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Callaly secures £1m government innovation loan

British femcare brand Callaly takes on the tampon giants with its Tampliner, the "first innovation in tampons for 80 years".

9th November 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  UK


Callaly, the creator of the Tampliner, an innovative combination of a tampon and pantyliner, has won the global Hygienix Innovation Award, presented in Orlando Florida by leading industry body INDA. The prestigious annual award recognises companies across the world for their innovation in the hygiene and personal care sector. Callaly beat two other finalists with a combined $ 2 billion annual revenue, proving itself to be the one-to-watch in the hygiene market.

The company impressed judges with its radical innovation in a sector that hadn’t seen change in 80 years, recognising the potential for it to alter the face of the femcare category.

Callaly's Hygienix award with Tampliners. ©  Callaly

“We’re honoured and excited that our Tampliner has won this year’s Hygienix Innovation award. It’s a real achievement for a start-up working to improve product choice in the femcare industry, which is lacking in meaningful design innovation. We’re privileged to be recognised by such a supportive and forward-thinking industry body and we thank INDA – and the wider industry – for welcoming our product so enthusiastically,” said co-founder and CEO Thang Vo-Ta.

The news follows being successfully awarded a prestigious £ 1 million loan from Innovate UK, the government body in place to enable innovative businesses to scale up and commercialise new technologies.

Callaly’s Tampliner was invented by gynaecologist Alex Hooi, who, after decades of listening to women talk about their frustrations with existing femcare products, set about creating a solution. Alex enlisted the help of Ewa Radziwon, a garment technologist with 10 years’ experience in the fashion industry.

Callaly is a supporter of British industry, with all its products developed, manufactured and packed in the UK. © Callaly

Ewa made the first functioning Tampliner and has been perfecting and testing the design for five years. Alex was helped on his mission by co-founder Thang Vo-Ta, who brought the first-of-its-kind product to mass market via a monthly subscription model, which allows customers to easily customise their delivery to fit their cycle. Inspired by his two daughters, he wanted to create a better product, made with higher standards, that would offer more choice to people with periods.

Half of the current investors said no when first approached, largely because periods and feminine hygiene were a low-interest and taboo area for investors. However, this hasn’t fazed the brand, who aim to sell their two millionth product next year.

“Every start-up with a disruptive product faces the challenge of convincing investors, suppliers and researchers to trust and support them on their journey. Being in the femcare industry, which is still subject to outdated taboos, makes this twice as tricky. But it has been worth it to get the right support behind us. We feel privileged to be able to work on new innovations that don’t just provide value, but also improve users’ health and offer more choice topeople with periods,” commented Thang Vo-Ta.

The company was founded in 2013. © Callaly

Callaly is a supporter of British industry, with all its products developed, manufactured and packed in the UK. It also takes great pride in its B-Corporation certification, joining a community of companies that are using business as a force for good. Callaly donates a minimum of 1% of sales toDays for Girls, an international charity that provides girls living in poverty in Africa and Asia with reusable period products and has donated a die-cutter machine so that they can produce products 12 times faster.

Callaly has also supplied tens of thousands of period products to charities including Bloody Good Period, The Red Box Project, Street Cramps, Solace Women's Aid and Southall Black Sisters. The team gives back 3% of their time to supporting charities that empower and support people with periods. Callaly also ensures that each one of its employers is a shareholder, committing to giving back within the business as well as outside it.

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