Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amanda Wilson, Founder of VOXAPOD, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
VOXAPOD is a benefit corporation and period wellness brand fighting the gender gap, reducing waste, and building more equitable communities. Our customers are individuals with active lifestyles looking for more healthy, convenient, and sustainable period care.
Tell us about yourself
I started VOXAPOD after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and struggling for decades with menstrual health issues – including irregular periods, hair loss, weight fluctuation, hormonal imbalance, fertility issues, anxiety, and depression – it impacted every part of my life, including my confidence. In my quest to heal my body and take back my life, VOXAPOD was created to support others on their own period wellness journey – so they can feel more powerful, healthy, and confident in their own bodies and everyday lives.
We're focusing our impact on those who can't afford or access safe period care and are denied opportunity, dignity, and basic human rights as a result. VOXAPOD is creating intersectional impact, including gender equity, health, education, social and economic development, and the environment – because all of these things impact our well-being.
There are 1.9 billion people menstruating globally, and, for the most part, we address that need with disposables—like pads and tampons. These products, however, cause dryness and irritation and, inconveniently, require changing every 2-3 hours to be safe. To make them look more 'clean,' they undergo bleaching and are known to contain chemical toxins connected to adverse health risks and environmental destruction. In the US alone, there are over 20 billion pads and tampons thrown into our landfills and waterways every year.
Meanwhile, in the US, some women are forced to choose between food and period products, while 40-60% of girls in developing countries won't attend or stay in school, in part because they lack access to period essentials––instead, they use mud, leaves or dirty rags, risking infection. No one should be denied an opportunity because of their biology.
VOXAPOD period products are reusable and non-toxic, so they can be used for years and worn for up to 12 hours at a time, keeping girls in school while eliminating the monthly cost burden of disposables and trillions of non-biodegradable waste. We believe the single most powerful way to combat poverty in the world is through the education of girls––they'll marry later, have fewer children, earn higher wages, have healthier families, and reinvest 90% of their earnings back into their locality. When we meet the menstrual needs of a girl, we not only give her a chance at education—we radically expand her ability to invest in the landscape of her community, both economically and socially.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our products are ethically sourced and sustainably made, and every purchase helps provide a safe period of care to those in need so they can stay in school, go to work, and live out their potential with confidence. We're creating intersectional impact with gender equity, health, education, social and economic development, and the environment – because all of these things impact our well-being. We are woman-owned, and over 70% of our supply chain and contractors are women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+. Last year we doubled our impact and added new partners serving at-risk youth, BIPOC, refugees, housing insecure, and sex-trafficked girls. Seeing our work directly impact the lives of others is by far our most proud moment!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There is always more compounding work to be done and constantly risk mitigating while pivoting priorities and tasks daily to ensure you're focused on the things that will allow the business to remain solvent and grow. We are a small team, and human capital is our scarcest resource, so we have to make sure to utilize it as efficiently as possible to grow, prevent burnout, and honor life outside of work. This is so much easier said than done!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Interview your best customers to understand who buys from you, what they want, and how to talk to them.
- Progress over perfection. It will never be perfect - if it is good enough and not creating liability, move forward.
- Don't just hire talented people; hire people whose talent intersects with their passion - they will do amazing work, inspire each other, and stick through tough times.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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