% of French women in paid employment have already experienced difficulties with their periods at work. Worse, one in five menstruating workers have already been subjected to mocking or insulting remarks about the rules. Famous: “So you’re on your period? ! »

Lift the taboo

However, the subject remains largely hidden in the professional world. Unlike in Japan, South Korea or, more recently, Spain, “menstrual leave” granted to workers suffering from periods is not relevant in France. Don’t think that entrepreneur Elodie Placide, head of startup Clitty, intends to apply the “menstrual” file to business.

Since 2021, the young entrepreneur has been selling washable sanitary napkins and eco-responsible menstrual panties. After eight months of prototyping and testing in the Lyon region, their production is guaranteed to be free of endocrine disruptors and given the GOTS label, certifying that the textile is organic.

“Başı Third Party Payer”

Made in France, its products are expensive to produce and don’t generate enough margins to be sold in mass distribution. But don’t you think that Elodie Placide is moving towards a “B2B2C” business model in 2022, i.e. through mediation. So it rides on the idea of ​​”third-party menstrual payment” where the user doesn’t pay anything in the beginning.

Its goal: to make Clitty an intermediary between funders (companies and universities) and end-recipients (employees and menstruating students) who would benefit from menstrual awareness workshops and the key to at least one flushable sanitary napkin. “Some companies or large schools already provide disposable protection in their toilets, so why not reuse? », says the entrepreneur who does not hide his ambition.

This economic model is based on the sale of a “package”: the structure buys towels in any volume (usually corresponding to the number of people attending the seminar) and calculates the expert’s intervention separately. Bill €1,000 (excluding taxes) for a one-and-a-half-hour educational workshop, accompanied by 40 Clitty towels sold on the e-commerce site for €25 each.

Turning the corner and reducing waste

This initial test, offered by a third party—an employer or high school—is designed to convince women to take the plunge and ultimately keep them. “It’s normal for schools to be concerned about this, it’s a physiological need and the sooner we teach women environmental habits, the more they build.”, he says. As for companies, he believes in it “Going into history with the evolution of CSR, taking into account the reduction of employees’ carbon footprint”.

Clitty menstrual panties (and thongs) are suitable for all types of flows: from light to heavy.Clitty

Remember, according to Ademe, disposable sanitary protection is about 30 kg of waste per person per year. Not to mention the harmful chemicals it contains, a problem raised by ANSES, the national health safety agency, in 2018.

A streaming story

When she launched Clitty in 2021, Elodie Placide was not in her first entrepreneurial experience: two years earlier, she had founded a digital communication agency specializing in rebranding with two friends.

But this time the story is more personal. As one in ten women in France suffers from endometriosis, she is committed to this topic. With an unusual menstrual flow, she searched time and again for washable and eco-responsible protection that suited her needs.

“Everything was difficult in the office, he says. During periods, I sometimes had to change defenses almost every two hours. » Neither one nor two, he presents his project through Ulule and collects 5000 euros on this crowdfunding platform in November 2021. Enough to launch the first series of reusable sanitary napkins. Products she designs and adapts to different menstrual flows. ” “Covid didn’t help me and commodity prices went up with the war in Ukraine, but I’m standing.” he assures.

On Clitty’s blog, she, along with an apprentice and a freelancer, writes informative articles about how the rules work, and especially the importance of following your period. She says she chooses bright colors (purple, orange) for her menstrual pads and panties to contrast with the usual black backgrounds of other products on the market — which makes it hard to see how much she’s flowing or how consistent she is. “It is important to know yourself better, to know how to listen to your body better”, he specifies.

Awareness, war news

Killing two birds with one stone, he wants to promote more environmentally friendly consumption of sanitary protection while freeing speech around workplace regulations.

In the last quarter of 2022, the bet won: the first collaboration was launched with the Ecole des Mines de Saint Etienne and the Suez company, where she led an awareness workshop on menstruation. volunteering. The entrepreneur is already thinking bigger for the future. “These workshops should be open to everyone in the future because they are not just for menstruating women. »

Next steps for Lyonnaise? For endometriosis month in March, train members of the Lyon Part-Dieu business club and a student association from Martinique (the island she is from) and hire a new business education student(e) on the commercial side. . This year, it welcomes arms to develop its activities in ten structures and distribute 150,000 washable sanitary protection products over two years.

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