Rolling Out

Patricia Kayanga is the 1st Black woman to own a US patent for this product

The disposable underwear brand is making an impact locally and globally

Patricia Kayanga, a millennial innovator, has created a product that led her to become the first African American woman to hold a U.S. patent for disposable underwear made using bamboo. Not only has she created a product that is good for the planet, but she also donates a pair of this eco-friendly underwear to local domestic violence shelters for every pair sold.

Ohhs disposable underwear is seamless and has a tissue-like material similar to baby wipes but dry. Many women use Ohhs as a backup while on vacation or for more comfort during that time of the month. The packaging is made of paper, unlike other feminine products wrapped in plastic.

How has the product helped those in need?

Some individuals only sometimes have access to feminine products. For example, people that are in domestic shelters are running away from a challenging situation. Many women need quality underwear, but it’s only sometimes available. Underwear is the second most requested item in homeless shelters. We have a product that can serve that need and is more convenient. Our goal, honestly, is to scale across the nation. You should have access to it, no matter the circumstances.
What would you like to see for the future of our ecosystem?
Being more conscientious. As we think about Earth Day, it’s not a one-day thing but an all-year something. It’s a conscious state of mind we must be aware of. We are so mindful of what we’re doing as people worldwide [of] we want to leave our future children, grandchildren, and later on.

How does it feel to make history by being the first Black woman to own a U.S. patent for disposable underwear?

I dreamt of something that I didn’t see anywhere on the market. I went on the patent website to see what else was out there and couldn’t see anything comparable. I reached out to certain manufacturers in the United States to see if they could make something for me, and all of them were like, “no.” 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. 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.

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