Famram Solutions is a high impact business helping girls and women globally to enjoy life, restore dignity, whilst offering an affordable solution to health care, especially menstruation matters and women’s health.
LoA learned more about this high impact business with a social conscience.
What does your company do?
We specialize in outsourced marketing solutions and corporate social investments solutions.
"Having worked with communities for over a decade, I realized there was a dire need to research the menstrual cup as a sustainable solution for menstruation because girls in deep rural areas miss school for up to 5 days in a month."
What inspired you to start your company?
My companies, Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation, were conceptualized from the realization that the development of a better way of life for the less fortunate in Africa is a step in the right direction for the betterment of our beautiful continent. I encourage funding and sponsorships for educational programmes, resources and products from government and corporates that decisively impact the quality of lives in rural communities.
Having worked with communities for over a decade, I realized there was a dire need to research the menstrual cup as a sustainable solution for menstruation because girls in deep rural areas miss school for up to 5 days in a month. I researched menstrual cups for about 2 years and since they have been around since the 1930s, I felt it was time to create my own brand and introduce it to the market. Early in 2016, I launched my own brand of the menstrual cup, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup. I named the product after my daughter, Daksha whom I used to call PrincessD from an early age. At first my focus was on rural and impoverished areas but after launching the product, I found that it’s an essential product for girls and women everywhere because it is cost-effective, eco-friendly and hygienic.
My responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the business in which we operate and that includes environment, social and economic with the focus of creating a better tomorrow. I live my life as a solution to humanity and I feel that it is my calling to give back, giving hope and future to the impoverished and disadvantaged communities globally. My purpose throughout each day of my life is to express my commitment to love and cherish those close to me, improve myself personally and professionally so that I can advance my career and business and to take on any challenges that come my way. My mission is to make an impact globally so that girls and women are equipped with a sustainable product during menstruation. My vision is, “To help girls and women globally to enjoy life, restore dignity and offer an affordable solution to health care, especially menstruation matters and women’s health.”
Why should anyone use your service or product?
My main focus area strongly lies in health, women, girls and menstruation matters. As menstrual cups have become very popular in the last 6-9 months, it’s become a competitive market. However, all menstrual cups are different. The PrincessD Menstrual Cup is eco-friendly, cost-effective, hygienic and is a sustainable solution. Furthermore, our sterilizer cup is unique and the only silicone version of its kind in Africa, which is microwaveable so we definitely have an added advantage.
"My vision is to help girls and women globally to enjoy life, restore dignity and offer an affordable solution to health care, especially menstruation matters and women’s health."
Tell us a little about your team
We have a dynamic team of hard-working individuals that are trained to mentor and facilitate sessions with girls and women on health and menstruation matters. We also have a team of volunteers as they see the need to be involved in something that is life-changing.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, and I matriculated from Woodlands Secondary School in Pieteramaritzburg. In 1998 my husband, who was a Detective Sergeant in the SAPS, passed on suddenly and I had the daunting task of being a single parent with the responsibility to bring up my two children alone. Having worked at a major manufacturing company, in 2002 I was offered a promotion and relocation which I opted for because I felt the change would do me good. I must add that I have never looked back ever since. I was employed in the Marketing and Communications industry for over two decades and acquired vast experience and knowledge in my field of expertise. I occupied senior management roles in various organizations and also represented these organizations at Board level. I therefore have vast experience in operational and strategic management, change management, brand management, events management, media relations, digital and online, ATL and BTL advertising and corporate social responsibility. My qualifications include: Public Relations Diploma (P.R.P) from the Pietermaritzburg Technical College (I was the first non-white to study at the college and it was quite a process getting approval for registration); Marketing Diploma from Unisa; BTech Marketing degree from Unisa; MBA from Unisa Business School (SBL); Management Development Programme (MDP) certificate from GIBS; Leadership Development Programme (LDP) certificate from the Standard Bank Global Leadership (GLC). I am a published author and my book, “Marketing tools and strategies” was published in July 2013 and is available on Amazon. Certificate through Unisa: Department of Psychology in 2015, in “Capacity Building’ focusing on rural areas.” – obtained distinctions; I am now busy with my PhD proposal.
I started the business using my own capital with absolutely no investors. I am proud to now say that Caster Semenya is an investor in “our” business and we have great growth strategies in place.
