While a majority of men and women in many urban cities of India still consider the menstrual cycle a taboo, this man from Coimbatore changed the perspective of millions of women in rural India. Arunachalam Muruganantham, also know as PadMan, in an effort to impress his wife decided to produce sanitary napkins himself. Little did he know that a few years down the line, his whole world would be turned upside down, from almost getting a divorce to becoming the first man to wear a sanitary pad.
The initial idea seemed simple enough. Buy cotton, cut it in the size of a regular pad and wrap it using a thin layer of cotton. However, the feedback he received from his wife was devastating. His homemade pad was useless and she would rather continue using old rags. He did not stop there. He first enlisted his sisters to test his pads. When they refused, he visited a local medical school and asked the girls studying in those colleges. When they also eventually stopped helping, he created a makeshift uterus using a football bladder and goats blood to test the sanitary napkins himself.
When the neighbours started complaining about a foul smell and stained clothes, his wife left him and went to live with her mother. But, it was no longer about helping his wife anymore. Arunachalam was on a mission to produce low cost sanitary pads for all the girls and women in his country.
A school dropout from Coimbatore, Arunachalam challenged an age old taboo and changed a fiercely competitive industry with his cheap and affordable good quality sanitary napkins. After years of research, lots of sacrifices, a great deal of hard work and the willpower to succeed, he successfully created a low cost machine for the production of sanitary pads. His easy to use machines, priced at $ 950, created a revolution in India challenging the $ 500,000 imported machines. More than a decade later, his single product has helped employ more than 7000 women in rural India, selling 1,300 machines to 27 states in India and 6 countries.
However, the man behind the ‘Second White Revolution’ is still as humble as ever. Startup Stories had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Arunanchalam Muruganantham about his surreal journey. Speaking about his experiences and his journey, he says, “I feel grateful for what has happened so far it is what has made me what I’m today.” Despite changing the lives of over 3.5 million women in rural India, Arunachalam feels there’s still a long way to go. “Awareness is missing. But things do have changed compared to 2 decades before.. still a long way to go.” He further adds, “Menstrual hygiene is totally connected to a women’s health and lifestyle. Sanitary pad does play a role. We have over 80+% women not taking care of themselves. A lot of efforts needed to make them use hygienic practice.”
However, Arunachalam feels the Government can help boost this movement forward. “Tax has increased the price of pads. But still. Cost is one side of the coin. Government can make it tax free – the loss they might incur is not a loss at all as making pads affordable and accessible will make more women healthy – that is a greatest asset of the nation. Women strong – country strong.”
We could not agree with him more! India is a country that has seen some extremely powerful women in the leading roles. Nevertheless, like they say, there is strength in numbers and only when men and women work together, will this revolution be validated. It takes a lot of strength, courage and determination to take such a brave step forward. Startup Stories wishes Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham all the best for his dream of making all the women of India use sanitary napkins.
Conrad Hilton’s Lessons For A Successful Life
When Conrad Hilton passed away at the grand old age of 91 in 1979, he left behind him a legacy built over six decades. When he started his own business in the year 1919, little did he know that he was going to be known as the Best Innkeeper in the World. With more than 500 hotels spread across 6 continents in the world, Conrad proved that no matter how many lemons life throws at you, you can always make lemonade. From fighting in the First World War, to coming to terms with the loss of his father and family business at the same time, Conrad Hilton has taught us how to live the successful life by following these principles:
1. Find and own your talent
According to Conrad Hilton, everyone is good at one particular thing. He was good at making money and making things look better than they were. While he may not have had a successful stint at becoming a banker (his life long ambition,) he definitely had a fruitful career when it came to being a hotelier. His talent lay in identifying things which weren’t working and in turning them into gold. Despite facing challenges in terms of financing the deals, he realised his talent and made sure he used it to the best of his abilities! The lesson here? Find what you are good at and no matter what, you will always succeed.
2. No empty space is a waste
When Conrad bought the Mobley Hotel (his first ever hotel,) he realised a lot could be done to change the way the downtrodden place looked. A lesson he learnt from his father, Conrad realised that in order to create something beautiful, one had to look beyond what met the eye. The first hotel Hilton owned, fit around 40 rooms and when he had a sudden spurt of inspiration, he converted the dining room and fit in another 20 beds into the space. Talk about a stroke of genius! The lesson here? Always go with your gut.
3. Don’t be obsessed with the material world
Conrad’s family was never a wealthy one. He saw the first signs of wealth when his father sold a gold mine to the tune of $ 110,000 (now worth $ 3 million!) However, saving was not a part of their life formula. This taught him never to be obsessed with the material aspects of life. The lesson here? The more you learn to enjoy the finer moments of life, the more you start letting go and the more you truly start to live.
4. Never cling to the past
One of Conrad Hilton’s major obsession was to become a barrister. However, life had other plans for him. He kept pushing forward through all the adversities. No matter where life takes you, learn from the lessons of the past. Further, if Conrad’s father had kept mulling over how the family lost their fortune, they would have never really gone beyond the fact that they had to start from scratch all over again. The lesson here? Keep looking at how to get better and life will fall into place.
