Taboo topics make for good business: Thinx, Tushy, Daybreaker | Miki and Radha Agrawal


Radha: Often people will write me an email,
like a young person will write me an email like, “Hey, can we get together for coffee?” And then I won’t respond just to see if
they’ll write me again. Because there’s something in that! Like I would write my mentors probably 20
times until I got a response. Miki Agrawal: I showed up, like a stalker. Radha Agrawal: Yeah. We find out like— this one guy I wanted
to get in touch with, I called his landline like 20 times, he wouldn’t pick up, and
then I found out where he was speaking in New York City and then I went there, and I
was just, like afterwards I was like, “Hey what’s up?” And he became the head researcher of one of
my big projects! And so I think the resilience and never giving
up, persistence is something that sports has taught us, and I think that we can all be
so sort of timid at times to continue reaching out again. Like my best friend Max, when I first started
hanging out with him he was 22 at the time and I was 32 – he’s our best friend. Okay. Sorry. Our best friend Max, he was 22 and we were
32, and we met him on a vacation and when he came back to New York he would just text
me all the time he would say “Hey want to hang out?” And I was like, “No I don’t want to hang
out with a 22 year old kid, no thanks.” But then he just kept texting me over and
over again and be like, “Hey I’m in the neighborhood!” Miki Agrawal: And just kept showing up—
first person at the party, last person to leave. Radha Agrawal: Yeah. And he would show up all the time. And then finally he came to one of our parties
and we realized how smart and thoughtful and interesting he was, and he’s now our best
friend. So I think that perseverance is something
that we aren’t often taught and it just—keep going up. And especially as women we’re so empathetic
that in some ways our empathy becomes our fuel for fear. Empathy becomes fuel for fear because when
we care so much about what someone else thinks it stops us from actually wanting to step
on anyone’s toes. “I don’t want to bother them again.” And if you just take on that attitude you’re
never going to get to where you want to go. Miki Agrawal: And the worst that happens is
rejection. Radha Agrawal: Yeah. Exactly. And so I think because, again, we had each
other, this is why I wrote a book called Belong. It’s all about finding your tribe and create
community. When you have a tribe that supports you and
that really makes you feel safe and gives you wings, you don’t feel weird reaching
out to people because you already have friends! You’re like, “Yeah I called this guy and
he didn’t respond, what are you going to do?” And then Miki would be like “Call him again!”
or “Call her again!” And so you have friends and community members
who are there to build you up when you’re sort of down. So I think step one in anything that you do
in life, like no matter what it is whether it’s a business, whether it’s just anything
sort of related to something that’s difficult, is to start first with finding your tribe,
finding your community, building your people. Because when you feel a sense of belonging,
when you feel that sense of “oh my God I’m safe I’m here,” that’s how Daybreaker
became a thing, that’s how it grew into a half-a-million-person movement around the
world that it is today in 23 cities. Because first I spent five years building
my tribe really developing and deepening my tribe, my community, who then when I launched
our very first Daybreaker that December 10th first snowfall in New York City in 2013, everybody
could have slept in, they could’ve been like “No I’m not going to that thing,”
but everyone showed up. We had 200 people who showed up to our very
first event because they were my friends and they cared about me, and I had nurtured those
relationships. And so that’s the first baseline layer to
anything that we do in life, is first put down your computer and go meet your friend
for that drink, go meet your friend for that dinner, because you just can’t even imagine
how in the moments that you meet them how much they’ll be there for you. And particularly, representing a business,
it is so deeply critical too to the have those friends they can be like “Oh I went to this
investor and they said no to me.” Instead of taking you into a downward spiral
your friends lift you back up again, so I can’t even say that enough, it’s the most
important thing that we can do, is to find your tribe and feel a sense of belonging. Miki Agrawal: At the time and nobody wanted
to talk about periods, not a single press wanted to talk about it. “America is not ready to talk about this
Miki,” that was what I got every single day in 2013/’14, et cetera, and it was really,
really, really hard. And so in 2015 we scaled the business enough
