CNBC Disruptor 50
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CNBC Disruptor 50

Thinx CEO says past controversy has helped set up the company for success

Key Points
  • Thinx CEO Maria Molland Selby wants to change the way women think about feminine hygiene products.
  • Selby took over the role after the previous CEO was accused of sexual harassment and stepped down.
  • She says the work she has done has set Thinx up for success because it can scale faster and more efficiently.
THINX CEO Maria Molland Selby on taking on Tampax

Thinx CEO Maria Molland Selby wants to change the way women think about feminine hygiene products.

The company, ranked No. 37 on CNBC's sixth annual Disruptor 50 list, makes a line of panties that look like regular underwear but can replace or reinforce traditional period products.

Meet the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies

However, Thinx was plagued by controversy last year when co-founder and then-CEO Miki Agrawal was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. She denies the charge but stepped down from the top spot.

Selby took over last July.

"The business had a really strong foundation and that's a testament to just a great product, a fantastic team and the huge market opportunity in front of us," Selby said in a "Power Lunch" interview.

"Since I've been there I've focused on taking a deep look at the systems, the processes, the team, the organizational design, and that is unusual for a company of our stage and size," she added. "That has actually set us up for success because we now can scale faster and more efficiently."

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The company was founded in 2011 and has underwear that ranges in price from $24 to $39 a pair.

Despite that price point, Selby is convinced women will want to ditch traditional products.

For one, there is an increasing interest in supporting the environment, she noted.

"Every one of our products is washable and reusable so it's good for the planet," Selby said.

Plus, there is a real focus on health and wellness. "People are increasingly concerned about what they put in their body," she added.

Selby also remains unconcerned about the big corporations she's disrupting, like Tampax-maker Procter & Gamble.

"Young people have been putting really old things in their bodies now for more than 80 years," she said. "There's been absolutely no innovation."

Her next big goal is to move beyond the internet. The company is now 100 percent online and she'd like to also go "offline" so that customers can touch and feel the product.

"It's really quite beautiful and it feels really good," she said of the company's product.

A look back at the CNBC Disruptor 50: 6 years, 167 companies