Olivia Onyemaobi’s Reusable Sanitary Pads is Keeping Young Girls in School
With a series of cruel, incredible and sour experiences over 9 years of childhood, Olivia raised a campaign against child sexual abuse in July, 2015, educating and rehabilitate children, especially the ones suffering from sexual trauma in Nigeria. Teaming up with volunteers, Olivia addressed, counseled and rehabilitated over 1500 girls in October, 2015. During which it discovered that among other things, many of the girls are exposed to sexual abuse because their parents could not afford some of their material need, one of which is “sanitary pad”.
With shocking statistics of infections developing due to the use of unhygienic materials during menstruation (Use of leaves, rags, old foams, feathers, dry grass, sitting on sand, etc), Olivia turned into research to find the most affordable, healthier and Eco friendly menstrual solution for the Nigerian women and girls. This research gave rise to her starting up Pad-Up Creations.
Olivia Onyemaobi is a 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur and CEO, Pad-Up Creations producers of Pad-Up Menstrual Kits. These menstrual kits are chemical free, affordable, Eco friendly, washable/reusable and has minimum reusable period of 1 year. Her products eradicated the fear of lack of sanitary pads or money to buy one at spontaneous flows. With a mission to deliver innovative menstrual solutions leveraging on skilled and motivated Workforce, with leading edge in technology and research to enhance customers’ value for their money, these reusable sanitary pads are designed to provide superior feminine hygiene protection and comfort.
With a staff strength of 25, Olivia is heading towards fulfilling the mission for Pad-up Creations, but attaining the level of success she has today with Pad up has come with accountability! “I have separated my personal life from my business life. I pay myself salary and have no reason to take the company’s money or product for my personal use. Another thing is Discipline. I have also been faithful to our company’s resumption and closing time, so none of the staff will have to defaults on that. Sometimes i get to the office before some of our staff. I shouldn’t be late because I’m the CEO. Last is staff integration. I understand how important it is for all my staff to understand the mission and vision of the company. With this, every staff, irrespective of their department or unit is involved in developing new market for the business”
As a starter and pioneer in this field, Olivia has encountered challenges, with skills, materials and resources she says “Earlier, we had issues in getting skilled employees that will operate some of the machines. I paid for some to go and acquire the skill, but they couldn’t. I had to go and learn it myself.”
Also, finance to scale up production, The Padup boss says, she sometimes gets orders that are more than her production capacity, and the need arises to procure more raw materials. However, a major challenge for her has been the appetite for foreign made products “Some Nigerians find it difficult to patronize Nigerian made products. Most times, some corporate organizations in Nigeria will go as far as importing reusable sanitary pads into the country, even after testing and confirming that our product is better than what they get abroad. We are surmounting that by delivering our promise- consistency in quality. We have presently impacted the lives of over 40,000 Nigerians with our products, in less than a year.”
Much of her work and solutions to surmounting these challenges she says has come from her learning through the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. Before her selection in 2016, Olivia started about 5 start-ups that failed, she says “I thought working in the bank for 7 years+ has exposed me with the skills that i need to sustain my business. But I failed at setiing up these businesses but with the learning through the TEF Programme, i have a redefined value proposition, I understand my market share and who my real competitors are. Also, the funding from the Tony Elumelu foundation was a great leverage for us to scale up production. We have been able to acquire more machines and motorize our system, especially the alternative power supply that illuminates our production section during working hours. I am ever grateful for that opportunity.”
In line with her strategy and mission of having a skilled and motivated Workforce, Olivia introduced recognition of outstanding staff of the month. “After the first prize, i discovered that everyone was working hard to exceed the target. Even some staff who were not in marketing were also marketing the products, just to be recorded as outstanding staff. With this I learnt that no staff is dull, all they need is challenge. Most of them discovered new markets and we made good sales. Doing same thing everyday seem monotonous for them, we then allowed them to be innovative on their own and we discovered that everyone is creative all they need is a little challenge.”
Starting out initially as a social enterprise, Pad-Up Creations still incorporates this vision into its operation by providing jobs for people, especially women, creating businesses for product ambassadors who market our products, reducing the use of unhygienic materials to care for menstruation, hence decreasing infection among girls and women.
Olivia is not holding back on her journey to achieving her vision to be among the 5 world leading organizations manufacturing female sanitary wares in 5 years- Vision 5’ in 5’ as Padup Creations has plans to increase accessibility to people in different states in Nigeria, open a sales hub in all the states of the federation before the end of 2018. This comes with capital, but she believes it more visibility will increase the accessibility of our products.
Padup Creations can be reached through their website www.padupcreations.com; email address email@example.com. Social media, Facebook: https://facebook.com/PadUpCreations and on twitter: https://twitter.com/PadupCreations