Design, Innovation and Creative Engineering student wins Tata pitch competition

25 January 2024

Sarah Bailey receives the Tata Varsity Pitch award
Sarah Bailey receives the Tata Varsity Pitch award
The Even founding team
The Even founding team

A company founded by a Queen Mary Design, Innovation and Creative Engineering student has won NACUE's Tata Varsity Pitch Competition – a prestigious award which aims to support innovative, competitive and socially beneficial ideas and inventions.

Sarah Bailey’s start-up, Even, makes affordable period underwear for refugees. Designed to replace the disposable pads used in refugee aid packages, Even’s underwear offers a better alternative to the humanitarian sector’s current provision, which can be undignified, expensive and wasteful. The benefits of Even's product, compared to traditional pads, include cutting:

  • 80% of the cost
  • 75% of the waste
  • 92% of the warehousing volume.

Even have successfully brought the cost of period underwear, typically priced at £22 in the UK, down to just £4, by exclusively collaborating with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) garment manufacturers.

In a dramatic visualisation, Sarah and her co-founders used their three-minute pitch to dump 947 disposable pads onto the stage, representing the four years' worth of disposable pads that some refugees receive from humanitarian organisations. They showed the scale of expense and plastic waste that could be replaced by just three pairs of Even’s reusable period underwear, which Sarah presented from her pocket.

Speaking to Wired Magazine, Bailey said: “For our pitch, the goal was to make everybody feel the way we were making women feel. It was the first time we felt confident enough to go for a pitch with this level of theatricality and visible passion.”

The team beat 155 applicants to win the prize. “Winning the Tata Varsity Pitch 2023 is more than a wonderful opportunity and title, to us it means we are doing a much better job at communicating our mission,” Bailey reflected.

The prize includes £15,000 in funding and mentoring for the team. Initially, this will support Even's pilot project in Samos, Greece, giving 950 refugee women access to period products for four years. Every year that the camp uses Even’s period underwear, they are set to save €200,000 on disposable sanitary pads and waste management infrastructure.

From the summer of 2024, Even will also begin working with the UN to supply refugee camps around the world.

To support Even, you can join their mailing list.

Contact:Ayden Wilkes