How Right here We Flo Broke Right into a Crowded Market

No founding story is full with out mentioning main turning factors for the enterprise. For the founders of Here We Flo, a type of “actually huge deal” moments got here in 2019 after they noticed their merchandise on the cabinets of a Boots retailer for the primary time in London.

As much as that time, co-founders Susan C. Allen and Tara Chandra had been largely working Right here We Flo as a aspect hustle. After elevating about £14,000 in a Kickstarter marketing campaign a pair years earlier, the ladies had been slowly constructing a buyer base by convincing native outlets and well being meals shops to hold their period-care merchandise. 

Right here We Flo is amongst quite a lot of period-care startups previously decade—together with Cora, Thinx and August—that use natural components or a extra frank advertising method. No matter distinctive spin these firms take, they’re all making an attempt to chip away on the three behemoths—Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Edgewell Private Care, which accounted for 78% of U.S. tampon gross sales in 2023, in response to Euromonitor International

Touchdown shelf area on the U.K.’s largest pharmacy chain—no small feat, by the best way—paved the best way for Allen and Chandra to construct out Right here We Flo and rent its first two workers. The deal additionally meant Boots customers may scoop up a substitute for the likes of Tampax, Playtex, Kotex, and o.b.: a vibrant pink, ice cream tub-shaped package deal stuffed with 100% natural cotton tampons. 

Playful packaging might assist appeal to the attention of some customers, whereas fine-print particulars are the promoting level for others. The corporate donates 5% of all profits to charity from gross sales of its vary of merchandise—tampons, pads, interval pants and condoms—which might be all organically-sourced and sustainably packaged. The founders wish to have enjoyable, even within the pursuit of those environmental and social commitments, however they’re additionally chasing a extra severe mission: To alter conversations about female well being and sexual wellness, stamping out any disgrace or stigma, so the subsequent technology has a unique expertise when encountering life’s messiest moments.

Right here We Circulation modified the age-old dialog

“We wish to make individuals chortle, then we wish to make them suppose after which hopefully that’ll kind of set them as much as have a dialog,” Allen says. “It’s having these conversations that’s actually going to alter the best way society views these items.”

Conversations have at all times been on the coronary heart of Right here We Flo. Throughout a break in-between lessons on the London College of Economics within the mid-2010s, the duo had been chatting about enterprise concepts—the place else however the lavatory—when inspiration struck. Whereas Allen wished to begin the feminist mafia—just like the PayPal mafia however higher, she says—Chandra had a extra tangible downside: The San Francisco native was having bother discovering natural tampons in London, a metropolis replete with different pure fare.

That’s not a problem for different girls. Final 12 months, Right here We Flo offered practically 2 million merchandise throughout its varied product traces: Flo (natural interval care), Glo (sustainable bladder care) and XO! (eco-friendly vegan condoms). You’ll find the merchandise seemingly in every single place, together with Amazon, Goal, Walmart, Entire Meals, Sprouts, Tesco and WHSmith, together with the loos of the BBC, WeWork and Netflix places of work.

Some key partnerships and accolades have helped the model develop lately. Right here We Flo not too long ago teamed up with Netflix on a co-branded line of period-proof underwear. Then in 2022, the corporate debuted a 30-second TV business—dubbed “No More Period Drama”—after it was named the Grand Prix winner of the inaugural Sky Zero Footprint Fund, which got here with a £1 million finances for promoting on the British broadcaster. In 2023, the corporate was named a Certified B Corporation® in recognition of its social and environmental affect. And this 12 months, its merchandise had been featured within the first-ever interval care show at Entire Meals.

Key partnerships—just like the one with Netflix—have given the corporate extra clout and model recognition, Allen notes. Armed with a “very tiny” finances, Allen has overseen a advertising technique outlined by a voice she describes as humorous, feminist and fierce. “That model voice has actually resonated with our buyer, who we lovingly name ‘the genzennial,’ in addition to their mother and father which might be purchasing for younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha.”

Whereas success has come by way of a mixture of exhausting work, luck and timing, social media has played an important role in growing the brand. Right here We Flo has constantly seen excessive engagement on social media—the place followers quantity about 40,000 throughout Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn—the place you’re as prone to see posts celebrating the corporate’s milestones as you will discover meme-worthy posts, shoutouts to trailblazing girls who encourage the minority-led crew and primers on extra severe matters like cervical most cancers. 

“I’m proud to say the whole lot that we’ve got completed has at all times been genuine, and we tried to maneuver as transparently as doable so I feel that our prospects and group are in a position to develop with us,” Allen says. Whereas the crew is making an attempt to alter the narrative—one pinned Instagram put up advocates individuals cease utilizing the phrases “hygiene” and “sanitary” in reference to menstrual care—in addition they hearken to conversations occurring on-line. 

These conversations have turn into “rather more uncooked, sincere and natural” previously decade, which has led to a notable shift in how firms market female care merchandise, notes Olivia Dreizen Howell, who based the advertising company March Lion Media in 2013. Social media storytelling has unleashed a complete new advertising methodology that pulls on vulnerability and honesty—and she or he’s completed the identical in constructing her divorce registry enterprise, Fresh Starts Registry, by sharing “uncooked and sincere” tales, together with about her divorce.

“Entrepreneurs shortly realized that one of the simplest ways to promote to girls was to realize their loyalty on social media,” Howell says. “As soon as shoppers felt seen and heard, they usually may relate to what the influencer or advert was saying, they discovered themselves extra prone to buy the product.”

Guaranteeing prospects really feel valued and heard because the model evolves

Ensuring that customers really feel seen and heard has additionally been a core worth at Right here We Flo. Feedback from prospects has allowed the corporate to be taught because it has grown, Allen says, they usually’ve even made some tweaks, together with altering the composition of combo packs, consequently. And you might even see Right here We Flo popping up within the feedback part to reply to destructive suggestions.

Moreover, some youthful prospects have been a driving drive in demanding transparency on its natural and sustainability commitments—or, as Allen places it, “verifying our integrity as a model.” 

For Right here We Flo, the founders are looking forward to new alternatives to develop. Some seven years into enterprise, it stays scrappy and lean—the present headcount is 12—and Allen says the corporate has constantly been “punching above its weight.”

With plans to lift cash from institutional traders quickly, Allen is wanting ahead to rising the crew—and her advertising finances. Nonetheless, Right here We Flo is making traction as a challenger model, notably within the U.Okay., and is on a quest to gobble up market share from its a lot bigger rivals. 

“My dream is to be in every single place company interval care is,” Allen says.

Photograph courtesy of Right here We Flo

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