A lot of our advertising is done on social media platforms. We are active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Currently the PrincessD Menstrual Cup Facebook page has over 63 000 followers and this was achieved under 18 months. I have been lucky in the sense that most of the print advertising has been free of charge as people showcase my product. Currently the PrincessD Menstrual Cup is available in 50 pharmacies in South Africa, with retailers/resellers/NGO's in Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Uganda and the Philippines. We need to engage with corporates and government to invest in girls as health and hygiene should be a priority from their social investment budgets. A lot of corporates spend on education and we need to emphasize that our girls fall under the education sector and it’s important to keep them in school during menstruation. We urge government to address this important issue. Menstruation is not a choice and menstrual cups should be handed out to girls. Give a girl a PrincessD Menstrual Cup and she is sorted for up to 10 years. Invest in our leaders of tomorrow.
In 2016, I scooped four businesswoman nominations. In June that year I was a semi-finalist in the Emerging Entrepreneur Category of the South African Council for Business Women Competition. On 15 July, I was chosen as one of 50 women to receive a Woman of Worth (WOW) award. I was a finalist in the Margaret Hirsch Business Achiever of the Year Awards. I was a nominee in Women: The Real Architects of Society in a special category “The Unsung Heroine” Award. I have been nominated for the 2017 Business Woman of the Year in the Social Entrepreneurship Category, both in the Gauteng Region and the National. I was invited to present at the Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi, India from 8-13 May as a co-lead speaker as well as on two panels. My topics are "Write and tell your story - it is the best marketing tool", How to build a personal/business brand using social media" and "Menstruation Matters". The delegation includes 2000 women from 150 companies.
"We have a dynamic team of hard-working individuals that are trained to mentor and facilitate sessions with girls and women on health and menstruation matters."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Caster Semenya (double Olympic Gold 800m Champion) and I share the same vision and that is to make a global impact. Our mission is to make PrincessD accessible globally at affordable prices so that girls and women are equipped with a sustainable, cost-effective, hygienic and eco-friendly product during menstruation.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The organisation is growing at a rapid rate. Caster Semenya is a fully-fledged co-owner of Famram Solutions as well as a brand ambassador for the PrincessD Menstrual Cup. I am very excited as I believe that we share the same vision in making a societal difference to girls and women in all walks of life. This was a phenomenal acquisition as we are the only menstrual cup in the world that has a brand ambassador. She invested in the organization because she values my work ethic and leadership style. She followed me on social media and researched me for a few months before coming on board.
I am really hands-on in the business. I find that as CEO, I am often challenged both strategically and operationally as I am perfectionist and I prefer not to delegate most of the time. Perseverance has taken this business to another level. I am a hard-worker and do not give up easily when trying to achieve my goals. I am also a driven, dynamic and energetic person who continuously thinks out of the box and my purpose is to make a difference in peoples’ lives. So my day is never a 9-5 job, I work 24/7. Being recognised for my efforts with social change drives me to do more and reach greater heights. I continually empower and uplift people. I am a transformational leader as I strongly believe in change. In our lives we have to provide room for growth and development and that comes with changing and evolving with time. I continually provide a vision to guide change inspiration and motivation. I have a positive outlook in life and strive to off my best to motivate and inspire people. I launched a Facebook page called “Motivational Quotes by Shamila Ramjawan” in May 2016 and currently have over 22 000 followers. I have since written over 240 quotes. My goal is to publish it into a book in 2018.
"Take calculated risks and get rid of the fear of failure symptom because hard work eventually pays off."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
In order to grow one’s self, one needs to have patience because we deal with different calibres of people throughout our careers. Having said that, I remained positive throughout many negative situations and surfaced with great success. Women and girls are strong. We can overcome anything. Never give up. I believe that one must always tell one’s personal story and that’s what keeps us going. We all have fallen and jumped up again so pick yourself up and be proud to be a woman. Take calculated risks and get rid of the fear of failure symptom because hard work eventually pays off.
Businesswomen work ten times harder! They have to earn a salary and endure all the risks that go with owning their own businesses, whereas a normal employee has a fixed salary that they look forward to every month. Take calculated risks and get rid of the fear of failure symptom because hard work eventually pays off.
Encourage women to work through the moments of self-doubt. From my experience as both a budding and a successful entrepreneur, I would encourage and motivate women, using my life story as an example. It’s always important to tell your story and make people aware as to where you have come from. Show people that you are successful despite the odds, especially in my case, adversity. Encourage them by advising them of how I juggled between studies, home and work life. Advise them on how to balance these challenges, by prioritizing, budgeting and still enjoying life.
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Why LoA loves it….
At LoA we love those women entrepreneurs who see a challenge in society and set about building a business model that has the potential to find a solution, and in the process improve the lives of others. Shamila Ramjawan and her business partner Caster Semenya are now on a mission to help girls and women to fulfill their potential in life, and to have their dignity and health needs respected. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa