For those who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?
Hi! My name is Claire Coder and I am the 19-year-old founder and CEO of Aunt Flow. Aunt Flow is a buy-one, give-one subscription box for 100% cotton tampons and pads. When I am not working on Aunt Flow, I am doodling boobs, teaching cardio fitness classes, and watching Broad City.
Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea of Aunt Flow?
I was at a Columbus StartUp weekend November 2015, and all I could think about were my cramps. The period pains reminded me of how my mom would share with me that many of her clients (she is an art therapist) would come to group wearing multiple layers of clothing or plastic bags to stop the flow. I didn’t understand why women who are living at or below the poverty line had such a hard time getting tampons and pads until I started doing some research. Menstrual hygiene products aren’t covered by WIC or food stamps and many organizations do not have budget line items for the necessary items. I was tired of donating money/tampons, so at the StartUp weekend I pitched the idea to create a sustainable solution to the need. Thus Aunt Flow begun.
When building Aunt Flow, what difficulties did you encounter while creating it?
Starting a company is hard. Starting a company that only half the population can truly relate to is even harder. Starting a company surrounding something that no one wants to talk about is f*cking difficult.
You were able to create a successful kickstarter. Do you have any tips for people who are using that method to help in the creation of their business?
I built the Aunt Flow campaign on Crowdrise. Crowdrise only takes 5% of the raised amount, but Kickstarter and Indiegogo take upwards of 11% (and that is in addition to all the product you are giving away.) At the end of the day, these platforms are really great for marketing and pre-sales… Not to make money. I raised $25k over three months using Crowdrise, but it was a HAUL!
How’d you go about choosing which manufacturer to use to create your products?
Surprisingly, there are only 4-5 manufacturers for menstrual products, two of which offer the quality that I demanded. From there, it was just making deals and learning the slovenian language.
Do you have any goals that you want to accomplish in the next year or so?
Donate over 100,000 pieces… And be on Ellen.
For someone who wants to create a business from the group up, what advice would you give them?
If you are starting a business just to make money, stop now. You must build a business out of passion. Working for free gets old much later if you are working on your passion. (I have yet to pay myself!)