Maybe you were unaware, but period underwear is a thing. Thinx was touted as having the ability to “absorb blood and kill germs,” qualities that appealed to enough people to support the company’s Kickstarter launch back in 2013. Things looked rosy for Thinx for years. Not so much anymore.
The company recently brought in new leadership to clean up its image. Maria Molland Selby took the leadership role on July 31, replacing former CEO Miki Agrawal, who left the company last spring.
Agrawal left a PR mess in her wake. The co-founder of Thinx was known for being brash and outspoken. Not uncommon for a startup CEO, and often a good quality … as long as your messaging doesn’t get hurled back in your face. Which is, reportedly, what happened at Thinx.
First Look Into Thinx
Trouble began when a former employee filed a sexual harassment complaint. This news was followed by a media investigation that turned up reports of “below standard wages, poor benefits” and “failing to practice the feminist ethos it preaches.”
Well, it’s one thing to be outspoken. That’s fine, but you better practice what you preach, especially these days. Instead, in the face of these allegations, Agrawal bolted, leaving Thinx leaderless and buffeted by a series of negative headlines.
Remaining Thinx leadership made the incoming CEO’s marching orders clear. Selby is to clean up the company’s reputation while also implementing human resources protocols more in line with what the company says it represents.
Fixing The Issues
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Selby says that process is already underway. Underpaid employees received a salary bump, and the employee handbook is being updated to better explain how to manage employee complaints and other workplace conflicts. As an added bonus, they are offering health coverage to most of their 35 employees.
And that’s not all. Thinx plans to bring in a human resources manager soon, specifically to oversee new protocols and improvements to existing programs. These are all real, definitive steps in the right direction. If they turn out to be lasting implementations, Selby will have done her new company a real positive service.
Agrawal, in turn, is currently not actively involved in Thinx in any way, though she is working on other business interests. She told the media, despite these issues, her “head remains high.” It may turn out that the separation was best for both parties. Thinx can rebuild on a firmer foundation, and Agrawal can find success in a different venue.