Jennifer and Gaby are a perfect fit. They met in Beijing when Jennifer helped Gaby with her restaurant's marketing efforts and they've been business partners full force ever since.
When you meet them, the first thing you notice other than their charming dynamic is their different accents. Jennifer's from Australia and Gaby from Brazil. They bring their wide range of international entrepreneurial experience to Tampon Tribe, a business idea that blossomed while they were watching a TV commercial for Dollar Shave Club. They thought the idea brilliant and wondered, 'Why not for feminine hygiene products?' It's clear they care to bring not only the convenience and reasonable price points to women looking for organic, high quality tampons, pads and panty liners, but they care that they create a healthy and sustainable community for women as well as a better environment for the future less of plastic waste from current female hygiene products.
Can you tell us your name and what you do at Tampon Tribe?
Jennifer: Hi, my name is Jennifer Eden and I'm one of the founders of Tampon Tribe. Officially, I'm the CEO of the company. We're a small company so we do a little bit of everything.
Gaby: Hi, I'm Gaby and I'm a cofounder of Tampon Tribe and I'm the COO so I handle the operations part of it. And we try to get as much done in a short period of time.
And how did you two meet?
Jennifer: That's an interesting story. Actually, I used to be a customer at Gaby's restaurant in Beijing, China. I started working for her company, helping out with marketing.
Gaby: She did the whole remodeling and rebranding. She helped a lot with the concept. As we grew, we had more than 5 restaurants there. We started developing branding, making it bigger and bigger. She did great and here we are. We became partners and we decided to be entrepreneurial also here in LA. Now it's Tampon Tribe and that's the exciting part. I'm pretty excited to be doing this because it goes with our philosophy, which is organic, sustainable and bringing convenience to people. That's what we're aiming for.
Jennifer: For me, I'd always been an entrepreneurial kid since I was a younger adult. But it was really great to team up with Gaby who had been doing restaurants and businesses for most of her life. So I think when we put our heads together, we're very different in personality, which is great. We have a lot of fun and are passionate about the business, but we're also serious because we'd been working in business for a long time, particularly in Beijing. Gabs worked in the UK and I'm from Australia. Gabby is from San Pablo, Brazil. So we bring a lot of different perspectives to business. As Gaby said, it's exciting to be working on a project that we know we can succeed in the business perspective but also something we're passionate about, in terms of women's health, convenience and the environment.
How did the idea come about?
Jennifer: To be honest, we came to LA and we were watching TV and we kept seeing Dollar Shave Club's ads. And we thought, 'Oh my God, This is so cool!' And it was so simple. It was such a simple concept and a simple way of doing business. It just resonated with the both of us.
It being an affordable product was one of the main reasons. There's access to people, not just the wealthy.
We started thinking from a business perspective about how we can put this model into something else. We just let it ruminate round and round. I was thinking about feminine hygiene and started researching. Thought it was a no brainer! We found out that there was very little movement in that market at that stage about a year ago. When we started doing research, Gabs started looking at organic products and we thought it was a bit too expensive. And thought we wouldn't be able to keep the affordability. But we found a great manufacturer to work with. It was very easy to talk to them and develop the products that we needed so that's when Tampon Tribe was born!
We tested this on a lot of people and people thought it was a great idea. Ours is very concept driven as well, so it's not just the product. It's the branding, imaging and the community feel. We still stand apart from our competitors with that aspect. We're the only company in this space that really speaks to women in a community approach. And men as well want to get involved and support women. So we keep going in that direction and we'll find success that we're looking for.
Tell us more about organic feminine hygiene.
Jennifer: Organic feminine hygiene products are very important. Organic tampons are basically made from 100% of GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton. To be certified in that way, everything has to be organic, from the soil to the plant to the production to the use of water all the way to the packaging. Our products are also ICEA certified which means it's sustainable. So you can't put any chemicals in the soil where the water runs off and you can't put any chlorine bleaches. It's 100% certified organic cotton. No perfume, no dyes, no toxins.
We also do have panty liners and pads. In market testing, people said they don't use tampons but they'd like organic pads, because your skin is an organ so you need to put organic products on your skin. We also have pads and panty liners that are made with 100% organic cotton only, and all of our products are designed to not leave any peeling on the body or inside the body.
