This High-Tech Underwear Could Help Girls Around the Globe

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
This High-Tech Underwear Could Help Girls Around the Globe
Image credit: Adrian Gaut
Miki Agrawal, based in New York.
3 min read

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Don’t tell Miki Agrawal that Thinx, her line of underwear designed to let women menstruate freely without tampons or pads, might not be for everybody. Agrawal fiercely believes -- to quote Thinx’s tagline -- that these panties are “for women with periods.” Meaning: all of them. “Girls are sick of wearing tampons,” Agrawal says. “As a woman, how many pairs of our underwear have we all ruined from monthly accidents?”

She might be right: Since a big market push last spring, she says she’s sold “tens of thousands” of pairs of Thinx, which look like normal underwear. According to Agrawal (and a few enterprising bloggers), they feel like regular underwear, too. But unlike your daily underpants, these are antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, liquid-absorbing garments that took three and a half years to develop. They come in six styles, cost from $24 to $38 each and promise to hold up to two tampons’ worth of fluid. 

For women in the U.S., Agrawal pitches this as a low-cost luxury item. For women in developing countries, it could be the key to keeping girls in school. While visiting South Africa in 2010, Agrawal met a young girl who wasn’t attending class. “She said, ‘It’s my week of shame,’” Agrawal recalls. “Girls in the developing world have a ‘period problem,’ too, but access to nothing.” So for every pair of Thinx sold, the company donates to AfriPads, a Uganda-based company that makes reusable pads and employs local women. Agrawal will also launch a nonprofit arm this year, with plans to open 10 safe, empowering “Girls Clubs” across Africa.

Agrawal sees Thinx’s mission as sociopolitical. “There’s a true shift in ‘period feminism,’ moving away from using a product invented by men in 1931,” she says, referring to the year Tampax first hit the market. That hints at Thinx’s next product, of which she won’t say much, just that it will “disrupt the category and the sustainability problem of the 20 million tampons and pads that go into landfills every year.” She has also launched a line of low-cost, attachable bidets, and underwear for incontinence is up next on her brave to-do list. 

Check out more companies on the 2016 Brilliant 100 list

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.