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Paige Fashoni (FLUX Undies)

Paige Fashoni won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in May 2019 for her business, Flux Undies.
2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million pads are being used and disposed of every day in the UK alone1. Disposable sanitary items can take up to 500 years to decompose2, and with the average pad containing approximately four times as much plastic as one single-use carrier bag, a year’s worth of typical feminine hygiene products for one woman leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kg in CO2 equivalents3. Plastics from flushed disposables ultimately end up in our oceans, causing irreversible damage and devastating marine life: an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1,000,000 seabirds are killed by plastic pollution every year4. Flushed plastics make up around 8.5 percent of all litter on beaches in the UK, blocking drains and pipes, costing the UK an estimated £88 million a year5 - a price that is paid by the consumer, through increased water bills. 
 
Founded in 2017 and officially launched in 2018 by Paige Fashoni, London-based FLUX Undies is developing absorbent underwear for periods that can be washed and reused like normal underwear. One pair of underwear from FLUX Undies is designed to last for three years. It’s estimated that one pair of FLUX Undies replaces approximately 450 disposable products. Priced competitively between £24.95 and £28.95 per pair, FLUX Undies is tapping into the ever-growing feminine hygiene market, which is expected to exceed $42.7 billion in value by 20226
 
“There’s so little awareness of the waste associated with disposable feminine hygiene products,” said Paige, “and I just knew that there needed to be a better offering for women that would tackle the associated environmental issues - while also saving money - that would actually work and function well.”
 
FLUX Undies’ products feature a super-absorbent built-in panel which means they can be worn alone, without being supplemented by disposable hygiene products, for up to 12 hours, preventing leaks and stains. At the moment, there are five different styles on offer, with four of those styles able to hold the equivalent of four tampons’ worth (around 20 -25m liquid). Earlier this year, the products went on sale in Planet Organic stores; a big triumph for the business.
 
Drawing on her experiences with Shell LiveWIRE, Paige commented: “I had been following the programme every month for the past year. It’s absolutely incredible to now be recognised by Shell as an environmentally-focused business, with real sustainability goals. The funding from Shell is going to be crucial for marketing campaigns for our products, and to educate the market on the issue we’re dealing with here.”
 
Paige had always been drawn to entrepreneurship. “Even at the age of 14 or so, I would be lying in bed at night researching different entrepreneurs - Alan Sugar, Richard Branson - on how they had made their living through their own entrepreneurial pursuits. I’ve always been drawn to working for myself, but it was important to me that whatever I did, I would be making a positive difference.” When asked about the biggest challenges she faced in starting her own venture, Paige drew on the initial feeling of being overwhelmed by the processes and tick boxes that needed to be fulfilled before FLUX Undies could begin trading. “The first hurdle was getting people to really listen to what I was trying to do - and the second was to prove that there was a real demand for the product. Once the underwear was in production, I thought the hardest part was over: but I then faced a whole onslaught of issues that I never could have foreseen. My advice to anyone looking to delve into the world of entrepreneurship would be the importance of staying positive: you will always find a way of overcoming your current problem!”
 
You can follow Flux Undies on Twitter and Facebook.

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