The entrepreneur from Rio Grande do Sul who created a model of recent “reusable panties” with ESG enchantment
Raíssa Kist is the founder of Herself, a manufacturer of reusable panties and bikinis that aims to eliminate the discomfort of disposable pads.
The Story of the Entrepreneur Raisa Assmann Kist is proof that rethinking consumption is not something restricted to large companies and product manufacturers with robust industrial lines.
Kist carries with him a socio-environmental concern since his college days. When he was a chemical engineering student, he began to question the way in which some items are produced — and offered — to end consumers, since their formulation. “I always wondered if the consumption of disposables was really something that could not be changed”, he says. “That’s when I realized that this was a market that hadn’t had innovation for decades”.
This restlessness was soon also connected to the desire to undertake. That’s when, in 2017, Kist founded the selfa brand of reusable bikinis and panties that proposes a new way to dispose of feminine sanitary pads.
The prototype came in mid-2017, shortly after the chemical engineering student decided to go to the market to seek information about other women’s interest in products that could replace traditional disposable pads. “Allergies, diaper rash and other annoyances caused by these items, which have been with women for decades, but especially the lack of sustainable solutions, was a common pain shared by thousands of women across the country,” she says.
The deal got off the ground months later, after a R$100,000 crowdfunding round involving 800 investors.
What does Herself do?
Herself produces and sells reusable panties that replace traditional pads. Items are washable and can be used multiple times by women with different menstrual cycles. In 2018, the brand also launched its first reusable bikini, with technology aimed at using the product in water.
The bikini was created from a demand from the collective investors themselves, says the founder. Today they are the flagship of the brand, which has 85% of its revenue from its own e-commerce. The rest of the revenue is the result of partnerships with physical stores with a sustainable fashion footprint.
The business differentiator
Herself’s proposal is to offer “menstrual dignity” to a contingent of more than 60 million women of reproductive age in the country.
Making menstrual cycles no longer a limiting and uncomfortable factor for the company also comes up against the issue of diversity. “Making an impact is something that goes far beyond the environment. We want to be present in the lives of these women with diverse, accessible and technology-based products,” she says.
For this, the brand offers a portfolio of 16 sizes, from 30 to 60, with an eye on all types of female bodies. In addition, Herself also sells bikinis with side openings, aimed at people with disabilities (PwD).
The brand designs all patterns and prints and relies on 100% national raw material. The factory is in Porto Alegre, where the company has 19 employees, all women.
In a project with the prison system of Rio Grande do Sul, at the invitation of the State Public Security Department, Herself encourages women in prison situations to manufacture their own branded products through educational workshops. “We understand that in addition to the environmental impact, it was also at the heart of the company to look at social impacts and find ways for technology to reach more people, especially those who have never had access to sanitary pads, nor to choose the best product for their reality”, he says.
In addition to Rio Grande do Sul, the project has also been taken to three other states: Rondônia, Ceará and Minas Gerais.
The company recently completed a pre-seed round with the angel investor network Sororitê, dedicated exclusively to female startups. Without disclosing the value raised by the company, Kist says that the capital will be fully dedicated to the growth of the brand and to accelerate internationalization plans — today the company is also in Uruguay, Colombia and Chile.
On this front, the entrepreneur’s intention is to make Herself better known in the market and also to improve e-commerce, the main current sales channel. “It’s a resource that goes into product, innovation, traction and sales scale.”
With an eye on the potential of menstrual bikinis and the arrival of summer, the company estimates an 80% growth in sales in the coming months.