Faith and Linda Kimeu, are the brains behind Dial a Pad, a company that seeks to make pads accessible to every school-going girl.
Before coming up with Dial a pad, we had come up with kimmiesnon toxic enterprises that focused on hand washing. We came up with a sustainable school based hand washing programme. Faith has a Bachelor of Science degree in bio chemistry specialising in clinical chemistry while Linda has a MA in religious studies and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration.
Dial a pad was inspiration was as a result of our two-year interaction with disadvantaged school going kids at the time we were on the school based handwashing programme. We came face to face with the dire situation that is lack of menstrual hygiene education.
We came up with Dial a pad to provide access to sanitary pads in a safe and dignified manner while giving the necessary information on menstruation.
Since we didn’t have funds then, we organised for a menstrual hygiene day celebration where we raised and donated 1,000 sanitary pads to school going girls. We also had peer educators to talk to the girls about menstrual hygiene. When we went back home, we realised what we had done wasn’t enough- that’s how Dial a pad was born.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
Our vision was to have platform that would approach menstruation in a holistic way. Given the digital times we are living in, we decided to come up with an App for the business. We applied for the Lion’s Den challenge by KCB. Through our successful participation in the competition, we got Sh 500,000 which we used to create the App. The app is basically divided into various segments, the first being the e-shop, where clients get to choose and buy sanitary napkins, cups or tampons after which they pay via Mpesa.
RUNNING A START-UP
Running the business has been challenging because menstruation still remains a taboo topic in Kenya. Through the Dial a Pad app, we hope to change this perception and show people that this is after all a natural cause that we must embrace as it going nowhere.
Converting a client to believe in our dream has been our greatest challenge because we have to convince them that indeed we offer the same products as those stocked in retail chains. To remain relevant and ahead, we realised we had also to offer something different. So we stock organic products which are mostly bought by people who react to the usual ones.
Making deliveries has also been a challenge but with time we have been able to deal with it.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
We currently have over 200 customers a month, this is motivating. However on the flipside, we have only over 100 downloads. Our greatest challenge now is getting more women to download and use our app.We have also been encountering challenges in developing the right partnerships that will help us realise
We have realized that in business, you have to keep going even when things don’t make sense. We wish we knew this when we began, all in all, we are at a better place now to handle obstacles on our way.
Our message to the young women we come across our work is, get started ASAP, be crazy in your thinking, have a backbone and be aggressive. Above all involve God in everything