It's about damn time we told you how Here We Flo was founded and the BFFs that make this company the funny, feminist & sustainable powerhouse it is!
What motivated you to start FLO? And how do you stay motivated?
Tara: My bestie and co-founder, Susan, and I met at the London School of Economics. We were chatting in the uni toilets in between classes one day, as we often did, and were joking about starting a social-impact business together. We didn't come from business backgrounds - she worked for a non-profit and I was a musician - so we weren't totally serious. But suddenly I said, "Hey, what about organic tampons? They're not easy to find but I think they're really important."
Susan was like, 'Organic tampons? Why do you even need those?" We then had a long chat about the synthetic fibres, pesticide and harsh chemical residues and negative environmental impact of conventional period products. I actually ended up doing my dissertation at LSE on the medical, environmental and business case for organic menstrual products! Then there was the pre-launch year of late night calls and Pinterest rabbit holes to put together the brand, teaching ourselves design software, going shop to shop in my neighbourhood of Hackney with a product prototype to convince them to buy it, raising £14K on Kickstarter, launching in Planet Organic (our first big win!) and, two years later, launching in Boots.
We stayed motivated because we knew we needed to educate people about how beneficial it can be for your body and the planet to swap to organic, sustainable period care. Plus, we always pledged to donate 5% of all our profits to charities that support people + the planet, so we weren’t about to give up on that mission.
Were you ever told that you or FLO wouldn't be successful?
Susan: Yes, we’ve definitely faced our fair share of setbacks! Menstrual care brands have always been built around being ‘discrete’ and almost denying the fact that we bleed – when we started the brand, some found it radical that we were speaking so openly about periods.
We’ve had to cut through a lot of cultural shame and embarrassment around menstruating, and as a result we now have a dedicated fanbase of people who are proud to say their uteruses shed each month.
How did you become successful despite gender inequalities?
Susan: We really owe our success to the amazing relationships we've been able to build across so many areas of the business - from other female founders who taught us the ropes in setting up the infrastructure of our supply chain, to the amazing team at LSE Generate who have supported us from very beginning through the resources the program provides to encourage LSE students to pursue entrepreneurship. Lack of access is one of the biggest challenges of gender inequity, and through these relationships, we were able to get around many of the barriers we've faced as female founders of colour.
What are you most proud of to date?
Tara: At the end of 2021 we were delighted to have won the Sky Zero Footprint Fund, which recognises brands that are committed to driving positive behaviour change and tangible impact towards a more sustainable future.
We were tasked with making a 30 second ad-break, which we approached in our funny, challenging and memorable way. We were extremely proud to have been named the winner, securing £1 million worth of ad spend with Sky and with the wonderful help from Hatch we created this 👇
What struggles have you faced?
Susan: A common challenge for female founders, and we are no exception, if finding funding. Venture Capital is obsessed with tech, and it leaves the institutional funding environment for consumer products limited. We've been fortunate to have built a network of amazing angel investors that have supported us as we've grown.
We also have had to be very strategic in the way we've used our resources, but that has made us stronger as a team and as a business overall, and has allowed us to achieve as much as we have in such a short time.
Who do you turn to for support?
Tara: We’re fortunate to have the most amazing team of funny, intelligent women whom we lean on a lot. Food is an important perk at Here We Flo, so we love having lunches and dinners together when we can meet in person!
Head over to their IG @hereweflo to find out more!