The savvy trio at Millie & More have successfully used design to fashion feminine hygiene products creating a high quality, premium brand in an inherently unfashionable category.
Mille and More’s products – Moxie Tampons and Scanty Panty Liners are beautifully packaged in stylish 1940’s retro-esque, 100% recycle and reusable crush proof tins and don’t scream ‘Look at me, I’m a box of tampons’ but instead have redefined this product category as a premium fashion assessory that truly satisfy style, comfort and love of all things girly and luxurious.
“I have always loved beautiful things for as long as I remember”, says 25-year-old Mia Klitsas, who worked in product development for a large multi-national before establishing Mille & More with co-founders Jeff Gore and Natalie Koenen a little over two years ago.
With a recently awarded marketing degree under her belt and no experience running a business, Mia and her business partners identified an opportunity to break the mould within the $250 million a year feminine hygiene market dominated by large multi-nationals.
With a passion for fashion and all things feminine, Millie and More’s first product, Moxie Tampons was launched in February 2006 into Australia and New Zealand Woolworths and Safeway stores and has since expanded into other retail outlets. Millie & More have extended the Moxie product range to include Moxie Scanty Panty Liners an ultra thin, everyday panty liner and Moxie Sleepovers, an overnight pad.
For the Past two years, Millie & More have been listed in BRW’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Start Up Companies and received a Silver Medal at the 2006 Packaging Awards for Moxie Tampons, in the ‘Beauty by Design Category’
“Quite frankly, I was sick of smuggling daggy packaged tampons to the bathroom. They are the ultimate female accessory, but existing brands were anything but”, says Mia, Director and Co-founder of Millie & More.
With marketing backgrounds and experience in design and new product development, Mia and her partners identified a niche in the already-well established market of feminine hygiene.
“I really felt that there was no feminine hygiene brand out there that provided products that were not only functionally beneficial, but also looked feminine, stylish and fashionable”, says Mia.
The solution was a range of feminine hygiene products that met functional needs of the consumer, whilst providing an excellent quality product that was packaged attractively and stylishly. The first product launched was Moxie Tampons, as Millie & More felt that this was an area that really needed some innovation. Existing offerings were packaged in flimsy cardboard boxes that tend to tear and break open in your handbag, causing the tampons to fall out and often become dirty and damaged. Not only that, but the graphics on these boxes were dated and gaudy.
Moxie tampons are packaged in recyclable, purse-worthy crush-proof tins, preventing the tampons from spilling into (or out of) your handbag. The design is simple and classically feminine, using candy stripes, lingerie style drawstrings and black bows. “It really is all about the finer details”, says Mia. The tampons themselves have a twist-open wrapper, which makes them easy and hygienic to open. The wrapper is biodegradable and printed with the trademark Moxie bow and drawstring. And perhaps more importantly, each Moxie Tampons variant is colour coded for quick and easy selection at the point of purchase. Moxie Minis are peach, Moxie Regulars are pink, and Moxie Supers are turquoise.
Since the launch of Moxie Tampons, the team has used the same insights and needs of the market to develop and launch an ultra-thin, everyday liner product, appropriately named ‘Moxie Scanty Panty Liners’ and also an overnight pad, ‘Moxie Sleepovers’. Through unique design, these two products also meet functional needs – the liners come in small tin compacts that can easily be carried in your handbag, and the Sleepovers come in a gorgeous recyclable boudoir box which aesthetics blend nicely on the bedroom or bathroom shelf (note: liners and pads currently on the market come in plastic packaging that can not be re-sealed once opening, nor is it very environmentally friendly). Essentially, the Moxie range looks like anything but feminine hygiene products!
The success of this project was greatly attributed to the fact that Moxie really was a truly unique offering in the marketplace. There have been products in the past that have taken different packaging approaches, but none have gone as far as Moxie. As far as Millie & More are aware, there has never been another product in the world packaged in recyclable tin.
“As a female and in my personal opinion, there has never been a feminine hygiene product available to the modern woman that feels like it has been designed with her needs and wants in mind”. Tampons and pads are generally a grudge purchase a not a category in which women traditionally like to shop. Many buy certain brands simply because they “have to” as there is little choice. Moxie’s aim was to give women that choice – Moxie is and looks completely different to anything else on the shelves. Its aim is to be the brand that women buy because they like it, not because they have to.
“The Moxie products you see on the shelf today really are a true reflection of exactly how we originally envisioned them to be”, says Mia. “We knew from the conceptualisation stage that the tampons had to come in tins – not only were they durable, compact and recyclable, but tin as a material really lends itself to a retro-style look, which is what we had in mind for the branding. We didn’t want to use graphics that were too loud or gaudy – it was more important for the graphics to be feminine, classic and almost timeless, so that the product wouldn’t ‘date’ quickly. Hence not only are the materials used unique to the market, but really functionally beneficial”.
Initially, many people said that Moxie was a gimmick and that “tampons in tins were a silly idea”, and that it would never last. Whilst still in its infancy, the brand continues to grow, as does their distribution and slowly, also their market share. It’s difficult to tell exactly, but Millie & More estimate that they hold approximately 5% of the tampon market in Australia.
More recently, “me too” products are beginning to be launched from their competitors, so although it’s a small brand, clearly Moxie has made some impact! As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Fortunately, Millie & More had the hindsight to trademark their unique round tin design, ensuring that it will stay that way. Furthermore, Millie & More report that their annual turnover is growing rapidly every year.