STAND Up!: Sisters for the World, a new generation of healthy, environmental and affordable menstrual pads
“We applied to the STAND Up! Program in order to gain the necessary knowledge and connections that will help us launch our project”. These are the words from the two young female entrepreneurs, who are telling us the experience behind Sisters for the World, one of the 4 circular fashion start-ups selected in Lebanon by Berytech to scale and move to the project’s incubation phase.
“The current financial situation in Lebanon has made it very difficult for women to access sanitary menstrual products so we saw an opportunity to step in and try to fill the gap with healthy, environmental, and affordable products”. This is why the STAND Up! project is very important since its support will help these young entrepreneurs to fight the rising period poverty in Lebanon and reduce plastic waste. “The timing of our project is instrumental, in the midst of an economic and financial crisis, and it will be setting a new habit among women of using reusable products as well as helping raise awareness regarding the illnesses caused by traditional period products”, they confirmed.
Within this social and economic framework, Sisters for the World are making washable, healthy, eco-friendly and affordable menstrual pads and period underwear to substitute the existing single-use, plastic, unhealthy and expensive menstrual products. Their product targets all period-aged women, whether they were vulnerable women looking for affordable items, or just women who are eco-conscious and aware of the health hazards caused by traditional menstrual products.
“One of our most important success factors, we believe, will be our business model based on selling our future products in France alongside Lebanon so we can guarantee the sustainability of the project. In addition, the absence of likewise competitors in Lebanon is a plus for us”, they underlined.
The negative atmosphere, brought on by the blast, collapse, and pandemic, had a toll on Sisters for the World and mentally impacted their work. “Trying to keep your focus on work projects with a face mask on all the time, knowing that factories are shutting down and skilled people are fleeing the country, attempting to ignore the stress of catching a deadly virus, running from a café to another trying to get ahold of some internet and electricity, hearing nothing but terrible news happening in your country every day without having the opportunity to grasp what’s happening or mourn or do anything about it, all while you try to start a business in that same country”. These are some of the examples that have made the project duties even more challenging.
Despite of all these things that slowed the project down, on the other hand, these are the same things that reminded them of the importance of their project. Lebanese people deserve to be happy and to feel capable. After everything that was stolen from them, the last thing they want to see is periods being stolen from Lebanese women, along with what’s left of their social life. “We do not want to see their reproductive and mental health impaired. This is why we will insist on fighting period poverty all while protecting the environment.”, they stated.
As one of the start-ups chosen to enter the STAND Up! incubation phase, Sister for the World is receiving business and financial support as well as a mentoring assistance supported by high-profile professionals to improve the process of implementation and growth seizing new and sustainable business opportunities.