#SWAAYthenarrative

Sustainable Female Care Brand, Blume, Raises $3.3 Million to Make Puberty Easier for Gen Z

3 min read
Business

Transitioning into womanhood has not always been a comfortable experience. However, co-founders Taran and Bunny Ghatrora have successfully created a space for girls and women to celebrate womanhood

Earlier this month, their company, Blume, announced that they had raised $3.3 million in seed funding from Felicis Ventures, Victress Capital, Panache Ventures, and Eric Reis (author of The Lean Startup).

Taran Ghatrora recently sat down with SWAAY to talk about the fundraising journey and what the future now holds for Blume.

After noticing that current personal-care and menstrual products on the market were not catering to the needs of Gen Z consumers, the Ghatrora sisters founded Blume, a sustainable care brand that would provide girls and women with non-toxic period products, clean skincare and educational resources.

"We realized that [Gen Z] was underserved especially in the realm of the products they need when they go through puberty," said Taran Ghatrora. "We knew from experience that that's a really difficult time to go through. You get your period, and then you need to buy a training bra, deodorant, and you're also getting acne and need to buy skincare. That's what made us ask, 'Why is there no go-to brand?' And it's primarily a Gen Z problem because they're the ones currently going through puberty."

As the Ghatrora sisters' research and experiences supported their desire to fill this gap in the market, it was equally important for them to find investors who understood and believed in their mission, as well. "A lot of the investors we met were through introductions and through building relationships." said Ghatrora. "Some people we had known for years and have been mentoring or advising us." The entrepreneurial duo was well aware that not every investor would be the right fit for their company. "We filtered through what investors would matter to us and we didn't just look broadly, we were very targeted in who we would speak to and how they would help us elevate the business." Ghatrora stated.

In order for a mutually driven investment to be successful, Ghatrora also came to understand what it would take, on their end, to attract the right investors. Investors want to know that the company understands their audience and the market of the products they're selling. "We're customer centric. To really know our customers and create a product that they want meant the company was doing well, and in turn, that helped us attract investors." said Ghatrora. Blume was the perfect example of a business that understood their community and remained loyal to them.

Round leader Victoria Treyger, General Partner and Managing Director at Felicis Ventures, was particularly moved by Blume's unique outreach stating that, "How Blume taps into its loyal community to co-create new products is something incumbent CPG brands cannot do themselves." After coming to learn more about the company's mission and audience, Suzanne Norris, partner at Victress Capital, felt that there was a noticeable white space in the market for products aimed directly towards Gen Z consumers. "Blume is the only brand that is approaching the Gen Z consumers' needs in this cohesive way across both commerce, and content [...] We strongly support Blume's mission and we are honored to partner with their team."

When asked about their journey to fundraising, Ghatrora credited her investors for making the experience a little less tumultuous. "Fundraising is very hard. We're really fortunate and grateful to have awesome investors that understand our mission and are behind it 100%. I think a lot of the time, people overlook how important it is to spend time building relationships, not just with the goal of raising money, but to know if you are a good fit for each other," said Ghatrotra. "All money is not equal. You really have to resonate on a mission and raise at the right time." Despite only 2% of venture capital funds going towards women, Ghatrora expressed how happy she was that more funding is slowly but surely supporting women-run businesses.

As a woman and a minority founder, Ghatrora offered a piece of advice to her peers who are also embarking on the journey to fundraising. "My advice would be to go for it and don't let anything discourage you. Build relationships and remember that you have a brand that you're really passionate about and you're the expert at that. Don't be too swayed by mentor whiplash or too much advice. Stick to your guns and to the product and brand that you know best."

Now that Blume has successfully raised funding, customers must be wondering what's next for the female care brand. Ghatrora reassures, "There's so much to be done in this space. We're really excited to build up the community, build on the education, and in the future add additional products to help our customers. It's really just the beginning."

3 min read
Culture

Please Don't Forget to Say Thank You

"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.

"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.

"More grapes?"

I shook my head.

"Please?"

I stood there.

"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"

I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."

"Thank you, Momma!"

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children?

Many of us are busy training our young children on manners on the other side of the Zoom camera during this pandemic. Reminding them to say please, excuse me, I tried it and it's not my favorite, I am sorry, and thank you. And yet somehow simple manners continue to be undervalued and underappreciated in our workplaces. Because who has time to say thank you?

"Call me. This needs to be completed in the next hour."

"They didn't like the deck. Needs to be redone."

"When are you planning on sending the proposal?"

"Did you see the questions he asked? Where are the responses?"

"Needs to be done by Monday."

Let me take a look. I didn't see a please. No please. Let me re-read it again. Nope, no thank you either. Sure, I'll get to that right away. Oh yes, you're welcome.

Organizations are under enormous pressure in this pandemic. Therefore, leaders are under enormous pressure. Business models collapsing, budget cuts, layoffs, or scrapping plans… Companies are trying to pivot as quickly as possible—afraid of extinction. With employees and leaders everywhere teaching and parenting at home, taking care of elderly parents, or maybe even living alone with little social interaction, more and more of us are dealing with all forms of grief, including losing loved ones to COVID-19.

So we could argue we just don't have time to say thank you; we don't have time to express gratitude. There's too much happening in the world to be grateful for anything. We are all living day to day, the pendulum for us swinging between surviving and thriving. But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

If you don't think you have to say thank you; if you don't think they deserve a thank you (it's their job, it's what they get paid to do); or if you think, "Why should I say thank you, no one ever thanks me for anything?" It's time to remember that while we might be living through one of the worst recessions of our lifetimes, the market will turn again. Jobs will open up, and those who don't feel recognized or valued will be the first to go. Those who don't feel appreciated and respected will make the easy decision to work for leaders who show gratitude.

But if we don't have the time to be grateful now, to show gratitude and thanks as we live through one of the most cataclysmic events in recent human history, when will we ever be thankful?

Here's the question at hand: Do we have to retrain our leaders to say thank you like I am training my children? Remind them with flashcards? Bribe them with a cookie? Tell them how I proud I am of them when they say those two magical words?

Showing gratitude isn't that difficult. You can send a thoughtful email or a text, send a handwritten card, send something small as a gesture of thank you, or just tell them. Call them and tell them how thankful you are for them and for their contributions. Just say thank you.

A coworker recently mailed me a thank you card, saying how much she appreciated me. It was one of the nicest things anyone from work has sent me during this pandemic. It was another reminder for me of how much we underestimate the power of a thank you card.

Apparently, quarantine gratitude journals are all the rage right now. So it's great if you have a beautiful, leather-bound gratitude journal. You can write down all of the people and the things that you are thankful for in your life. Apparently, it helps you sleep better, helps you stay grounded, and makes you in general happier. Just don't forget to take a moment to stop writing in that journal, and to show thanks and gratitude to those you are working with every single day.