Mary Allison Pritchard
Photo courtesy of THINX
Miki Agrawal, the founder and CEO of stylish period-proof underwear company THINX, visited Sewanee on March 31 to discuss her business ventures. Agrawal is no typical CEO: she is unapologetic, engaging, and has an arsenal of acronyms, her favorite being GTS: Google that Sh*t, along with a trendy felt hat, which, all together, could put her among the cast of Broad City.
Agrawal’s business ventures are all inspired by purpose and necessity. With THINX, she decided to enter the fifteen billion dollar underwear industry, which has had minimal innovation over the last century. However, with THINX, Agrawal tackles a number of other issues.
For consumers of THINX underwear, the company promises the following in their pairs of underwear: moisturewicking, antimicrobial, absorbent, leak-resistant material. Some women use THINX to eliminate the need for panty liners, and others use the underwear on its own. The top layer of each pair wicks all liquid for all-day wear. Their website lists the capacity of each pair, ranging from one-half tampon’s worth to two tampons’ worth of absorbency. To wash the panties, one must rinse first, wash in cold water without fabric softener, and hang to dry. Reimagining female hygiene provides “support, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind,” according to their mantra on shethinx.com. For conscientious customers, the fact that THINX works with women in Sri Lanka at a family-run factory makes it a company that values education, empowerment, and the takedown of sweat shops and human slavery.
Her brilliant ad campaign strives to eliminate period stigmatization. Additionally, THINX subsidizes AFRIpads, a company that manufactures and sells reusable pads to African girls so they no longer need to miss school because of menstruation. By doing this, Agrawal hopes to help eliminate poverty in these areas, as she learned that lack of “feminine hygiene is the cause of cyclical poverty.” As of now, her company has helped over 30,000 girls go back to school.
“Recently being in New York and seeing the ads for THINX, it’s always been a curiosity of mine. When I found out Miki was coming to Sewanee, I was ecstatic. Hearing Miki’s story and how she is empowering women around the world was incredible,” says Hadley Montgomery (C’18).
Agrawal made sure to end her presentation with a take away for students, giving them a step-by-step list on how to be a successful CEO one day. She also assured the audience that she basically had “no idea” what she was doing in any of her ventures, so no one should be held back by their inhibitions. Agrawal closed by explaining why she loved talking to audiences like this, saying, “Teaching young girls to be strong, find their voice, and light up? That’s going to change the world.”
“I have the power to create my own reality,” Miki Agrawal told students to explain her mantra. Beyond THINX, Agrawal has a number of other side projects, such as her restaurant chain Wild, which makes natural pizzas, and Tushy, which is a line of affordable bidets.