Bunny and Taran Ghatrora, ages 24 and 27, co-founded Blume, a Vancouver-based company that sells sustainable menstrual and other self-care products, such as deodorant and face wash. The company, which also offers “Self-care Sundays” and “Meditation Mondays” for customers on social media, also describes itself as “the brand that girls grow up with.”
The sisters were born and raised in Surrey, B.C., to parents who inspired their kids to get creative in their spare time. This upbringing in part inspired Bunny and Taran to start their own company.
They first founded Ellebox in 2016, which sold boxes of period and self-care products from third-party companies. In June, 2018, the co-founders pivoted to launch Blume, which includes their own branded products. Blume received $3.3-million in seed funding in February from a group of American and Canadian investors.
The Globe and Mail recently spoke with Bunny Ghatrora about the entrepreneurship journey so far.
What was your childhood like?
My dad worked two jobs for a very long time. We weren’t underprivileged, but material items were never really important to us growing up. We were happy to play outside all day and figure out our own games to entertain ourselves. I think that’s what drives entrepreneurs – figuring out what can we do with nothing. I studied accounting and my sister studied law. … We were always learning and interested in what other things we could do.
What drove you to launch Blume?
I had always had uncomfortable periods. I would miss school and work due to the debilitating pain. When I turned 21 I was diagnosed with the hormonal disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome. That’s the background of my personal experience in this space. There is a lot of taboo and stigma around periods, puberty and women’s health in general. We surveyed our audience and found that, out of 1,000 women, 60 per cent said their self-esteem dropped when they went through puberty. That can affect everything from how much girls pay attention in math class or participate in [physical-education] class. It can affect their career choices. That became a mission for us: to change that statistic and give women the resources they need to grow into their best selves.
What mistakes have you made to date in launching the business?
We make mistakes all of the time. Our goal is to not make the same mistake twice. One mistake we made is stretching ourselves too thin, especially earlier this year when we got the funding and a lot of other things were happening with the expansion. It’s something we try to be mindful of now. It comes down to self-care and making sure we take care of ourselves the same way we take care of our business.
How do you practice self-care?
When I’m feeling like I need a break I turn to yoga class, a walk on the seawall or a hike. Sometimes self-care is something as simple as saying ‘no’ to plans and putting on a face mask and watching Netflix. It’s just about listening to my body and what I need at that time.
What’s it like working with your sister?
There’s nobody else I would rather run a company with. Taran and I have different skill sets and bring different things to the company, which I think allows us to work well together. I’m more operations-focused and she’s more product marketing and branding-focused.
Do you have fights?
I think all siblings fight. … When we face a problem it isn’t about the way we do it, but what our end goal is. We ‘X-out’ ego. We have such trust for each other and read each other’s minds.
What do your parents think of your venture?
They’ve been incredible. We started the company with a few hundred dollars and without any kind of professional network, but we were privileged that our parents had our backs. They allowed us to live at home for the first couple of years while we started the company, which meant storing all of the products and boxes in part of the house.
What would you tell someone starting a company today?
Getting started is truly the hardest part. Once you do the homework and due diligence and get over that initial hump and say, ‘this is what I’m doing’ … it’s just about solving problems. There are so many resources available now that can help. However, nobody can help you solve the initial problem of getting started.
You spent eight months in Silicon Valley in 2017 with venture-capital firm 500 Startups. What was that experience like?
The biggest thing we gained was a network of not only entrepreneurs, but lifelong friends. We learn from each other and help each other out. We were some of the younger founders in our group. We were sponges and learned a lot. [Silicon Valley] is intense. It can be a bit of a bubble. People are engulfed in their startup and what they’re building. There’s also a huge culture of pay-it-forward in the Valley, at least in our experience.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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