Patricia Kayanga is an innovator, eco-friendly entrepreneur, and founder of Ohhs disposable underwear. She recently became the first black woman to hold a U.S. patent for disposable underwear made out of bamboo.
Speaking on how it feels to make history as the first black person to own a patent for disposable underwear, she shared that it is focused on a market no one paid attention to.
“I went on the patent website to see what else was out there and couldn’t see anything comparable,” she told Rollingout. In this regard, she added that she was turned down by certain manufacturers in the United States when she reached out to inquire if they could make something for her.
“I finally found someone that said ‘yes.’ We use recycled fabric and bamboo to make it work, you know, in terms of what kind of product you envision, and the process can be challenging,” she noted. “It still doesn’t hit me. It seems like a foreign world I’m living in because all I jump[ed] to do is create something for all of us, not envisioning what else that could mean.”
For every pair of underwear sold, Kayanga donates a pair of eco-friendly underwear to local domestic violence shelters. According to Rollingstone, disposable underwear has a tissue-like material similar to baby wipes but dry. It has also become a favorite of people on vacation and for women on their period – it makes the month more comforting.
The product has come in handy for those in need of feminine products, according to Kayanga. Discussing the issue of people in domestic shelters, she notes that they are running away from a challenging situation, which is quality underwear, although it is sometimes available.
She noted that underwear happens to be the second most requested item in homeless shelters, and her product can serve that need with convenience. “Our goal, honestly, is to scale across the nation. You should have access to it, no matter the circumstances,” she told Rollingout.