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How Underwear Can Change The World

Meet the winner of the Daily Grommet contest: Thinx.

Could new technology in underwear save women all around the world from embarrassment—and millions of girls from missing school during their periods? Three entrepreneurs who came up with "Thinx" underwear seem to think so.

Co-founders Antonia, Miki and Radha Agrawal came up with the product after some harrowing experiences of their own over the years with their menstrual cycles.

"I had to shoot off while the CEO was talking and run out of the room," said Antonia. "I looked at the marketplace to see if there was anything for us for when that moment happens and there wasn't."

After a few more similar incidents and inspiration gained from traveling abroad, the Thinx underwear was developed. It uses leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking fabric that reduces stains and absorbs liquid. The product was originally funded with $130,000 from Kickstarter and is sold online.

The women also partnered with Uganda-based organization AFRIpads, which creates washable pads for women in developing countries so they don't have to miss work or school a week each month. For each pair of underwear Thinx sells, it donates enough money for AFRIpads to create seven pads.

On Tuesday, the women got another boost: Thinx beat out 145 entrepreneurs in a contest held by online marketplace the Daily Grommet, to have their product sold on the online marketplace, promoted in the media and be featured on the funding website indiegogo.

"What we’re excited about working with (the Daily Grommet team)," Miki said. "They’ve brought so many different products that have social (benefits) attached to them. They’re going to give us their expertise and really bring us smart partnerships, and introduce us to the media because they’ve been here thousands of times before."

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  • Kendra Kroll

    another way women can feel confident during this time is to always be able to carry their hygiene items discreetly ON their bodies, since you never know when you'll need something...NOW! <3, @PortaPocketGal

  • Ibrar

    After a few more similar incidents and inspiration gained from traveling abroad

  • Kenneth Noisette

    Niceeeeeeeeee, never would've thought underwear can make a dent in developing countries like this.

  • Mcclskyjm

    I wonder what chemicals are in the "anti-microbial" fabric? Seems you wouldn't want that near your skin, let alone anywhere near your vagina.

  • Miki

      and  THINX is already addressing the lack of underwear in the developing countries with a simple pair that will accompany the AFRIpads. The price you pay is for tech and quality of construction is always higher and the cost to produce this new patented product costs much more too. Look at Spanx, it costs an average of $40 for their shapewear. Paying $28 for a pair of underwear that will not only give you peace of mind but be your favorite pair of underwear in your drawer is certainly worth it. And! Know that seven reusable pads will be funded for a woman in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. 
    Fast Company did mix up the Kickstarter number vs goal percentage reached (130%) but the rest of the article is 100% accurate. 
    Please email info at shethinx dot com if you have any more questions. 
    Thank you for your feedback and we look forward to changing your underwear. 
    Thanks  for your encouraging words! Starting a business is always a challenge and there will always be naysayers but we believe in this product and mission. 
    All the best! 

  • KateInNY

    THINX has a flawed model. First, why are they assuming that poor girls who cannot afford pads have panties? They usually don't under their long school skirts. Moreover, the price of the THINX panties is outrageous - more than most designer French lingerie brands. The high-tech fabric will prob diminish over time with washes. So what's the point? Finally, I don't know any women who want to use the panties when they know their period is coming. It's kind of gross. 

    Yes, FastCo. is really stretching it with their articles lately. Very poorly researched. 

  • Natasha Zabchuk

    Now you know one. I would wear them. And apparently ~$65,000 worth of panties were sold to customers so there's definitely a user base. Not sure it would replace my diva cup but at least it would be a second line of defence. 

    It's a no brainer for me: would a woman choose to stay at home for 7 days, missing out on her hourly wage so she can continue not wearing underwear or would she suck it up for 7 days, wear some damn panties and continue providing for her family? 

  • Ibrar

    I don't know any women who want to use the panties when they know their period is coming. It's kind of gross

  • The truth online

    Um, Kickstarter campaign raised $65k, half of what is cited in the article and hasn't even been made yet.  Who's making up these #'s?  C'mon Fast Company...with that kind of stretching now I'm starting to doubt everything...