In this episode of the Impact Podcast Innov8social founder talks to Molly Hayward, the co-founder of Cora. Molly is trying to radically change the way women’s health products are sold, with a philanthropic twist. Cora is  committed to giving women, access to safe and effective menstrual products, as well as valuable and trustworthy information. In this episode you will get to hear from Molly, on how she took the challenge upon herself, to solve the problem.

Listen to the Episode

Meet Molly Hayward

Molly’s interest in social impact space, started as early as a ten year old, when she started collecting funds for a non-profit. The organisation supported girl child’s education in the middle east. Molly also raised a petition to stop baby chicks from being sent away, as meat for a zoo lion. She felt she was an activist at such an early stage, and that thread continued through her teens.

Molly started to pick up interest in social justice, humanitarian aid, international relations, and women’s economics during her college. She took her first job in a startup, which is an e-commerce platform for socially sustainable products. She was impressed with the idea, that a powerful for-profit enterprise was able to create an impact, by supporting sustainable products.

Cora Concept

After that stint, Molly had an opportunity to travel to Kenya with a non-profit to focus on girls education and maternal health. Molly had an opportunity, to talk to the girls and found that during the period week, the girls were not attending the school fearing leak in their dresses. They were not having access to affordable menstrual hygiene pads and products. So they would fall behind and eventually dropout from school. The women in her world never worried about access to these products or they never fall back on things due to a period. That is when, Molly got the spark for Cora, from some of the existing social enterprises like Tom’s. So that really started,  the Cora concept.

Cora’s Development

Molly started to research about how to create tampons using Google. But she was not able to get a full preview of what goes into the product from any leading manufacturer. Molly, understood the fact that cotton widely used in the creation of tampons, were heavily polluted with pesticides. So she decided that, the she will only be offering organic tampons. It took a lot of research for them to come up with a product, and Moreen the co-founder of Cora really helped in the research. Moreen helped to connect with the manufacturer for the tampons. Even though organic cotton is costly it was worth the shot, given the amount of social awareness and health consciousness.

Cora’s team has also created a subscription model, that blends well with the style of today’s working women who hate to rush to stores at the last minute. They have also designed an ingenious and elegant carrying clutch which is made of vegan leather, so there is no more hiding. They have even thought well, about the reusable storage box for the tampons which looks sleek and elegant.

Cora’s Partnership

With every month’s supply of sustainable pads that Cora sold, Cora gives the same to a girl in a developing country so she can do anything during her period. Cora partners with Aakar innovations from India, to distribute sanitary pads to underprivileged girls in the community. Molly has chosen to partner with Aakar, after a careful consideration from a lot of suppliers.  Aakar’s vision and social cause, falls strongly in line with Cora. Aakar’s vision is to create awareness and access to affordable, high quality, environmental friendly menstrual hygiene products. They help to empower women and girls, to make informed choices and enable them to take charge of their own socio-economic development.

Molly strongly feels the need to have high quality product and branding, to run a successful business in the U.S and also to bring about an impact. Molly recently polled her customers recently, to rank the value proposition of Cora. The customers have ranked, the organic factor as number one, the social cause came in a close second , third was the experience and packaging and fourth was the convenience and delivery. She feels very happy, that she was able to offer this help to girls, and help them go to school.

Molly felt the major challenge that she faced, while addressing the social cause in countries like India and Africa, is the cultural and social taboo. Another challenge they face is to help women understand, the difference between synthetic and cotton tampon. The next level would be helping them understand the difference between cotton tampon and organic cotton tampon. There were a lot of assumptions and misconceptions, but she is overcoming the same using social channels. As Cora tries positions themselves as frontrunners, Molly wants to women to be fully aware of the choices, they make about the menstrual products.

Show Notes

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Twitter : #fearlessperiod

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