Ask any woman about a bra and you’ll likely hear complaints, whether it’s about fit, comfort, material, or whatever.
There’s also the issue of some dresses and tops that don’t look good with bra straps sticking out here and there, which can leave women scratching their heads over what to wear underneath.
Many people turn to different alternatives to solve their problems, one of which is adhesive silicone patches, also known as nipple covers.
One brand that offers these bra alternatives is NIUD, a local company founded in 2021. With a few viral videos to its name (with one reaching over 10 million views) , NIUD has become a recognizable nipple cover brand in Malaysia and beyond.
Peel off, here’s the story behind this brand of silicone patches.
Before launching the brand, the women behind the NIUD were longtime users of silicone patches. However, they struggle to find quality and affordable options in the market.
They get tired of the poor adhesive that only lasts a few uses, the thick silicone layer that can’t be more visible when wearing tight clothing, and the risk of the cap falling off due to sweat or water.
“We decided that if we couldn’t find something we liked on the market, why not make our own?” founder Carmen Liu shared.
At the time, Carmen was working in strategic consulting, Carmen decided to start NIUD in 2021. She attributes her confidence in starting the company to the support of her business friends. Teacher.
From validating the initial idea to developing the product as well as defining a marketing and branding strategy, Carmen was able to pitch ideas from these friends who would help “test” it. her ideas.
Today, she’s juggling the NIUD in a full-time role at an e-commerce aggregator in APAC.
Including the base
NIUD is a Malaysian brand, products are made in China by carefully selected partners.
Carmen shared that she is keen to work with local manufacturers, but finds that for certain components, foreign manufacturers can be more competitive in terms of product innovation and costs. . This helps NIUD bring consumers quality products at more affordable prices.
So how do these covers compare to the typical covers you can find online? Carmen believes several factors make the NIUD different.
First, it’s product design. Carmen says the NIUD’s nipple covers are ultra-thin with seamless edges, allowing them to go virtually unnoticed when wearing tight clothing.
“This is a huge relief for those who want to combine their nipple shields with tighter clothing but are concerned about possible signs of nipple shielding,” says Carmen.
The second thing that sets the NIUD apart is the product color range that is closer to skin tones. Carmen describes it as a “wide” range, which includes three colors – cream, caramel and cocoa.
Carmen chose the right shades for herself after testing samples with friends to find a tone that “fits Malaysian skin tones, from light shades to melatonin-friendly”.
While three may not seem like much, Carmen reports that the majority of customer feedback she’s received seems to be satisfied with the range so far.
To withstand the humidity and temperatures of Southeast Asia, the NIUD caps are also designed to be waterproof and sweatproof.
Additionally, the NIUD caps are reusable, making them more environmentally friendly than single-use pacifier caps.
“With proper care and storage, it can last up to three months,” says Carmen.
But proper care and maintenance can be difficult, especially since the adhesive material found on nipple pads can attract lint and dust.
To get around that, the NIUD caps come with a pretty reliable packaging. With a magnetic component and two holders that help the lid maintain its curvature, these durable and travel-friendly cases can help keep the case clean.
These factors as well as the packaging may justify the RM69 price tag for some. Given the fact that the caps are said to have a lifespan of around three months, the team believes that translates to a reasonable cost-per-use.
A quick google search shows that larger brands like Cotton On and SHEIN sell their products for RM39 and RM22 respectively, with the latter also coming in different shades.
It is important to note that NIUD is also not the first to offer seamless nipple patches, including these, especially overseas. Just look at the Singaporean brand Barebodies with the four shades included, even though it’s not shipping to Malaysia.
Such products are already available on platforms like Amazon and ASOS.
Get good spread type
Going viral on social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Just watch the viral content posted on the NIUD. A quick scroll through the reviews shows users (many of whom appear to be boys or men) using profanity to express confusion or contempt for the product.
Overall, however, Carmen says the brand has been lucky and has nurtured a supportive community.
For example, check out the NIUD’s best performing TikTok video reviews. The video begins with another person’s video where they shared that they had dropped their own nipple shield in a mall.
As a response, the NIUD jumped in to say how the original poster should use their product instead. As a result, many viewers praised the video for its clever way of leveraging the original video.
“Some of our social media posts went viral, which intrigued non-users, even though everyone was pretty civilized and willing to try new things,” says Carmen.
However, the algorithm doesn’t always agree, with platforms like TikTok sometimes flagging NIUD content as inappropriate.
“It can be frustrating at times, especially when the content is pretty platonic,” Carmen says. “We found some workarounds, for example censoring sensitive words that could get us flagged.”
Beyond that detail, though, viral content has worked well for the NIUD. In addition to helping to increase brand awareness, the videos even convert global viewers into Malaysian brand customers.
A suitable market
A major challenge facing Carmen is scaling and growing the NIUD.
“I had to rethink some of our existing processes,” she says. “Some of those include warehousing and fulfillment optimization, as well as platform scalability.”
To overcome these problems, the 27-year-old moved the NIUD to a new platform and outsourced its implementation.
Since Carmen brings up the scalability issue, I wonder if the niche nature of NIUD products should act as a limiting factor.
In addition to women-only products, nipple pads are generally not suitable for all women of all sizes or preferences.
However, Carmen believes that having a niche will enhance the brand’s potential rather than limit it.
“We can launch niche products, create content with a non-generic message that resonates with our community, and grow the brand together with our small community.”
While this curated content sometimes reaches unrelated audiences, especially with the Reels and TikToks the brand is creating, the global viewership is something NIUD is looking to capitalize on.
The team had previously handled international orders, but due to expensive last-mile delivery fees and logistical issues such as lost parcels and long delivery times, they stopped accepting orders. that order.
But with the continued interest of the international audience, NIUD is looking at offering products to global consumers.
- Learn more about the NIUD here.
- Read other articles we have written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured image credit: NIUD