If you’ve ridden the NYC subway in the past year and change, you’ve likely seen the ubiquitous millennial-pink advertisements for Thinx period underwear. The company was co-founded by Miki Agrawal and her business ventures — which are best known for marketing copy that reads like corporate feminism on MDMA — have only been growing since: Agrawal recently launched a tampon line, branded “organic AF,” and is attempting to disrupt bidets with Tushy, a toilet attachment.
Last week, Jezebel reported that Agrawal was out as CEO (Agrawal attempted to dispel the rumors by telling the Cut in an email that she was still the “SHE-EO”). Now an extensive new article from Racked doubles down on the claims that she’s no longer in charge and that the company is looking for a “professional CEO.” It also reveals Thinx as a reportedly unpleasant place to work — especially as a woman.
The Glassdoor reviews for Thinx had already been predominantly negative, with most of the criticism lobbed at Agrawal. Several people have left the company recently, and in that same email chain to the Cut, Agrawal explained, “When you have such hockey stick growth like we’d had, early personnel issues are common. I can’t think of a single start-up that doesn’t experience some level of turnover when there is so much change happening all the time.” Former employees, speaking anonymously to Racked, went more in depth:
“It honestly felt like a middle school environment: pitting people against each other, calling us petty children and [saying that we were] immature and that we’re all these millennials that don’t know anything — meanwhile we’re being paid easily $30,000 under industry standard salaries,” says one former employee. “It was truly like being in an abusive relationship. And I don’t use that analogy lightly … I don’t know if you’ve ever had the feeling when you walk into a place — whether it’s with your family or a job or a friendship circle — and you simply just don’t know how the other person is going to react. One day they could be in a super great mood and everything’s fine and dandy and you’re being praised left and right, or else you walk in and you’re treated like you’re dirt … That takes an emotional and physical toll on you. To wake up every day and not know how you’re going to be treated that day is really quite awful.”
Ironically, for a company that leverages the concept of women’s empowerment so overtly in their branding, some other complaints included employees being shut down during salary negotiations, the inability to afford birth control, and a paltry maternity-leave policy: only two weeks at full pay and a week at half pay.
Read the full story of the several allegations of Agrawal’s bizarre behavior — including claims that she forced employees to write positive Glassdoor reviews — over at Racked.
The Cut has reached out to Agrawal for comment on the most recent employee allegations and will update this post when we hear back.