Candy Androuakos

Leafline Washable Sanitary wear

What does your company do?

Leafline manufactures washable sanitary products made with the fibre taken from the leaf of the Cayenne pineapple. All our products are washable and safe to use, and long lasting, thereby making them cost effective and environmentally friendly. Leafline also trains and employs local people from the community as well as disabled adults to manufacture the products. All Leafline products are washable which makes them affordable to the lower income communities. Our products include washable sanitary towels, adult and children's diapers. The fibre we use in our products is stronger than cotton which makes them last longer and can be washed for up to 2 years before needing to be replaced, as in the sanitary towels. The natural fibre in our products also absorb odour and bacteria, thereby making the product safe to use.

What is your biggest success?

Leafline has had a few achievements and won first place with the SAB Foundation for disability in 2020 as well as first place in the GAP Green award in 2018 through the Innovation Hub, as well as many other awards for the products. However our greatest achievement as a company has been that we are able to provide work and training for our rural community and are now supplying 30 stores throughout the Eastern Cape and been asked to extend our production to supply 600 stores by the end of the year. This is amazing as SPAR is very strict about quality, and all the staff have worked so hard to provide a fantastic product of superior quality. These are adults who could not even sew when they applied for work, but have succeeded in obtaining the SPAR stamp of approval.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

My biggest hurdle to date is to be able to sell enough product to maintain all the staff. Daily, I have people knocking on the door and looking for work. We are now at a stage where I am able to employ all the staff I need to get the goods out. It is always difficult for a SME to keep the lights on, especially when there is a slow month and there are many many overheads to worry about. Another hurdle we face is to re-introduce an old idea into the world. This has become a necessity with the increase in population and with the increase in monthly costs for most households. I do believe we are finally beginning to make a difference in the community and in South Africa.