Mia Klitsas likes to joke that she didn’t grow up planning to make the world a better place with tampons. For that matter, she didn’t even plan to start a tampon business.
Moxie was simply born out of one woman’s distaste for the corporate world, her annoyance with tampons constantly on the loose in her bag and lashings of gumption. And now her brand is making the world a better place for 6,300 girls in Uganda.
Klitsas’ entrepreneurial debut began in 2005 as a 22-year-old marketing major at RMIT who decided to actually act on her throwaway suggestion of packaging tampons in a tin.
“I didn’t create a need, the need was always there,” she told the League of Extraordinary Women’s August breakfast session at Third Wave cafe. “The tin was just a crazy, off-the-cuff light bulb moment that turned into something.”
Klitsas has come a long way from the early days of fashioning prototypes out of deodorant cans in her parents’ home. Today she has the satisfaction of walking past shelves of Moxie’s pretty, retro-styled tin cans in pharmacies and major retail stores in both Australia and abroad.
“I’ve always been attracted to shiny objects and I wanted my product to look that way,” Klitsas said. “But while working on the tin, I realised it could be quite masculine and manly in its raw form.”
“Girls like to have pretty things so why should this be any different. So I went for the feminine look hence the stripes and bows. Then it had a retro glam feel and therefore, needed a retro name.”
Klitsas initially chose the project’s codename, Millie, but found to her disappointment that it was already trademarked. Going back to the drawing board, she eventually landed on Moxie, a word she remembered actors like Humphrey Bogart and Carey Grant used to describe attractive women.
“I was like, hello!” she laughed. “Then I found out that moxie meant guts, determination, and spunk. That was exactly how I felt as a young entrepreneur who knew nothing but was determined to make it work.”
There is little doubt that Klitsas has spunk but what she also has is compassion, a firm belief in education and a fierce passion for women’s rights. Once Moxie’s flight path smoothened out she began exploring a growing need to find more meaning in business than just the profits. She asked herself which women most needed Moxie’s support and how could she make a difference?