Vendy+ Co-Founder Dimitrina Pashova Discusses the Startup's Success and Mission
AUBG alumni and student-founded startup Vendy+ brings easy private access to sanitary products and hopes to revolutionize sexual health education in Bulgaria. Part of the AUBG Accelerator program, this summer the startup won first place at the Bulgaria Innovation Hackathon 2021. Read our interview with one of the founders, Dimitrina Pashova, to learn more about what they do and why it matters.
How did Vendy+ originate and what is its purpose?
Vendy+ was initially a social project. The key driver was the need for an easy and 24/7 way to buy sanitary products such as condoms, women`s pads and most importantly feeling unburdened by the person behind the counter. During the Elevate program, this social need obtained its business form and functionality. The main purpose of Vendy+ is to facilitate the process of purchasing sanitary products!
How will the consumers benefit from this vending machine?
The vending machine works 24/7 but most importantly there is no person behind the counter unlike the way it is in the local drugstore. Customers have the benefit of buying whatever they need without feeling pressured by people's looks and opinions. Everyone should have a free choice when it comes to taking care of their health.
What did the process of working on this idea look like? Can you walk us through some things you did to finalize the product?
A significant part of the process was picking the right products. Having this in mind, we decided to ask our future customers what they prefer in terms of brands, types of products, and price range through surveys and in-depth interviews. After the process was completed, we analyzed the results and decided on the product range and suitable prices.
What were some difficulties you faced in the process of creating Vendy+?
Three of the biggest challenges we encountered were connected to the products we sell, the location of the machine, and the laws in the country. It took us some time to explain the purpose of Vendy+ to Bulgarian society that has not yet realized the importance of proper sexual and health education. Another difficulty was choosing the location of the machine since it is important when having a physical business. Last but not least, the pharmaceutical field in Bulgaria is heavily regulated, so we had to quickly become familiar with the laws in the country.
How has your AUBG education helped you in establishing and operating the startup?
AUBG showed and taught us 21st-century merit such as responsibility and challenged us to be competent members of society. Probably the most valuable lesson we learned is to always be on the lookout for smarter, faster, and better solutions in all fields.
Is there anything you are currently working on or planning to do for advancing the startup?
We are trying to make Vendy+ become a more recognizable brand and we are putting efforts into having more machines. Since Vendy+ has a big social aspect, we talk freely about the importance of sexual and health education throughout our social media channels.