Unfortunately, with non organic products, apart from the fact that they can be made from anything (no regulations in terms of ingredients, which is bizarre!), it's really important that you don't have anything coming off from the product. So all our products have a really fine interlaced cover over the tampons and pads so that fibers are not sticking to your body or left inside your body. We try to eliminate any chance of toxic shock. This can be caused by a number of things but one of the causes is when product sticks on or inside the body.
A really cool thing about our products as well is that we don't use any plastic! Our applicator is made out of cardboard and it's really comfortable and the wrapping is biodegradable starch, so there's no plastic at all. And the back of the pads and panty liners have recycled paper and bio polymer as glue.
So our entire product is good for you and good for the Earth which we really are passionate about. We're one of the only products on the market that doesn't use plastic. It's 2017! We shouldn't be using plastic!
If we can do our part to help the environment in that way, we're happy that our products are helping the environment and helping the body as much as possible.
Walk us through using Tampon Tribe.
You just go to tampontribe.com and click on the product that you like. Then you get to customize the products you want. You might want 5 regulars, 3 supers, etc.
We also have a new product called the Mashup. So with the mashup, you can customize tampons, panty liners and pads however you like. So rather than buying three different products, you mix them together. We try to make it as customizable as possible and that's resonating very well with the women. If you go to pre-sorted boxes, it doesn't fit to our purpose. Ours is a subscription service. So if you have too many, you can pause it and start again when you're ready to start up again.
It's really funny how we feel intimately connected to people. It's really cool because everyone's so different. Hardly anyone has the same conversation. It's also great we can solve someone's problem and meet that person's needs.
Can you tell us about your growth?
Jennifer: Since launch, we've seen nice steady growth of 22% organic growth month over month. We only wrapped up our Wefunder campaign recently so after that we went into this lockdown marketing mode, working out allocating the funds to maximize our returns. We just finished that testing period. We've also seen revenue up by about 36% over the last few months too. Now we get to implement everyone's investments and see what happens from there.
It's nice and challenging because we get to decide what's going to return the best and how we can reach our target market in the most efficient way.
Gaby: We have Gianna and Tracy helping with the buildup of the product and getting to the market and training the rest of the team about marketing. It's important to have a solid team to start with. We have a good foundation and a couple of interns that just graduated from high school. I rely on them so much to tap into the younger market, using Snapchat. Having young voices is really great. We're about to launch our ambassador program that we can't wait to do and we're working on that as well.
So last couple of months have been a combination of growth and planning. Because strategy without going overboard is important to long term success. So we want to make sure that the foundations are really strong.
What's been the biggest challenge?
Gaby: I think it's time, really. To grow together at the right speed and making the right decisions and going to the right directions. Getting it all together with a small team in a small amount of time.
Jennifer: Every day, we want 20 more hours more, which is great. We've had a lot of press interest too, which is good. But then the answering questions takes time. All of us work late into the evening. I don't see it as a bad thing. It's exciting.
Someone asked the other day, "What's work life balance?" This is life and work is part of life. And you're doing something you love so there's no need to balance it. It just becomes part of your every day.
The great thing about living in Southern California is that there are so many entrepreneurs or have side hustles. So they understand what you're doing. Same speed, same rhythm.
How can your 191 Wefunder investors help?
Gaby: Now we're very serious about what we have in hand and we try to make the right decisions to reach where we want to go with the market. It's a big part for us and started with our little money. Now we can count on the investments from our investors. It's going to enable us to grow. That's fantastic. Thank you so much. We're really grateful for it. We'll use it well. Don't worry!
Jennifer: I think in terms of how people can help is share the word, spread the message. We're in a growth phase so we put a lot on social media- Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The biggest help at the moment would be to jump on our social channels and share it to everybody you know. Where the shirts! They're coming. Tell people about it and that's how they can really help.
We've also sent emails to our investors to make suggestions. And everyone's been really helpful and that's amazing for us. People offered design services and marketing insights. Whenever you have something to offer, we're very open to that. We see this much as a collaborative effort. And that's what makes the company so fun and drives us to achieve highly. Whatever you can do, we're always open to it.
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