3 min readBusiness 30 April 2019
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."
"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.