ElleBox is a Vancouver-based, online company that aims to supply customized products to women for their periods. It’s a subscription service, started by a trio from Surrey, BC, hoping to make every every lady look forward to menstruation. The brand also works to reduce the negative stigma about periods, with the ultimate goal being that no one is made to feel they should keep their mouths closed about that time of the month. Oh, ya know, Aunt Flo!
The company shipped their first boxes in September 2015 and officially launched in January. Already, ElleBox ships to all 10 Canadian provinces and two territories – without an extreme marketing plan or traditional advertising. ElleBox also ships to two American states!
Taran Ghatrora is the co-founder of ElleBox, law student and dedicated volunteer. We chatted with Taran about ElleBox, why there should not be a negative stigma surrounding periods and her path to becoming an entrepreneur.
On International Women’s Day 2016, we bring you this:
1. Where did the idea for ElleBoxCo come from?
I read an article about a former lawyer, who quit his job to ship bacon. That’s when I began daydreaming about the kind of monthly service I would want to subscribe to. That time of the month is something most women experience for 30+ years. Why not make it an occasion for self-care!
2. If I wanted to subscribe for a membership right now, what would my options be and how much would it cost?
We have four box options: Necessities which includes pads and tampons of your choice, with tea and chocolate. This option is available with Organic pads and tampons as well. The other two tiers are Comfort and Comfort Organic, which is all of the Necessities items plus two curated self – care items which change every month. They range from candles to face masks to essential oils, and we try to include all natural items that are made locally.
3. What do you think is ElleBox’s biggest selling feature?
The products included in our boxes are organic and chemical free. We mainly feature local businesses. We include self – care products to soothe the symptoms of PMS – essential oils to relax and unwind, beautiful hand – made sugar scrubs, activated charcoal soap and more.
The very best part is that the box arrives 3 – 5 days before your period – just in time to remind you that your cycle is starting and to ensure you have an arsenal of supplies at your disposal.
4. How do you hope ElleBox reduces the negative stigma surrounding menstrual cycles?
We definitely try to keep our brand lighthearted and find the humour in an otherwise unpleasant experience. We use comedy and relatability to help make people more comfortable with the idea of a monthly care package for their period. We created a video called Guys Read Period Tweets and recorded their reactions reading real tweets by women during shark week.
5. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey with ElleBox?
When customers email us and tell us how much they love their box and how it actually makes them look forward to their cycle. That, and honestly for me, working with small businesses and being able to help them grow alongside us has been very rewarding.
The entrepreneurial culture in Vancouver is amazing and we have some very life changing and authentic connections in the past year. I’m excited to be around creative people who love life, and to co – create amazing things.
6. How do your website and your social media presence impact your brand?
We are an online business, so the first impression our customers have for us is our social media. Creating engagement with a topic like ours is challenging, but using humour and relatability, we have gained a faithful audience.
7. When did you first realize you wanted to kickstart a career as an entrepreneur?
It wasn’t intentional as I have been a student for the past 6 years, but good or bad, the flow of ideas has never stopped. I can’t help but smile when I see a creative business running successfully; it’s something I’ve always been drawn to.
8. What was the scariest part about investing in a startup?
The high risk of failure. The stigma associated with our product. Venturing into the unknown; e – commerce is new to all three of us.
9. What was your first job? How has, or hasn’t, your first job helped you in your own business, today?
My first real job was as a bank teller when I was 16. It definitely opened my eyes to financial realities and I was exposed to many small businesses and entrepreneurs. Nothing beats customer service when it comes to connecting with people and understanding their needs!
10. What is a day in the life of Taran like?
On my best mornings, I start the day with a superfood smoothie, a coffee and a short morning yoga routine or cat stretch. On my worst mornings I hit snooze several times and am out of the house in 15 minutes flat. My morning routine is definitely a work in progress. I often fall into the trap of waking up and checking my phone, email and social media first thing in the morning, so I’m trying not to do that!
We have a team of three co – founders at ElleBox and we communicate constantly throughout the day, managing university, jobs and our start up in a perfect chaos.
I feel most grounded when I’m doing hot yoga every day but if I can’t get to yoga, kickboxing, the gym or a long run will do. As a law student, I spend endless hours reading at a desk, so daily exercise is necessary for me to stay sane!
Discipline has always felt rigid and limiting to me, but in a way, it really is the route to freedom. I think this quote applies – “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while,” and I really try to live by this.
11. What advice would you share with up and coming entrepreneurs?
Some of my favourite pieces of advice that I will cherish forever are from the book The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma: You will never be able to hit a target you cannot see – set goals. Physical, spiritual, financial, goals. Rise with the sun. Find out what you truly love doing and then direct all of your energy towards doing it.
I think digging deep and soul searching is important in your 20s, more so than a laundry list of accomplishments that leaves you unfulfilled. Pay attention to what you truly need. Travel. Daydream. Don’t forget to have a life! I also love this quote by Arianna Huffington, “Don’t just go out there and climb the ladder of success. Instead, redefine success because the world desperately needs it.”
12. Where is your favourite place to find inspiration? Why?
Music, books, art, podcasts and poetry. More importantly, I think that being surrounded by good people who support me and vice versa, makes all the difference. I truly believe that my friends and family are my biggest sources of inspiration and energy boosters! They make me want to be the best version of myself and I hope I can provide the same kind of inspiration and support to them as well.
13. What is your hope for the future of ElleBox?
For all three of us, giving back has always been extremely important. Through ElleBox, we hope to supply pads and tampons to food banks across the country, as they are the least donated item. We are launching a few new products for 2016 and we will also be interviewing women who inspire us and speak to the brand.
14. Do you see yourself at ElleBox forever? What’s next for you?
I haven’t really thought about that. I hope to live in the present moment and follow my creativity. Whenever I want to be sure that I am aligned with my goals I try to come back to this Robin Sharma quote “The quality of your life ultimately comes down to the quality of your contribution.”