digitally that we wanted to launch our first out of home campaign, our first subway advertisements. And we were so excited: my team spent two
weeks sleeping under their desks designing these incredible campaigns, and we ran up
against an issue, which was the New York City public transit system officials basically
said that they could not publish our ads in the subway because of the word “period.” And they said people in the subway will be
offended by it, “it’s offensive to riders.” And we were like, “Interesting… you said
that. And Oh No You Didn’t!” And it was a powerful moment, that in the
rest of the world periods are so taboo, in Nepal women are still sleeping outside because
if they sleep inside their homes on their periods then “snakes will come eat their
dads,” literally, or the husbands. That’s literally still happening. And so the fact that in the most progressive
city in the world, New York City, we could not put the word “period” in the subways,
was really like “wow,” it really brought this sort of… Radha Agrawal: Why like grapefruits could
be put on your breasts, like there’s so many other sort of breast augmentation ads,
so many other sort of very sexual ads that could be on subways, but not periods. Miki Agrawal: Yeah. It was really crazy. So there was such a double standard even used
grapefruits to represent augmented breasts but you couldn’t use it to represent a woman’s
“part” that every single human is here because of, that important time of the month—not
man, not one man, not one woman could be here without that important nutrients to feed the
baby as we’re in utero. So the fact that it’s considered taboo is
crazy, and so we decided instead of just slinking away and put away this idea of doing New York
City subway campaign, we were like “Fuck it we’re going to go fight it.” And we put out – we basically sent an email
out to all press, which when we threatened the New York City public transit system we
were like “we’re going to go to press,” and they were like, “Go ahead.” And we were like “You called my bluff; I
don’t know any press. Shit.” And so I like found two contacts in press
that knew… Radha Agrawal: I’ll never forget this, Miki
and I were DJing that night, do you remember that? We were DJing a party that night some non-profit
party, whatever, and Miki was like, “Oh my god they wrote me back!” I’m like, “What do you mean?” She’s was like, “I put subject line: SCANDAL. NEW YORK CITY SCANDAL! and sent it to all
this press and media,” and one of them wrote her back. And I remember she was like on her phone we’re
like in the middle of a DJ set and she’s like, “Oh holy shit someone wrote us back.” Miki Agrawal: And it was so funny because
Forbes and Mic.com both wanted the exclusive. At the time I was like, “You both can have
the exclusive!” And they were like, “That’s not how it
works.” And I was like, what do you mean?! Like, no one is paying me money, so what are
you talking, “exclusive”? I didn’t even know, like I thought exclusive
meant they were paying money. So I got actually in trouble because I gave
them both the exclusive and eventually Forbes backed down and Mic.com took the story, and
it went viral—internationally. And I will never ever forget the moment where
it, like the way I think about it is when you’re in the subways like you see those
people like singing music and playing the guitar and like people are throwing like change
at them, I felt like we were singing our hearts out trying to build, you know, create this
product and I’ll never forget when I was like walking down Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg
after this story went viral, and I was walking down the street and I ran into this Indian
guy named Sham and his two like super trendy, cool, like, Indian nieces from India like
they’re both like—just fabulous. And Sham was like, “Oh Miki, tell my nieces
what you’re working on.” And I was like, “It’s this period proof
underwear company called Thinx.” And both of these women were like, “Wait
a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” And I was like, “What? What?” They both pulled out of their phones and literally
they were both on separate WhatsApp text threads with all of their girlfriends and they were
all talking about Thinx. And I remember that moment I was just like
I just remember like imprinting that moment, and just like—I like teared up and they’re
like “What’s going—?” and I was just like “Wow that’s great. Of course you know Thinx.” No I didn’t say that I would just, like,
“Wow you know it?” Like in my head I was trying to be cool but
actually what came out was not. Anyway, I was just so incredulous, and I like
will never forget that moment. It was like I felt like someone heard my song
and they were singing it and like they were singing along, and you’re just like – And
then from that moment we just took off.