5. Always have an idol
One of the most important lessons Conrad learnt early on in life was to never look down on people. Only look down at people when you have to pick them up. Further, Conrad says to always learn from people, no matter what their position or what they do for a living. If Conrad hadn’t been the person he was, a bellboy wouldn’t have loaned him $ 300 when Conrad was going through a bad time! The lesson here? Everyone is an asset. Everyone has something to offer. Keep learning and growing.
6. Stop the worrying
Nothing good ever comes from worrying. According to Conrad, “Worrying has never solved anything yet. Prayer, thought, action – yes. Just worrying, no!” During the 1930s, when the Great Depression was happening, Conrad thought his business was going to sink. However, it was through sheer grit and determination that the man fought back and hit back hard! The lesson here? Everything happens for a reason. While you may blame the circumstances for your failures, don’t let them affect the rest of your life.
Conrad Hilton lived an inspiring life. Through all the ups and all the downs, the man became famous enough to build an entire industry. Today, the signature white swans on the beds, the mints on the pillows and the bellboys in crisp uniforms are all synonymous with the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. Leaving behind a legacy, Conrad Hilton proved, no matter what, you can do what you truly want.
Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read In 2019
The year is 2019 and if you are an growing entrepreneur, then certain books just have to be on your reading list. With competition being at an all time high this year, here are some books which will help you find the motivation to keep being the best version of yourself as an entrepreneur.
1. The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success by Kim Perell
Kim Perell, an extremely successful entrepreneur, creator and angel investor, believes, to become successful in life, one doesn’t need a high IQ, but needs to have the ability to differentiate between success and failure. Using this principle, Perell wrote the critically acclaimed book, The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success, outlining the 5 basic traits successful people have and how they use these traits to turn their dreams into reality.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Perhaps one of the most relevant books for entrepreneurs, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen talks about how to make the most of any situation at hand. A classic of sorts, this book also talks about how the beginning seeds of innovation are sown and how you can grow to the top from the grassroots. The Innovator’s Dilemma has to be on your reading list for this year!
3. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
Even leaders need guidance from time to time and if you feel stuck in a rut with no proper direction for the people in your company, then the EntreLeadership is the perfect book for you. With a step by step guide on how to help your business progress, while at the same time guiding people about how to lead better, EntreLeadership is every entrepreneur’s comfort book.
4. Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality In Business by Danny Meyer
Setting The Table by Danny Meyer is based on the simple theme of being able to serve your customers better if you know them better. While you may not be setting up restaurants like aspiring hoteliers or laying the tables like chefs at a five star, this book has everything entrepreneurs just starting out need to read. From talking about how to partner with like minded people to knowing where to look at for investments, Setting The Table is the one book which just has to be on your list.
5. Good to Great by Jim Collins
You have reached the heights of success with your already blooming business? That is a question Jim Collins answers in his book, Good To Great. Collins not only defines, but also identifies the reasons as to why some companies soar to unparalleled heights of success while others fail to take off despite putting in the required amount of work. Studying all the recent data about how different companies have performed over the years, Good To Great maps the journey of companies which moved from nothing to something.
If you’re looking at understanding what went wrong and need motivation on how to grow to the next level, then you absolutely have to read these books. Comment and let us know if you think we missed out on any other great books like these!
7 Books That Could Change Your Life
A book always opens up the doors to new possibilities and ideas. You just need to be open to new suggestions. The right books will make you invincible, by providing you with gems you can not find anywhere else. Here we have a list of books which will change your life, only if you let them.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is about preaching the message, we are all are inherently creative. Big Magic is a motivational and inspirational read, it makes the reader want to create something spectacular.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
“You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life.” This is the message this book conveys. If you are ever in a slump pick this up, it is a light and easy read, The Secret will leave you with a new energy and a new perspective on life.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg takes us on a journey with this book, he includes real life examples and success stories. Duhigg employs scientific discoveries to provide us with a logical explanation about why we do, what we do in life and how to change it.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
The author of this book Gary Vaynerchuk writes “Are you going to be part of the revolution? My hope is that Crushing It! will be the inspiration and strategy for you to understand how it’s not only possible, but practical to do the same.” It is a self help book for entrepreneurs to build their businesses.
Startupland:How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business By Mikkel Svane
Startup Land is a realistic account of how three guys dove into the startup industry. They documented their struggles and successes in this book. The story effortlessly conveys the message you just need to be you to succeed at your passion.
Four Thousand Days: My Journey from Prison to Business Success By Duane Jackson
An entertaining an inspiring story of a young man, who turned his life over after being arrested for possession of drugs. The author tells his story about building and selling his business and how he became a millionaire.
A New York Times bestseller, Rework, is a business book, that is unlike the rest. Rework does not give you the same old advice, it provides you with realistic, better, faster and easier ways to succeed in your business.
Have you read any of these books? If so let us know how you liked it in the comments below!
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