The founders of a female-friendly, needs-based subscription service talk scale and money.

Between my clients, product design, the conference goers who seek me out after a presentation, introductory emails, high-level founders groups I’m associated with… the amount of businesses I hear about, see, or get pitched is astronomical. And from all of those businesses, over the past few decades, I can tell you the ones that will take off. I’m no fortune teller, I just know something about business that a lot of startups don’t always know… and it’s this: needs based businesses scale faster.

Point Blank, Period.

And, speaking of periods, the founders of Athena Club, a tampon subscription service that is taking off, sat down with me to talk about needs, scale, and money. Maria Markina & Allie Griswold felt the pain of periods for way too long. The pricing, the dreaded store trips, weren’t just an annoyance, they were a big problem for a lot of women, a need they set out to fill. After a $3.8 million seed round, they hit the ground running, and are seeing month over month expansion as women find out there is a better way to go to battle with mother nature. That monthly expansion is a one hundred average growth rate, month over month, with an expected one million dollars annual recurring revenue by December, with their launch just happening this past July.  If you aren’t seeing these kind of numbers, let’s talk about why.

The 3 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Scaling Up

  1. Your focus is wrong. A lot of potential founders will start out with something and say, “I love this, this is a great idea!” But the businesses that scale fast are the founders who say, “We need this, and others need this, and we want to bring this solution to the masses.” When it comes to want versus need, need always wins.
  2. You’re out of touch. It’s difficult to understand the needs of people, if you don’t know the people. When founders are afraid to get their hands dirty, they miss out on valuable insight. Digging in, rather than going the all-data route is the only way.
  3. You’re outdated. A lot of startups don’t do their market research, and they believe they have this unicorn of an idea, and when I tell them what they’ve created already exists, in a more modern form, it’s pretty devastating. If you believe you have a great solution to a big problem, do your research. If something already exists, that is iterations ahead of what you’ve created or want to create, play off of that. Consider it a way of seeing into the future of what you’ve created, to imagine what you could potentially create. In other words, based on what’s out there, and what you’ve created… how can you make it better, help it reach more people, modernize it?

Stale Markets Lookout

I love that we can do these profiles on women upending very stale markets. Especially markets that have historically been overcharged with the Pink Tax. I think the amount of traction Athena Club has made in a very short period (no pun intended) is just a sign of how big the need case an opportunity is.

Money Talks

The purchasing power of women in the U.S. ranges from five trillion dollars to fifteen trillion dollars. That’s nothing to sneeze at and female consumers want options that fit their lifestyle. If you’ve ever tried buying tampons in NYC, when it happens to also be raining, and your ride is running late, you commiserate with the millions of other women, who just want to get what they need without all the hassle, markups, and annoyances along the way. With services like Athena Club showing up mainstream, it won’t be long until we see those trillions funneling into businesses that meet the need where it stands, period.

Read the original INC article published on October 15, 2018.

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