Ruby Raut is a Nepali woman; CEO and Co-founder of WUKA period wear. She is a passionate environmental science and health graduate working to create an environment friendly menstrual product.
What is WUKA?
WUKA Period Wear is the world’s first period underwear that is coming to replace tampons and pads. WUKA. stands for Wake Up Kick Ass Period because we want every person who menstruate to feel the same way even when they are on their period.
WUKA Period wear is created so that women can have leak free, ultra-hygienic and luxuriously comfortable periods with minimal environmental impact. Our product is 100% environmentally friendly product made from sustainable fibres such as tencel and cotton. We are trying to create a reusable period underwear that can replace all the disposable sanitary products available in the markets such as tampons and pads.
What is the purpose of starting this venture of yours?
We asked 452 women aged between 18-46 years if they were satisfied with their current menstrual product. 71% were worried about the menstrual product failing while 77% of women think about the health risks of using a menstrual product when choosing one. So, we are talking about the product have been out in the market for decades. The results means basically the are not happy with their current menstrual product. So I thought why not make a menstrual product that is convenient to use, comfortable to wear and Eco friendly. Did you know that every years more than 200,000 tonnes of sanitary product ends in landfill in western country. This will just increase over the world as all. Now this is not just immediate environmental problem but we are leaving a pile of plastic which takes hundreds of year to break down to our next generation and generation after that. That is why we choose the most Eco-friendly fabric for our period underwear.
How is it different than the existing products that are available in the market?
Yes, there are period proof and leak proof underwear in the market mostly being in USA and Canada. However, they are as they say leak proof, you do need to wear some form of menstrual product such as tampons, pads, or mooncup as a back up as they are not designed for heavy flow days.
How are we different, well we are “No Back Up”, we are the period wear, that you can wear confidently, comfortably and luxuriously during your period even on your heavy days. Unlike other underwear which are made up of nylon and polyester, we are made of Eco fabric called Tencel. Tencel commonly referred as Lyocell is an Eco friendly fabric that is made with eucalyptus wood pulp from sustainable tree farms, tencel textiles are created though the use of nanotechnology in an award-winning closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents and emissions. More info here: https://www.
How did this idea emerge?
Upon turning 12, I saw a different side to my culture. Nachune, the Nepali name for period literally translates as’untouchable‘, which is what women are told they are when they start to bleed. I also experience my first Chaupaddi. Chaupaddi, a social tradition in Nepal for women, which prohibits them from participating in normal family activities during menstruation, as they are considered untouchable. In western part of Nepal women are sent to the nearby shed but in my case I had to go and live in my aunt’s place for a week. I was not allowed to go out in the sun, not to look at men, not to touch any plants (which would die if i touched them of course!).
What are the challenges that you are facing in this venture of yours?
As we are startup business, everyday is a challenge. But when you are passionate and have the drive, no challenge is a big challenge. Persuasion and patience has become my best friends. But to name I think its’
Getting the message and reaching out our target audience.
Researching what fabric is the best for your design, reaching out to the manufacturer who doesn’t sell small batch of fabric, chasing them, persuading them. The list goes on.
The project is not just about one element. There are hundreds of element involved to make one perfect underwear. The three different layers, differ fabric at different layers, then you have packaging, packaging design. How do you make sure that it fits through letter box and people don’t miss their packaging. How environmentally friend can you make your packaging and again the list goes on.
How can a person purchase your product?
We are at early stage of our startup business. We literally finished our first prototype. However, I personally have been trying our product past two month. I bought my own sewing machine and literally sew an underwear for the first time. All hail to YouTube.
So according to our timeline we are planning launch via kickstarter in the end of July to first week of August. So we are looking at the product to be available by October- November in our online shop.
Any opportunities to work with you in this project of yours?
Well, we are two person company with tight budget. Whilst we are fundraising please we would love if people join us via social media. We are at twitter, FB , Instagram. You also can sign up with us at www.wuka.co.uk to read about process and progress. We ‘ll be posting out info if anything comes up available.