Ghanaian startup PlaySafe is aiming to make feminine hygiene products more accessible across Africa, and has just launched its first product – a online period starter kit subscription service.
The startup has just rolled out Pinkibox, an online period subscription kit service currently available in Accra and Tema.
“The whole idea started in my final year in college. Most of us are so busy we forget to stock our sanitary supplies for the month and end up going to our colleagues for some. After college, I realised most busy working women face the same issues,” Nana Abena Fosua Gyamfi, the startup’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO), told Disrupt Africa.
“PlaySafe seeks to use technology to ensure organic, feminine hygiene products are accessible and more affordable across Africa. While at it, we want to create a community of social, bold Africans who do not shy away from talking about feminine hygiene issues, particularly menstruation.”
The startup’s first product speaks to those targets. Each box provided by Pinkibox comes with a stock of sanitary supplies, including sanitary pads, dry tissues and sanitised wet wipes.
Gyamfi said PlaySafe had launched to fill a sizeable gap, with most of the sanitary supplies in the market not organic, and busy women having no easy way to manage their period.
“By bringing e-commerce convenience into the space, we make it easier for these women to manage their period by subscribing to their sanitary supplies and getting them delivered just when they need them,” she said.
“We also offer a free online chat space for these women to talk to medical experts about their menstrual issues anytime, anywhere.”
She claims Pinkibox is the first service of its kind in Ghana.
“Our competitors only sell their products through wholesale and retail distribution channels, and the user will have to go directly to retail shops to purchase them themselves,” said Gamfi. “We noticed that most of these customers through unforeseen circumstances sometimes cannot make it to the shops on time before their period catches up with them, while some also simply forget the exact days, causing them discomfort when it ends up creeping up on them unexpectedly.”
When a customer sign up with Pinkibox, they choose their subscription plan based on the nature of their cycle. Kits are deliver between three and five days before these days, to an address of their convenience.
PlaySafe is currently entirely self-funded, but the startup has been selected for the latest edition of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, which will see it given US$5,000 in funding. The startup launched with just over 100 pre-orders, which it is currently fulfilling.
“We are currently delivering in Accra and Tema. By the end of the year, we hope to have established strong presence in four major regional capitals in the country – Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Cape Coast,” Gamfi said.