Dar es Salaam — Under normal circumstances, it sounds awkward for one to hear that charcoal from bamboo can be used in the manufacture of sanitary pads!
However, that is exactly how Ms Hyasintha Ntuyeko started her entrepreneurship in 2010.
Business at 24 years old
But even before that, she had made a solid decision to serve the community and make money through the selling of sanitary pads.
As soon as she had completed her college studies in the year 2010, Ms Hyasintha Ntuyeko had already developed the love for selling sanitary pads.
With only Sh60,000 as her capital, she started off with a trip to Nairobi, Kenya where she could buy the products for sale to office ladies and students in Dar es Salaam.
Through selling the products that she imported from Kenya, Ms Ntuyeko had managed to grow her capital to Sh20 million as of selling shares in 2013, prompting her to think of establishing her own sanitary pad.
That was how she found herself in China in 2015.
While there, she found a business partner to whom she gave her product requirements and actual production of sanitary pads that have been designed with a bamboo started.
From such a humble beginning, products by Ms Ntuyeko’s Kasole Secrets Company are now available through Clicks Supermarkets in South Africa, Malawi and Namibia.
Back home, her products are available in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Coast, Arusha, Iringa and Mbeya, Dodoma, Mwanza and Rukwa.
Her earnings from the business have gone up tremendously and that she is now finalising modalities before her company’s products start selling Nigeria.
Kasole Secrets Company’s sanitary pads with the brand name of ‘Glory Pads.’
For her, the beginning was odious.
“At the age of 24, it was difficult for people, including members of my own family and friends, to put their trust in me. I had to work hard to build their trust,” she said.
Her dream remains that of expanding the scope of her business and also to bring back the benefits to the community by coming up with various innovative solutions in addressing the menstrual challenges in the community.
The idea of innovating bamboo made pads came seven years ago after her supplier in Kenya decided to shut down the business.
At this point Ms Ntuyeko had already created customers and built trust with most in her network.
She decided to maintain the technology by dedicating her entire career as a social entrepreneur.
While growing up, Ms Ntuyeko used to suffer from menstrual pains and after joining university she had to contend with the challenge of the poor quality of sanitary pads.
This forced her brain into thinking deeply on how to help herself and others too.
“That was why I immediately ventured into the business as soon as I had completed my Bachelor’s Degree course in Information Systems and Network Engineering at St. Joseph College of Engineering and Technology.
In 2013, after conducting research she came up with the technology of bamboo charcoal that can be used to produce sanitary pads.
The goal to come up with bamboo technology was not only to sell but also to prevent possible diseases that often occur during menstruation.
Currently, the production of the pads takes place in China.
A total of 60,000 cartons, each containing 12 boxes of seven pieces each are sold each year.
The company has directly employed f5 people and more than 17 have benefited.
By nature, bamboo is itself antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial.
Thus, the use bamboo charcoal technology makes the product to meet the health requirements of ladies.
“When we carbonate it into charcoal more benefits like odor removal is added up. Due to its medicinal nature of bamboo; our pads help to prevent women from fungal and bacterial infections but also once they when used in 3 menses conservatives they reduce the menstrual cramps,” she said.
Moreover, Glory Pads are not added with any perfume, environmentally friendly and made with 100 percent natural cotton.
So far have never found bamboo commercial pads in the market and even in China itself their markets do not have bamboo pads. Glory pads have been well received in the market and many of our customers have been users for a very long time.
Any business is competitive but our products are different due to the technology we use which helps a lot of things for women when they are menstruating.
One of our responsibilities is to bring innovative solutions towards menstrual health crisis where we achieve it through. Developing and selling innovative sanitary napkins embossed with bamboo charcoal. She also provides Menstrual Health Education with funds from proceeds from sanitary napkin business.
The company also encourages menstrual health innovation within communities by partnering with local charity organizations and enterprises.
All of our partners who sell our pads abroad also sign agreements to run safe menstrual programs and community rehabilitation. Our partner has grown stronger every day to run these menstrual health and hygiene programs in South Africa where Kasole Secrets Company provided guidelines for teaching and building.
Ms Amina Rashid said about two years now since she started using that product saying is very good compared to others that have been used.
“I used to have a lot of stomach pain during menstruation. One day I went to the pharmacy to buy sanitary pad the seller advised me to use that pads because they have a medicine made from bamboo charcoal,”
She said that their product is good and it has managed to cure her problem but they are sold expensively most people cannot afford, adding there is need for them to reduce the price so that a large number of people can buy.