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Naama Bloom is the founder and chief executive of HelloFlo, a community devoted to promoting health and empowerment for women and girls. Alongside a blog focused on normalising the conversation around women’s bodies, the company offers a mix of monthly subscriptions and unique care packages to help women and girls through transitional times in their lives.
While not running HelloFlo, Naama is a frequent speaker on issues from digital marketing, being a woman in business and on how to talk to your 10-year old daughter. She has an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, where she specialised in marketing.
Q1. How did you come up with the idea for HelloFlo?
I kept finding myself getting my period at work, but I never had tampons with me. I wanted to create a service that delivered pads and tampons to my door a couple of days before my period so it would serve as a reminder as well as a constant supply.
After we released our first video, Camp Gyno, I realised that HelloFlo was so much more than a subscription service and that girls and women were looking for a place to get information that lacked judgment and wasn’t clinical. Two years in, I am much more focused on creating content for my community.
Q2. What has been your best business decision to date?
When I launched HelloFlo I got a lot of advice. One was to test all sorts of acquisition channels. I was self-funding so money was tight and I decided not to spend anything until the Camp Gyno video was done, because it was my “big bet”. The video ended up going viral and I was better able to manage it because I had [saved the cash].
Q3. Why did you choose to specialise in marketing on your MBA?
When I arrived at business school I had no idea what I wanted as my concentration, but once I understood how complex marketing was as a discipline I was really drawn to it.
The way I think about the marketing discipline is that it is about using data (analytics and anecdotal) to understand human behaviour and motivation. Then using that understanding to improve products and communication. It’s really powerful.
Q4. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?
Learn to write good prose. Written communication is a lost art.
Q5. What is your biggest lesson learnt?
Just because something is fair or just, does not mean it will happen. I have spent so many nights agonising over things in my career that didn’t seem fair. Those restless nights don’t actually get you anywhere — only action does. Rather than agonise, make a change.
Q6. What would you do if you were dean of a business school for the day?
I would require everyone to read the book Savage Inequalities. Business schools by definition attract people who are driven by wealth. I think it’s important for people with wealth to have some understanding of how they got there and what their responsibilities as humans are.
Q7. What advice would you give to women graduating this year from business school?
Don’t believe the mythology that women aren’t good to each other at work. Make friends with the women around yourself and support them. Shine Theory is real and it’s powerful.
Q8. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?
I have stopped caring that men aren’t going to like me for being outspoken. I just continue to do what I need and know that in the end, results are what matter.
Q9. What has been you best business trip?
I have forged a partnership with another start-up recently. The founder and I had to travel to Chicago for a couple of days, which was incredibly important for our working relationship because we saw how effective we were as a team and got to know one another on a personal level. There is now a lot of trust in the relationship, which I think is critical to our success.
Q10. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would have left my job at American Express after five years instead of after nine. It was a great place to work but at a certain point I stopped enjoying it.