Taran and Bunny
Taran and Bunny, co-founders of Ellebox, gave us an inside look at their subscription-based company. They’re passionate about empowering young women and providing quality, organic, and biodegradable products that are good for both our bodies and the planet. Read on to learn more about Taran and Bunny’s experience with Dragon’s Den, The Next Big Thing, and 500 Startup’s program!
Q: Tell us about your company, Ellebox.
A: Ellebox celebrates becoming and being a woman. We provide safe, sustainable products for women and girls who take themselves and their choices seriously. When you open the cupboard at that time of the month, we believe in reaching for products that support your strength and resilience. Intentional choices and safe ingredients!
Our first products are 100% organic cotton tampons and pads, shipped with surprise personal care gifts, to your doorstep monthly.
Q: What motivated you all to start Ellebox together?
A: The personal care market is dominated by big companies that aren’t required to disclose their ingredients.
When we learned about what ingredients go into the tampons we used every month, we knew there had to be a better option! When we couldn’t find a convenient option for organic personal care, we created Ellebox. We wanted to create a company women could trust and felt safe using.
Q: How did you get Ellebox off the ground and running in the early days?
A: In the early days, it was really hard, but so much fun. We were full time students. Taran started Ellebox in her final year of law school, and Bunny was studying accounting. We worked on the company in the evenings after school and fulfilled boxes out of our basement. We started by shipping cardboard boxes with stickers on them, but we were always meticulous about making sure they had amazing, exciting products with equally great ingredients.
Q: Why should consumers care about using organic tampons and pads?
A: What many people don’t know is that many mainstream pads and tampons include ingredients like bleach, rayon, pesticides and dioxin. We each use upwards of 10,000 pads and tampons in our lifetimes and our vaginal walls are incredibly absorbent.
These toxins can cause infections, irritation, etc. Why use questionable ingredients if you have the option of 100% organic cotton? It’s also biodegradable so it’s better for both our bodies and the planet.
Q: A few years ago you pitched Ellebox on Dragon’s Den. What was that experience like?
A: It was a lot of fun! We had just launched the company 3 months before we went on so it was definitely nerve wracking. We grew up watching Dragon’s Den with our dads so it was surreal being on the show and meeting the dragons.
Q: After that, you were a part of the 2016 cohort in The Next Big Thing’s non-profit program (founded by Meredith Powell and Ryan Holmes). What were your biggest takeaways from this program?
A: TNBT was amazing! The other entrepreneurs in the cohort was definitely one of the best parts, along with the fireside chats and inspirational entrepreneurs we met. It was a great feeling meeting so many people that helped us achieve our goals and grow Ellebox. We’re excited for their new initiative, League of Innovators for young entrepreneurs.
Q: Fast-forward, you recently graduated from 500 Startups’ seed program which is based out of San Francisco. How was the program?
A: We graduated from 500 startups in August! It was also an incredible experience. Being in the Valley and creating a founder network there was very powerful for our personal growth and for the growth of Ellebox. We found there to be a strong pay it forward mentality. Going through 500 taught us to look at our business in a new light and helped us create actionable plans for our pie in the sky goals. We’re incredibly thankful for the experience and the people we met.
Q: Tell us about your team. How many employees do you have so far?
A: Yes! The Ellebox team is growing. We have a rockstar team of 4 full time employees and a handful of people that work with us on a contract or project basis. We’re all done hiring for 2017, but we’ll definitely be growing more next year.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish in 2018?
A: We’re super excited for 2018. We can’t say exactly what but hint: expect a lot more videos of interviews with inspirational women!
Q: What have been some of your biggest challenges so far with building Ellebox?
A: Deciding what to say no to! There are endless opportunities and routes we can take but in 2018 we’ll be more focused than ever.
Q: What advice do you have for Wimmin in our community who are starting their own businesses?
A: Go for it! Even if you’re working full time, starting something in the evenings to begin with will give you the courage and confidence to build something from scratch, and that’s an amazing feeling. Reach out for help and support, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In our experience, so many entrepreneurs in both Vancouver and the Valley are open to advising, mentoring and helping. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Good luck. :)
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