Welcome to The Leap, where women and nonbinary entrepreneurs open up about what it took to get to where they are now. In 2018, women founders received just 2.2% of the $130 billion in venture money invested in the United States. Given these odds, it’s time to get real about what it’s really like to be a woman founder. From raising capital to imposter syndrome, we explore what it takes for women to enter the world of entrepreneurship.
Today, we chat with Rebecca Alvarez Story, founder and CEO of Bloomi, the leading marketplace for clean period, hygiene, and sex products.
So, what’s Bloomi all about?
Bloomi is a marketplace that focuses on clean intimate care products, hygiene, period products, and sexual health products. Everything in our marketplace is screened before we sell it on the marketplace to make sure it’s safe for intimate areas of the body.
Did you go to college? If so, what did you study?
I went to UC Berkeley I have a BA in women’s health and sexuality, which is a major that I created with a few professors. I also have a master’s in sexuality studies—so I’m a sexologist.
Where did you first get the idea for the Bloomi?
I have always been interested in intimate care products, whether that’s feminine washes or vibrators. I would work at different startups doing market research and developing the products with research and development. But for Bloomi, it was a combination of multiple things happening at the same time.
My mom got breast cancer and my aunt passed away from breast cancer within a two month time period. That made me want to shift our lifestyles to be as clean and simple as possible and get rid of toxic ingredients.
When did you *know* you wanted to leave your previous career path behind?
I was working a corporate job and felt undervalued; it was a very frustrating feeling for me. I decided I needed to do research in the space because I couldn’t find clean products, which spoke to me because I realized that if I couldn’t find them as someone who was well-versed in this space, other people probably couldn’t either.
I left my 9 to 5 and started consulting which gave me more time to work on a minimum viable product (MVP) and start what it was going to take to build the idea out. After six months of simplifying and downsizing, my husband and I were able to save. It was around that time that I realized I had something meaningful with Bloomi, so I made the leap. I definitely didn’t realize all the work that went into early stage, day one startups. I’d been part of startups before but usually with teams of 10 to 40 people. Starting a company from ground zero was kind of a shock to my system, but I was so passionate and it's a muscle that you develop as an entrepreneur—the figure it out muscle.