WUKA is the UK’s #1 award-winning sustainable period pants that completely replace the need for plastic period products such as tampons and pads.
On a mission to eradicate period taboos, and smash stigmas, WUKA aims to eradicate period shame, encourage inclusivity, body positivity, and the conversation surrounding such taboo topics, whilst facing the ongoing challenge of period poverty.
Founded in 2017, WUKA is a female-led start-up, making the UK’s first-ever reusable and leak-proof period wear. We meet founder Ruby Raut to discuss some of the lessons she has learned along the way.
Period empowerment with WUKA
We are on a mission to eradicate period shame, encourage inclusivity, body positivity, and the conversation surrounding such taboo topics whilst facing the ongoing challenge of period poverty.
We believe that periods should not cost the earth. Equality, social and environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything we do.
When studying for my Environmental Science degree, I discovered that more than 200,000 tonnes of tampons and pads were sent to UK landfills every year, contributing to the mounting tide of plastic pollution. This was my ‘lightbulb moment’. I knew something had to change about the way we handled menstruation.
There are lots of aspects of a business to validate on your journey as an entrepreneur. The fundamental ones are – does your product or service solve a real problem that others have? Will people pay for it? We made samples of the underwear, and I found women on Facebook willing to try them out, as well as my long-term testing.
This process helped us refine the fit and ensure they did the job of a tampon or pad. And we got to hear first-hand how they felt wearing them. Second, we launched on Kickstarter; no survey will prove that people will pay for them – and being a crowdfunding platform, it’s a brilliant way to validate that people will pay for your product.
Failure is a part of any entrepreneur’s journey
But it’s not so much ‘failure’ we experience, but lessons. Every day is an opportunity to learn and grow and to help elevate WUKA and help more people. That’s the primary purpose of WUKA – to help others. Though, I’m glad I experienced how important it is to give yourself time to recalibrate and be mindful of how much work you are doing and whether you’re switching off or not! That, in return, will help your business, your team, and most importantly, yourself.
One of my favourite quotes is: Failure is a part of any entrepreneur’s journey. But it’s not so much ‘failure’ we experience, but lessons.
Misconceptions about the entrepreneurial journey
You need to be “professional” and do things properly, which will cost a lot of money. This barrier is the main one that entrepreneurs face and hear a lot in the early years. There is a belief that because you don’t have – in my case – a marketing or logistics degree, you can’t achieve something without paying out a lot of money that most can’t afford. There are so many free ways to kick start your growth engine if you are prepared to hustle. We found Twitter groups that give you access to Journalists for the free press, gifted samples for articles.
Creativity was also key: we shared stalls in a market with others to make it cost-effective, we started shipping from our living room – kicked out the sofa and put shelf racking in!
Go to as many events as you can – online and in-person! Connect with people, learn and meet people from all walks of life!
Growth and next steps
Social media has played a successful role for WUKA beautifully. It’s allowed us to create a safe space and platform for anyone who menstruates to be part of the WUKA community. Our key mission is to make reusable period pants affordable and accessible. We are here to break down taboos and open up a loving, safe environment. We want to discuss topics surrounding vaginal health, periods openly. Social media has helped create that.
We are currently looking to focus on growth and expansion! We are so excited to be able to reach more people, show them an alternative to disposable plastic period products and learn about WUKA.