Axios Pro: Retail Deals

March 20, 2023

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Welcome back, Retail readers. Happy Monday.

📦 Situational awareness: Amazon to cut 9,000 more jobs, CEO Andy Jassy said in a memo to staff.

1 big thing: Pinkie raises $1M for adolescent period products

Pinkie, the New York-based maker of period pads for tweens and teens, raised a $1 million seed, founders Fiona Simmonds and Sana Clegg tell Richard.

Why it matters: The market for feminine hygiene, health and wellness products is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of mid- to high-single digits.

Details: Proceeds from the raise will be invested in marketing and product runs as Pinkie launches in 500 Target stores, the founders say.

  • Raising funds from male investors proved difficult — until the founders asked them to take the idea back to their wives and daughters for their opinion on market needs.
  • That's when the round began gaining more traction, to the point it was oversubscribed, the founders say.

What's next: Pinkie wants to launch a tampon product.

  • If it snags another national retail partner, Pinkie will look to raise a Series A, Simmonds and Clegg say.

How it works: Pinkie's pads are smaller in design to accommodate the bodies of adolescents, for whom adult-sized products are too large.

  • To date, CPG companies' answer has been to take an adult-sized pad and place it in a box marketed to tweens and teens — which doesn't solve the initial problem, the founders say.
  • Pinkie's pads are organic, plant-based and hypoallergenic, though there is a film made of plastic used for the back sheet to prevent liquid from leaking (the company hopes to develop an alternative).
  • Each pad comes with a slip-out baggie, which can hold the used product for easy disposal later on.

Of note: Though the founders began selling the brand via their website — and it is a top 50 seller on Amazon — they do not think of Pinkie as a DTC.

  • To test and then sell the products, the company made the pads available in private girls' schools.

The intrigue: Pinkie deposited its early seed money with Silicon Valley Bank not long before the bank collapsed.

  • In fact, the startup was going to announce its raise on March 10 — the day that the U.S. government took control of SVB.
  • Simmonds says she was at her daughter's birthday party when her husband alerted her to SVB's troubles, which triggered a panic-filled weekend.
  • Simmonds was ultimately able to access the cash and Pinkie began banking with Chase.

The bottom line: CPG incumbents will either have to "compete with us or come talk to us," Simmonds says.

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