( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Meet Two Best Friends on a Mission to Help the Planet and Change how People View Sexual Wellness Markets
ENSPIRE Contributor: Joei Chan
Tara Priya Chandra and Susan Allen, two best friends and the co-founders of Here We Flo, recently donated 10,000 period pads to charity last month. The two best friends met in 2015 while getting their master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and the idea of creating the brand in the university bathrooms popped into their minds. In 2016, Allen relocated to London to launch Here We Flo with Chandra, aiming to make personal care products that can make consumers feel confident about life’s messiest moments. Some products that Here We Flo sells include tampons, pads, condoms, and reusable period underwear, all of which are organic and vegan.
Along with being organic and vegan, the company strives to make each product good for the planet, free of dyes or chemicals, and 100% cotton. The pads that the company creates have saved an equivalent of 61 million plastic bags. Since the creation of the brand, the company has given back 5% of all profits to help the planet and supports charity partners like The Brigid Alliance. With all the work that Chandra and Allen are putting towards the brand to make it successful, the brand will continue to reshape its leadership in personal care in the future.
How did you get the idea to create Here We Flo?
In December 2013, My bestie and co-founder Tara and I were chatting in the bathrooms between classes at the London School of Economics where we were studying for our master’s in management. Feeling inspired by our business classes and my background in social justice and philanthropy, I asked Tara if she wanted to start a feminist mafia and she immediately agreed. She couldn’t find organic tampons easily, and I didn’t know what that was after explaining the health and sustainability benefits to me, and discussing how much better a product with aesthetic appeal and a strong brand, mission, and vision – the concept that would become Here We Flo was born.
Why was it important to you to create this product for women?
It was important for us to create this product because at the time, the market was dominated by corporate brands that weren’t transparent about their ingredients and the effects they were having on our bodies and the planet. Here We Flo is on a mission to challenge shame and disrupt the period, bladder, and sexual wellness markets with products that use organic and vegan materials, including tampons, pads, reusable period underwear, and condoms. In addition, we want to make people feel crazy confident about life’s messiest moments, discussing menstruation, bladder leaks, and sex in a humorous, accessible, and empowering way. Our hope is that our products make you laugh, make you think and then make you feel brave enough to start a conversation about your own experiences.
Was it difficult starting up the brand? Were there any challenges that you faced?
Neither of us had started a business before, so there was a steep learning curve. Luckily, we found a community of entrepreneurs who were generous with their time and guidance. So much of creating a brand is having the courage to try and learn as you go. But it is also really important to recognize when it’s time to bring in expertise to continue to grow your business. Tara and I have really complementary skill sets, but we were also aware of the gaps in our collective knowledge. Our approach to recruitment has always been to hire for our weaknesses, and it has helped us build an incredibly strong and capable team.
Are there any challenges and setbacks you face now?
Many Black-owned businesses die in the period between seed funding and Series A, but there really hasn’t been a plan for significant support for this in-between stage. There also tends to be a significant focus on tech or other stem-related businesses, but many black entrepreneurs, black women especially tend to start consumer or service-related businesses that don’t fit traditional models of VC funding.
We have been scaling our business through a pandemic and now a pending recession. This has affected everything from available funding to customer and buyer behavior in the retail market. We’ve been able to navigate these challenges by having wonderful and wise advisors and being creative and agile in our problem-solving.
What are some of the successful experiences you experience that come out of creating the brand?
We often hear how our products have helped people find confidence in their periods again and let go of the stigma which was exactly what we wanted. We also lead an amazing team of 14 women, who are as compassionate as they are capable and ambitious. It feels great to work in an environment that is supportive and high achieving, and I’m proud to have created a business that is able to do both.
As well, since Here We Flo began we’ve donated 5% of profits to people + planet. To date, we’ve donated over 58,000-period pads to those in need and will continue to help fight period poverty through the amazing partners and organizations we team up with, like Bloody Good Period. We recently announced that Here We Flo is officially a B Corp-certified company which was a huge accomplishment for us!
Will any new products be coming out for the brand?
We are excited to be expanding our range with products that our customers have asked for, like longer liners and individual packs of our tampons to give them more options in choosing the products that best fit their flow.
Tara Priya Chandra and Susan Allen, the dynamic duo behind Here We Flo, have embarked on a mission to revolutionize the way people view sexual wellness markets and help the planet. Their friendship blossomed during their time at the London School of Economics, where they identified a need for organic and vegan personal care products that prioritize transparency, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. With their brand, Here We Flo, they have successfully crafted a line of products that not only empower individuals to feel confident during life’s messiest moments but also contribute to environmental preservation. Through their dedication and unwavering commitment, they have saved the equivalent of 61 million plastic bags by creating eco-friendly pads. Moreover, their philanthropic endeavors have resulted in the donation of 10,000-period pads to charity and ongoing support for organizations like The Brigid Alliance. As they continue to reshape leadership in the personal care industry, Chandra and Allen’s vision of promoting shame-free conversations and challenging the status quo will shape a brighter future for sexual wellness and beyond. With their ever-expanding product range and determination to meet customer needs, Here We Flo is poised to make an even greater impact, transforming the way individuals experience and embrace their bodies.