About the founders.
Jacinta grew up in Feilding and completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University in 2016. She now works as a Business Development Manager at Invoxy and on Dignity as one of the co-founders. A passionate entrepreneur ready to embrace the future of work through skills in sales, entrepreneurship, event management, public speaking, and time management.
Her strong belief in female empowerment is shown with the founding of the social enterprise Dignity for working women and helping schools girls in need. An experienced Council Member with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry.
Miranda, born and raised in Christchurch, currently juggles Dignity and working full time as a social marketing consultant for Flinch Marketing. Miranda got into purposeful work due to her love for mixing creativity, business, and social good. Flinch is currently working with UNESCO on a global comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) advocacy campaign in developing countries. This campaign highlights the importance of healthy relationships, gender, sexual consent as well as de-stigmatising puberty and sex. Working on both Flinch and Dignity has allowed Miranda to gain an understanding of the importance of having an open cultural rhetoric on issues surrounding gender and puberty. As many other Wellington ladies, Miranda has developed an obsession with earrings of all shapes and sizes
The elevator pitch, an introduction to Dignity as a brand and product.
Dignity is a social enterprise that sells tampons and pads to business to support their female staff in the workplace whilst also giving the equivalent away to high school students who are lacking access. Jacinta (22) and Miranda (23) are directors of Dignity, with one casual employee. They are currently selling our product to Flick Electric, Xero, ANZ, and Cigna. They support 25 schools across Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch and plan to continue growing!
The startup story, how did you get started and what sparked the initial concept?
Miranda was still a student and Jacinta had just finished university when Dignity started. We both didn’t have anything to do over the summer so we joined the Victoria University Entrepreneurship Bootcamp
Going into the Bootcamp we knew we wanted to make sanitary items accessible to all females in New Zealand after seeing media coverage on period poverty (girls who were missing out education due to a lack of access to sanitary items). This was a hugely emotional issue for us and as young women with motivation, we felt we had the opportunity to do something.
So we researched what we could do! After initial testing we found out a few things:
1. Women felt a sense of unfairness that they had to pay $15,000 over their lifetime for sanitary items while men didn’t.
2. There is a growing trend for workplaces to invest in initiatives that support diversity and employee wellbeing.
3. Social enterprises, such as ‘eat my lunch’ were becoming successful.
So we decided to start Dignity. After selling to our first customers we found that feedback was really supportive and we were having a genuine impact on both women in the workplace and girls in school.
When did you kick things off?
We started the Bootcamp in November 2016 and have been trading for a year (May 2018).
What have been the standout learnings so far?
It’s ok to not know what you’re doing. No one does!
There are constant ups and downs when running a business, but the people you meet and the personal impact you have on the world is what keeps you going.
You both hold down full-time jobs whilst working on Dignity, what are some tips you’d pass on to startups in similar stages?
Use all the great software that is currently available to help balance everything and stay organised. As Jacinta works in the software industry she is constantly finding tech solutions for some problems that can arise when trying to juggle everything.
However, the most important thing is to make sure we are constantly communicating and looking out for each other. It’s an oldy but a goody. as It’s really important to not only stay on top of what is happening in the business but to communicate about how we are both going in all areas of our lives. Running a business has constant ups and downs and to make it through tough times in the business we need to take care of ourselves outside of it too.
What do you hope to get out of Collision Labs?
A place to meet and hang out with like-minded individuals that we can learn from and grow friendships with! We did our best work at the BizDojo during the Bootcamp and are so excited to be in the buzzing environment again! We’ve already gone to some of the events and want to participate as much as we can!
What’s on the horizon for Dignity?
Our vision is to get all business in New Zealand to supply tampons and pads to their staff. We hope to do this by onboarding 10 corporate customers and to be in 30 schools in the near future.
Anything you like to add?
Watch this space! Keep a sharp eye on our socials, exciting things are coming.