Miki Agrawal is changing the world one taboo at a time. As a proud feminist, Agrawal has continuously utilized her business savvy and entrepreneurial expertise to not only empower women, but to rewrite a slew of society’s most hegemonic narratives. Named one of Forbes’ “Top 20 Millienials On a Mission” Agrawal has also penned a Harper Collins published book entitled "DO COOL SH*T" on entrepreneurship & lifestyle design and founded multiple companies.
Deemed the “Bohemian Capitalist” by The New York Times, one of Agrawal’s most prominent ventures is her microfiber underwear company, Thinx. As the tagline goes, Thinx is “underwear for women with periods,”and embodies a chic display of feminism that speaks to the modern sensibility.
Miki Agrawal took the time to sit down with TechDay to discuss how her vision and personal connection to the company drove Thinx to be the success it is regaled as today.
The primary connotation around “period panties” is that their ugly, unsexy and something we should generally avoid talking about. How were you able to craft a voice around Thinx that helped create a new dialogue?
The messiness of our periods is a problem all women experience and it’s something that’s really not discussed. So it’s clear why there’s been no new innovation for our periods; it’s because no one is talking about it! Thinx was spurred by considering, why are we so averse to having this conversation - it’s the thing that makes human life, that perpetuates the human species. I didn’t understand why this was happening, so I decided it was time to change this narrative for women today.
As there is obviously a scientific component that allows Thinx to function the way they do, how is this explained via marketing strategies and advertisements in a way that isn’t overly complicated that allows consumers to quickly grasp the concept?
I think the biggest question many people have is, does it really work? And people really don’t want clinical, medical or technical answers to this question, they just want to know that it does, in fact, work. So we explain this in really relatable terms, talking about it in a similar way we would if we were texting our best girlfriends. We aim to really talk about it in the most comfortable and accessible way.
As feminism is a hot topic particularly right now, how has Thinx utilized the many conversations and debates surrounding feminist ideals to promote the brand and become part of this discourse?
We’re not promoting the brand through feminism, we just are a group of feminists carrying out what we truly believe in. It’s just who we are. We inherently talk about the things we care about, which is women’s rights, mainly. And so as a result it’s an embedded part of our brand as something that matters to us. We’re not trying to sell an idea, we’re just being authentically ourselves
What marketing strategies have generally been most successful for Thinx and why do you think they worked?
Primarily it’s been about opening up a dialogue. We’re talking about periods, which is still mor many considered a taboo topic. If we were to create ads or content that’s ugly or not focused on the touch points of our brand, then we’d seen like a non profit type organization. However, in actuality Thinx is an artful, beautifully considered design and product.
What advice would you offer early stage startup founders looking to boost visibility for their company that some would consider “taboo”?
You have to really really focus on the design and the aesthetic of the brand. Really focus on how you talk to people and not make it technical, rather try to be accessible and relatable. It’s about changing culture and eliminating shame from these conversations and doing it through an innovation that people want and love.
Any new innovations we can expect to see from Thinx in the near future?
We have a lot of things up our sleeve, I can’t really talk about it, but we're introducing a whole bunch of new stuff shortly.