This blog is written by Hanna Asheber, a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario. She spotlights Kiara Botha and Simone Godbout, two of the five co-founders of Marlow which aims to modernize menstrual products with the creation of a tampon and lubricant subscription service. Read on as they share their journeys as entrepreneurs.
“What we love about being entrepreneurs is the change in daily tasks and how we’re not stuck in one set role. Entrepreneurship allows you to tackle new challenges every day while also learning something new about yourself in the process. It’s also all about problem-solving, and the problem that we identified with Marlow really resonated with us and we saw it as an opportunity to make meaningful change”.
However, making change, especially in an industry that is often associated with taboo, undoubtedly has its difficulties. A challenge for Simone has been putting herself in a leadership position in rooms where she usually wouldn’t feel that way for example while pitching ideas to people twice her age and with a lot more experience. “But it’s important to understand where your strengths lie and to walk confidently into those spaces knowing that you’re the expert in regards to your topic”. She also added that a COVID challenge has been coordinating their team since they have members all across the country. “It’s been difficult not being in the same room together because there’s a different energy on zoom, especially when doing creative projects”. One of Kiara’s biggest challenges has been striking a balance between work and personal time, especially with the fact that she, along with the rest of her team, are all working from home. “It can be alienating at times, but it’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself as well as setting limits”.
When asked about Marlow’s goals, the co-founders made it clear that their mission and product is all about making people comfortable and knowledgeable about their bodies. “A part of the reason that we started Marlow was to create a safer and more comfortable place for people to learn about menstruation especially because that isn’t an option for so many. So through our blogs, we hope to create an educational platform with easily digestible, trusted and reliable information so that people feel more in control of the knowledge they have as well as learning more about their bodies. One of our proudest moments was during our crowdfunding campaign near our launch date where we were able to reach a larger audience and hear people’s personal stories. Seeing how our product was able to genuinely affect people’s lives was definitely fulfilling. We’ve also built a phenomenal team of volunteers and seeing them come together and champion the company and our mission has been amazing to see”.
For those who are interested in starting their own business, here are some words of advice from Kiara and Simone! Kiara would recommend finding a team of like-minded individuals “so that you can feed off each other’s passion and pick each other up when you’re having your lows”. From experience, Simone knows that there’s no time where you’ll ever feel ready to run a company. “I would say that you don’t have to dive in full force and that it’s just as beneficial to take smaller steps so that it stops being just an idea in your head and becomes a set of concrete steps towards your goals”.
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