NEW YORK, United States — Period-proof underwear brand Thinx has secured a $25 million investment from personal care giant Kimberly-Clark, as it doubles down on efforts to break the mainstream market.
She also revealed the capital would enable the startup to launch a more affordable line of underwear, to target a wider demographic.
In an email to customers, she commented: “We want people to have access to our underwear just as easily as they can pick up a pad, pantyliner, or tampon — and, as with any startup, we’ve weathered tough days when we’ve wondered if we can truly disrupt the menstrual hygiene space. Today, I am very excited to share that we are closer to our goal than ever before.”
Founded in 2014, Thinx’ mission to break taboos surrounding women’s intimate wellness hasn’t been without its challenges — one of the toughest being raising capital.
Until now the company had raised less than $2 million in total, with Molland blaming “period taboo, strong incumbents, and the daunting task of convincing people with periods to change behaviour,” for stunting the startup’s growth.
The firing of the company’s founder and former chief executive Miki Agrawal in 2017, amid sexual harassment allegations, also added to its woes.
However, despite its shaky start, over the past two years, the brand has doubled its sales to $50 million and reached one million customers. Its products can now be found in more than 60 boutiques and retail partners around the world including Nordstrom in the US, David Jones in Australia, and Galleries Lafayette in France.
The feminine care category, meanwhile, continues to grow, with recent reports predicting a global market value of $52bn by 2023.
Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble acquired This is L., a period care startup that manufactures organic pads and tampons, highlighting its ambition to conquer the category and align itself more closely with innovators such as Thinx, LOLA and Cora. Newer entrants such as Daye and Dame, meanwhile, continue to reimagine the space.
Dame, an organic tampon subscription service, has created the world’s first reusable tampon applicator made from medical grade materials free from chemicals and plastics. While London-based Daye, which recently raised $5.5 million in funding for its CBD-infused tampons, has designed tampons using organic and sustainably sourced cotton, with no plastic involved in the applicator or packaging.
Despite growing competition, Molland remains positive that Thinx can continue to scale with innovative solutions that drive social change.
“We achieved all this with just shy of $2 million, so you can only imagine the stars in my eyes when I think about how far Kimberly-Clark’s investment will let us soar,” she told customers.
“I consider this strategic investment as an acknowledgement of all our hard work. This capital will allow us to not just supercharge our astonishing growth but expand our horizons even further.”