EXCLUSIVE | Sahil Dharia: Paree aims to normalize menstrual hygiene

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Sahil Dharia, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paree, in an exclusive interaction, speaks about how the feminine hygiene brand commemorated global Menstrual Hygiene Day, its collaboration with the female police force and its newest offering ‘Paree Super Ultra.’ Sahil also addresses the challenges women face due to the lack of knowledge about proper menstrual hygiene care, how Paree has been facilitating open conversations around periods and how it has pioneered in bringing progressive changes in the attitude of people.

Sahil is a global executive turned entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in setting up, scaling and leading – Financial Services business and FMCG ventures. He is also the founder member of the India Disposable Hygiene Forum (IDHF), which is a professional platform for manufacturers and brand owners of feminine health and hygiene products. A charter member of the TiE startup community, a FICCI Young Leader and on the Executive Council of CII Young Indians.

How did Paree commemorate the global Menstrual Hygiene Day?

On Menstrual Hygiene Day, we launched our newest product variant, Paree Super Ultra pads. To commemorate the occasion, we organized menstrual hygiene drives across cities to honor women police forces and gifted them the new product.

We ensured that these heavy-duty women who are working round the clock during this second wave of COVID 19 are supported and taken care of with their menstrual hygiene requirements.

The thought behind this drive was to provide the right menstrual hygiene for the physically demanding professions of women by launching a high-performance sanitary product – Paree Super Ultra. Paree strongly believes in women being comfortable during their periods and ensures that periods do not stop them from being champions.

What are the problems women face due to a lack of knowledge about proper menstrual hygiene care?

A major concern of lack of knowledge about proper menstrual hygiene care is its health impact. When menstrual hygiene is neglected, it can lead to several underlying diseases and infections. Many women and girls are unaware or ill-informed about menstruation and therefore practice poor genital hygiene that can negatively affect their health.

Women need to prioritize their health, understand their body’s menstrual requirements, and maintain proper hygiene measures. Brands like Paree have introduced innovative lines of products to cater to the varied menstrual needs of women, from heavy flow to rash-free comfort, we aim to provide sanitary solutions for every issue. 

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What was the response for Paree’s menstrual hygiene drive?

During this pandemic, frontline workers have been the true champions in the fight against the virus. We took this opportunity to stand in solidarity with those on the frontlines and associated with state police forces in Gurgaon, Noida, Jaipur and Indore to support the female police officers who have been working throughout this pandemic.

We distributed the newly launched Paree Super Ultra pads to them. Through this initiative, Paree saluted heavy-duty champions by launching a high-performance sanitary product to take care of their menstrual needs. 

In response to the campaign, the police were grateful and happy to associate with a feminine hygiene brand like Paree, which truly cares and prioritizes the needs of women. The product as well received a positive response and was well-liked by everyone.

How will Paree’s collaboration with women police officers help women feel more comfortable discussing menstruation?

As a feminine hygiene brand, we understand the many avatars of the Indian woman and aim to bring their menstrual needs to the forefront. The Paree Super Ultra is a high-performance sanitary product that is ideal for longer hours and prevents any leakage during heavy flow days. It is a product dedicated to heavy-duty champion women who are always on the go. We therefore collaborated with women police officers to launch the product. 

Through this launch, we hope to reassure women that their periods need not come in the way of them performing their duty.

We are determined to offer products that encourage women to prioritize and be vocal about their menstrual needs. Our aim is for women to be comfortable during their periods and that their periods do not stop them from being champions.

Paree associated with state police forces in Gurgaon, Noida, Jaipur, and Indore. Any particular reason, insight behind choosing these locations?

Paree has always strived to collaborate with organizations or people who have contributed to society. The objective of this drive to ensure that we as a feminine hygiene brand help start a dialogue about menstrual hygiene.

The police force has always been a part of society that works day in and out and as a female police officer, there are a lot of expectations out of you. Paree collaborated with them to ensure that nothing stops them from being the best version of themselves.

When it comes to why these specific stations, we do not intend to stop here. This is a campaign that we plan on carrying forward, collaborating with more police forces and affecting the lives of many more women police officers.

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What makes ‘Paree Super Ultra’ different, and what are its benefits?

Paree Super Ultra as the name suggests is ultra-thin and absorbent and keeps women wetness free for a longer period preventing any leakage, especially during their heavy flow days. Indian women experience heavy flow periods quite often, and with long working hours and humid weather, this can lead to a lot of physical and mental discomfort.

Observing the inadequacy of solutions for Heavy Flow in the market and in its endeavor to rightly take care of women’s needs, Paree offers the Indian women with the Heavy Flow Champion Sanitary Pads. The newest offering by the brand is Paree Super Ultra pads in XL and XXL sizes priced at Rs.30 and Rs.35 respectively.

Even in 2021, menstruation is a hush-hush topic. How can we break this culture of silence?

The topic of menstruation has been a hushed subject for quite long. However, with progressive changes in attitude, technological developments, and more research, we have seen more open conversations around the same. 

Today, women are more vocal about their menstrual cycles and how it affects them, and we as a brand are very aggressive in keeping these conversations going, normalizing these conversations and helping build agility of talk and action with our corporate peers.  

Also notable is the fact that parents, women and girls are today more empowered and knowledgeable about menstrual hygiene given their exposure to social media and this is a very positive change.

There are progressive conversations about periods, women hygiene products and women health. I feel the more these conversations accelerate and permeate, the more innovation and agility you will see in the personal hygiene industry which will help in breaking the culture of silence.

Any other initiatives we should expect from Paree to make the topic of menstrual hygiene mainstream in the future?

Paree as a brand has always been vocal about addressing real menstrual issues faced by women and asking them to prioritize their menstrual hygiene and wellness. And we will continue our initiatives in this direction to positively impact the lives of the community.

Last year during the lockdown, Paree undertook the campaign #SheFirst in which we distributed sanitary pads to the underprivileged women who were finding it difficult to access pads and brought focus to the larger conversation of female prioritizing their menstrual hygiene. 

On the corporate front, in an attempt to build an inclusive environment where period talk is candid among men and women, we announced Period Leave for all our women workforce, as we believe that even in the workplace, health should come first. 

Going forward, #UltraWomen will be a regular feature with the brand where we bring into focus women who are in physically demanding jobs and do our bit for their period comfort along with installing vending machines in various police stations to start with.

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Anything else you would like to add?

I would also like to share that Paree is a women-centric brand so we understand the many avatars of Indian women. Our overall workforce at Soothe Healthcare comprises of 40% women with 80% Women as Corporate office staff. The CEO’s direct management team as well includes 64% of women.

This means we understand the needs of our customers & strive to work harder to address them, especially because even the board & shareholder level include strong and inspirational women like Saina Nehwal. It is Paree’s endeavour to continue being a brand that women can trust.