Every month, many women around the world experience intense cramps, loss of energy and irritability when they are on their menstrual cycle. But as it stands today, menstruation continues to be a taboo.
In India, many young girls and women do not have access to sanitary products, and are not even aware of proper menstrual hygiene. Such is the stigma attached to periods that any inconvenience faced during a cycle, is discussed in a hushed manner.
When 12-year-old Ayraah Lodha, a student of Ascend International School, got her period, she realised the Indian market lacked a product which could be a nutritional supplement, and with which a woman could also enhance her mood.
It further got her thinking if she could do something about it.
Thus, the seventh grader put her entrepreneurial skills to use and launched High5, a nutritious granola brand. The pre-teen did intensive research of products that could help with period cramps as well as foods that are mood enhancers, and put these together to create the granola brand.
The journey was naturally not easy. Ayraah had to interview a sample set of about a 100 women. She found that while 87.5 per cent of them have experienced mood swings during menstrual cycles, 79.2 per cent experience period cramps, and 100 per cent need and want a product like the one she had imagined.
Based on her research, she used food items that are rich in iron, like dates, as well as natural mood enhancers like dark chocolate, to create a product that is specific to the menstrual cycle of women.
She did months of research, sat with a nutritionist and a gynecologist, along with her grandmothers for inputs on selecting ingredients that were time-tested to reduce pain and elevate mood.
The first person she discussed it with was her mother and her mentors at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) program, who helped her bring the idea to life.
Talking about the challenges that she faced was the fear of people taking the product idea in the wrong way, as well as not being supportive of breaking the stereotypes. But, the results were absolutely amazing and everyone was extremely supportive. In fact, she even won the third prize at YEA investor panel. After she launched [High5], she faced a big challenge of marketing and actually getting people to buy it. She started to use Instagram as well as person-to-person advertising, which helped enormously.
The reason the brand is called ‘High5’ is because ‘high’ means to elevate and ‘5’ signifies the days an average menstrual cycle lasts. Also, high-fives are a universal symbol of positivity.
The product can be accessed through her website http://www.highfivesnacks.com and her Instagram is @high5_snacks. The price range is between Rs. 350 and Rs. 400, depending on the flavour.
At 12, she set up her website, created this amazing product, figured the most environmentally-friendly packaging which is economical. She takes orders, organises couriers, researches so much. She set up her social media account. This is way more than any bookish knowledge.
In a perfect world, they would have access to something with which they would not only be able to replenish their reserves, but also comfort themselves and their taste buds.
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