Rebecca Alvarez-Story Talks Ingredient Transparency with Intimacy Products

 
Bloomi on Republic

The first intimate-care marketplace that empowers womxn

Summary

The intimate care and sexual wellness marketplace can be intimidating, especially due to a lack of transparency behind ingredients in common products. Rebecca Alvarez-Story and her team at Bloomi set out to change that, and create a more welcoming, educational, sexual wellness environment. Bloomi, now raising funds on the Republic portal, is a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for all things sexual health. From period products to pregnancy-safe items, Bloomi makes shopping for womxn products easier than ever.

We sat down with Rebecca, a UC Berkeley-educated Sexologist and entrepreneur, to talk about what inspired her on this journey of creating a more inclusive and empowering marketplace, what brought her to equity crowdfunding, and more-

Note: This interview was conducted over email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.


Kingscrowd
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
Rebecca

 

Bloomi is the first multi-brand marketplace for clean sexual wellness and intimacy products.  We are revolutionizing the sexual wellness category by curating clean and modern products for womxn while also acting as an educational resource for all things intimacy. Adding to this innovation, Bloomi created the first “clean standard” in the industry which outlines and promotes ingredient transparency. 

Kingscrowd
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
Rebecca

As a consumer, I got tired of not being able to find clean intimate care products in one place, so I created what I needed and was looking for with Bloomi. 

When the beta site launched, I was blown away at our organic, overnight growth and knew we were onto something. It was not just me, but thousands of womxn who had been searching for a platform like Bloomi also.

Kingscrowd
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
Rebecca

People are often shocked to hear that I’m a Sexologist. I get a lot of questions about what that means. I am credentialed by top schools in sexology, including UC Berkeley in sexuality,  and have been lucky to work with hundreds of clients in this capacity. I understand what different consumers are looking for while also being able to anticipate trends in the space. 

Separately, I have extensive start-up experience at early-stage companies. My ideas have been adopted by incubators and I’ve experienced the “napkin idea” to acquisition story. Four of the five startups I worked with were acquired, so I’m ready to make this happen for Bloomi. I not only have the “start-up bug,” but want to build this company to be THE leader in intimate wellness.

Kingscrowd
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
Rebecca

There is such a lack of regulation currently in the sexual wellness space. One of my visions is to pioneer the move towards clean. Transparency is at the core of who we are, which is why we developed Bloomi’s Clean Standard. It is the first ingredient standard for intimate care products in the industry. 

I also hope for a space led by more diverse founders. We disclose our marketplace make up: we have 80% women-founded brands and 25% of our brands are led by women of color. My hope is that other companies will become transparent and we’ll see more people who look like me at the top of startups.

Kingscrowd
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
Rebecca

Julie and I are co-founders. She fell in love with the brand when she first heard about it at a fireside chat I was doing 2 years ago. From there, it was a natural fit with our skill sets and personalities. Julie is our CBDO and leads strategic partnerships. Elena is our Creative Designer and the magic behind the brand. 

We also work with some great consultants, advisors and investors who provide marketing, research & development and growth support.

Kingscrowd
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Rebecca

It’s funny because investors expect us to say yes to this. However, we are first movers in this space; we are the only multi-brand marketplace that focuses on intimacy and women’s wellness. We are Sexologist-led and we have a strict clean standard for intimate care products.

Kingscrowd
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
Rebecca

We have some incredible investors (FaB Ventures, Pipeline Angels, and other angel investors) who understand our vision, but the traditional VC route was exhausting. Despite having a star team, the vision, and the traction, being a Latinx founder in the sexual wellness industry isn’t easy to pitch – especially when the demographic of VC investors is 99% older white men. 

Republic was a natural next step for us. We wanted to open up investments to our family, friends, community, and customers. We’ve only been on the platform a short while and we’ve already raised 210% of our goal, which shows that companies like ours are needed and in-demand.

With the funds, we plan to build a more robust marketplace, expand online intimacy workshops (Bloomi Sessions), hire the core team, and launch more Bloomi branded products. We are excited to reach 2.3M in 2021 if investment goals are reached.

Kingscrowd
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
Rebecca

I’m not a “typical founder”… I’m in my mid 30’s, Latina, a mom of two and a wife. I’ve been made to feel like a statistic in many boardrooms but ultimately these attributes have also given me the ability to approach the category with a fresh set of eyes. My tenacity is unmatched and my ability to predict trends in this space is my superpower. 

Talking about sexual wellness and intimacy remains taboo in our culture, but as the wellness landscape continues to grow, consumers are starting to question products they are putting into their bodies but are lacking an educational resource or trusted third party platform that has options based on their needs and lifestyle. Bloomi fills this gap.

Kingscrowd
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
Rebecca

We are putting ourselves in a position to be a strong acquisition option for several large companies. We are building an authentic community, a unique marketplace, and best-selling Bloomi branded products. However, I also have dreams of walking to the NYSE and ringing the bell… all I know is that I am excited to see what the future holds for Bloomi!


We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Rebecca and her team take the company. Bloomi is currently raising on Republic via Crowd SAFE with a $6M valuation cap.


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About: Olivia Strobl

Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.

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