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Thinx Breaks Another Barrier as Kimberly-Clark Completes Its Acquisition of a Majority Stake in the Company

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Thinx Breaks Another Barrier as Kimberly-Clark Completes Its Acquisition of a Majority Stake in the Company Photo

by Maria Molland | 02/24/2022

All of us look back at special dates in our lives. July 31st, 2017, was the day I started the most meaningful job that I have ever had. At the time, a lot of people questioned why I would want to join a period underwear company, but for me it was an easy decision. The product is life-changing; Thinx is a disruptive product that naturally invites disruptive conversations and culture. It is a brand grounded in not only demystifying, but downright celebrating, all things messy, and I believed then (as I do now) that talking about taboo topics in our lives isn’t just good for our business but good for society as a whole. In addition to that, the economics were some of the most impressive I had run across, and signaled the category would go more mainstream; and, most importantly, I was able to work with an extremely talented team who truly wanted to make bodies and the planet healthier.

Last week, I was thinking back to July 2018, when a UK luxury department store started carrying Thinx. It was our first attempt at retail, and the night before the big launch, I was walking through the store and saw a manager attempting to take down our display.  I overheard this gentleman saying the idea of period-proof underwear was “disgusting” — that no man wants to see the word “period.” The store did take down the display that night, but even still, so many people had seen the press around our launch that they flooded the store demanding our product, with or without the display. Three and half years later, retail makes up 20% of our business. We have customers like Target, CVS, and Boots. And we are just getting started. What a testament to perseverance.

I am truly amazed at how much our team has accomplished together. In the last 4 ½ years, we have grown from 29 people to over 100 and our revenue has nearly increased four times. And, in the last two years, we grew our customer base to 2 million, all while navigating many challenges out of our control — the global pandemic, broken supply chains, and even work from home challenges. Thinx helps cut down the number of plastics in landfills and I couldn’t be more proud of what our brand does to empower people. These accomplishments have proven that we have made significant progress towards reaching our mission to be the most innovative leader in bringing sustainable solutions to menstruation and incontinence to market.

Today we are thrilled to announce that Kimberly-Clark has completed its acquisition of a majority interest in Thinx. This is significant because together we will accelerate our ability to realize our mission and vision, and enable Thinx period and incontinence underwear to more quickly become a mainstream alternative for customers around the world. We have proven that we are no longer a niche brand and product. Kimberly-Clark, a leader in the feminine hygiene category globally, believes in this disruptive category, and they believe in us as the leader in the space.

Opportunities like this do not come along often and I believe it’s because we did something truly special. We are the first start-up company in the reusable period underwear category to be in the position of having a Fortune 500 Company acquire a majority stake. This is a big deal. The reality is that 9 out of 10 startups don’t make it and only 40% of startups are able to become profitable, let alone have the right economics, team, and market potential to be attractive as a strategic partner.

so, why now?

The last few years have shifted the way we do business. We are small but mighty, and to deliver on our mission to create innovative, sustainable solutions for people with periods and incontinence, we must have the right partner in place to help navigate and overcome the macroeconomic challenges facing our industry. We have that partner in Kimberly-Clark and together we will continue to provide products that focus on making the world better and that empower people.

The fact remains that the pandemic shifted the way we do business. Our logistics, production, and raw material costs are up and our retail operations are becoming more and more complex. We believe the additional resources from a large global partner in feminine hygiene and adult incontinence — who has deep relationships and expertise with global retailers, supply chain partners, manufacturers, and regulatory/compliance processes — will enable us to expand and flex our operations. Finally, we will have access to additional resources that enable us to be more proactive and intentional with our strategy.

why Kimberly-Clark?

It might be said that this question was answered for us a century ago. Kimberly-Clark is a pioneer in this space. They have a legacy of consumer-led innovation going as far back as inventing the Kotex brand more than 100 years ago, and creating the disposable incontinence category with the Poise and Depend brands. They invented the ‘femcare’ category and we invented the ‘femtech’ category. So it’s fitting that we will be working more closely with a like-minded organization.

They are dedicated to helping us preserve our culture. We’ll be able to continue nurturing our creative chops, maintain our agile way of working, and energize our entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, the foundation from which we’ll build upon is already in place. We have a shared vision to improve people’s lives, create new categories, and start new conversations. Kimberly-Clark is a company grounded in a mission to provide better care for a better world that improves the lives of people with minimal impact to the environment, and encourages their employees to be ambassadors at work and beyond. We’ll be able to directly tap into their knowledge and network to get our safe and sustainable products into the hands of more people more quickly.

This is a major achievement for all of us. I want to thank the investors who believed in us when no one else did. Without you we would not be here. I want to thank all of the board members along the way who have helped guide the company to where it is today.  And, a special thanks to our customers and Thinx employees… past and present. 

Being part of this company as we graduate into this next stage of our business is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have a lot to do, and I couldn’t be more excited for Thinx’s future.

Maria is the CEO of Thinx Inc.

Read Kimberly-Clark's press release here.

by Maria Molland

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