Carinne Chambers-Saini is Carinne is the CEO and Co-Founder of Diva International Inc., and our winner for The 2020 RevolutionHer™ Award of Excellence, naming her as Canada’s 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year!
Diva International is a company all about rebelling against the period status quo. Their signature product, The DivaCup, is a medical-grade silicone menstrual cup that is reusable and allows users to experience total period comfort. It can be worn for up to 12 hours, and saves users money. As a reusable product, it is also eco-friendly, and the product is made in Ontario, Canada.
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
My mother and I started Diva to bring a better, more comfortable period care option to the mass market. We knew that women’s health – especially menstrual health – had not been made a priority, leading to a lack of innovation in the industry. We changed that with the DivaCup in 2003. We wanted to create a revolutionary product that truly made people think differently about periods, which has been a topic shrouded in shame, stigma and taboo for so long. I believe we’re truly seeing that shift come to fruition – period poverty is in the news more than it ever has been before, and people are becoming brave enough to be vocal about their menstrual health and needs.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I always knew I would end up being one myself. I grew up with a culture of ideas and creative thinking, and my mom imparted the belief to me that if you see a need in the market, you’ve got to find a way to fill it yourself. We absolutely saw a gap in the market, a need for comfortable, reusable menstrual care, and that’s where the idea of the DivaCup was born.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part about owning my own business is that I am doing something I love and truly believe in. It has also given me the flexibility to be both a mom and a business woman. Even more so, we have created a platform to really make a difference in the world and that is what drives me and the example I want to set for my own children.
What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
The biggest influence on my entrepreneurial journey has been my parents as they have always been risk takers and entrepreneurs. I learned so much from them and even though they had failures, they never gave up. Working primarily with my mom for so many years, she always allowed me to make decisions and make mistakes. I learned that it’s okay to have set backs and it’s not the end. It is an opportunity to try something else and pick up and keep going. Our journey has had many ups and downs, but at the end of the day the resilience and tenacity I learned from my parents has been a major factor in the success of our business today!
What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I always believe that the values my mom and I lived by still exist today years later. We always believed integrity and honesty are a key to our success. We believed in treating others the way we would want to be treated, even if it wasn’t always reciprocated. Our commitment to our mission and the environment is why we pursued our B Corp certification, and this was such an easy decision as this aligns with our core values on the deepest level. We care deeply for our customers but also our Diva team. Without these incredible people we would not be where we are today.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I’m proud of our culture at Diva – we have an incredible team who are truly passionate about this product and how it can change people’s relationships with their period. It’s not always easy to find a team that’s as committed to your passion as you are and believes in what you’re doing. I’m also proud of how we’ve built this team up – since 2012, we’ve gone from 4 full-time employees to almost 40! This jump reflects how much Diva is growing as a company, and highlights our focus on scaling the business.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
We’ve just launched our exciting campaign, the Inner Revolution, along with beautiful new packaging, logos and branding! Right now, we’re focused on really establishing DivaCup as a global brand and a trustworthy voice in women’s menstrual care. We’re also building up our DivaCares program, our corporate social responsibility program that partners with organizations around the world working on ending period poverty.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Be persistent, and be consistent. Hard work can take a long time to pay off – it was eleven years of marketing the DivaCup before we secured our first mainstream distribution deal. Try to be patient even when you encounter setbacks or people who don’t understand what you’re doing. The people who do understand your vision exist — you just have to surround yourself with them.