50 Replies to “Taboo topics make for good business: Thinx, Tushy, Daybreaker | Miki and Radha Agrawal”

  1. Replace these women with men, and you'd have the biggest bigots on stage in the history of time… cause misandry good, mysoginy bad!

  2. I wish these two lovely ladies spoke on another channel. Big think's audience clearly don't appreciate seeing two women on their screen.

  3. I don't know who they are but it is a very encouraging story. It's truly ridiculous how many of the old world problems stick around for no reason at all. Way to stick to your values in the face of adversity.

  4. Every woman and man exists because a man injected his semen into that part of the woman. Uh oh, if I say it that way, is it sexist?

  5. OMG OMG! I just saw Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Tu'pac and Trump having a four way in the middle of a field with plastic sheets on the ground! OMFG!

  6. So step 1: Get FaceBook famous
    Step 2: Sell to friends

    And high empathy means doing nothing because you dont want to offend. K thx.

  7. PEOPLE. Why are we threatened by powerful, world changing, thought provoking women? What does that say about us?

  8. Just a waste of time. There are better woman examples instead of these two. Woman in Science and other places. This video does not belong on big think.
    Your followers are not your achievement, they are just a herd.

  9. I could just click away without a snarky comment. Fuck that. I looked up Daybreaker and Tushy. One is a party/rave generator, the other is a toilet accessory site. I thought "Think Big" featured important, thought-provoking material? These two have found a way to use new technology to do the same dumb shit we did a generation ago via telephone. Congrats.

  10. I watched but they never did explained why the lady in the middle is dressed from the 1890's or the matching gigantic hats. But mostly they never talked about tushies once

  11. Big Think is Jumping the Shark with this stupid shit! Smh!

    At 00:30 If a man did that to a woman. She would call the FBI and he'd be considered a stalker. 🙁

  12. I don't know any of these names or businesses.
    Nice talk, but it doesn't tell you ANYTHING about why taboo and business goes well together…..
    You should've picked a different title or uploaded the entire thing.

  13. The thing that irritates me particularly is the fact that these transit authority people didn't say "we don't want that," but rather "the people don't want that." I'm sick and tired of these authority figures telling the rest of us what we do and don't want. I would really like to see the results of this advertising. I'm guessing that 99% of commuters won't even notice the ad, or if they did, wouldn't care.

    It's just like when The Daily Show went with a hidden camera to Alabama and Mississippi, and nobody was homophobic, but the politicians were still anti-gay supposedly because of the general public.

  14. I wonder how many people who hit dislike actually watched the whole clip rather than just bailing out at the first mention of the word period

  15. Miki is a sexual harasser who abused/exploited her employees. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up. For those wondering about all of the dislikes I guarantee that her disgusting behavior as a former CEO likely has a lot to do with it.

  16. nothing in life is taboo or forbidden, there are only uptight humans w hangups, their opinions and disapproval is not an authority over anyone else at any time, ever, everyone is fair game, abolishing money will free all from oppression and leverage from each other, do as you please all your life just don’t harm or destroy each other or the planet, everything else is just irrelevant, your feelings or emotions about anything are not tools that can influence, control, punish or manipulate anyone bc anyone feels uncomfortable or disagrees with anyone else…your feelings are to be placated by anyone bc you’re upset,,, tough shit on you if you cant handle it

  17. New York City the most progressive city in the world? Hahaha, you're funny Americans. You always think you're "most" something while you know nothing about rest of the world. Visit Amsterdam one day. And stop talking BS.

  18. If you choose to ignore someone's first message just because it's fun or it's a game then you can't be my friend, that is annoying

  19. Taboo which is believed to make women avoid purchasing hygiene products is paradoxically making the same women to purchase more products.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *