How I Built an Eco-Friendly
Subscription Box Business For Female Sanitary Care
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
I am Amelia Amin and I am the founder of a female brand called Endobox. We deliver an eco-friendly subscription box to women’s doorsteps to help them manage their monthly period naturally. Our products are jam-packed with essential oils and Cannabidiol (CBD), perfect for their anti-inflammatory and hormone-balancing, mood-lifting benefits. Endoboxes prides itself on being as eco-friendly as possible with all of our sanitary products and packaging being 100% biodegradable. Also, our products all vegan, organic and kind to the planet.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
Ever since I was a child, I have gagged on tablets and feared needles. It was only right that, as I grew older, I became intrigued with alternative medicine and natural methods of managing pain. I studied a Masters in Physiotherapy to better understand how the human body works. When it came to finding products that helped me manage my monthly cycle, I was unhappy with the current offering for both sanitary products and pain relief.
Along with all women, I have a lifetime’s experience of navigating supermarket shelves for skin and personal care products that suited me. As the world strives to become more eco-friendly, and customers demand better from companies in that regard, I continued to be horrified by the sea of colourful plastic products on offer, and the ease of which painkillers (not a natural alternative) are accessible to women.
To manage my period using these things, certainly never felt like the right decision. Endobox was born when I decided that something had to be done about this. I deserved better. When it comes to personal care, all women deserve better. Women deserve luxury, eco-friendly sanitary care products, and natural ways of managing PMS symptoms using organic oils, and CBD.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
I decided to create a monthly subscription box for women. It contains everything they need to manage their period and the associated PMS symptoms.
One of the first things I did was form a partnership with one of the UK’s leading eco-friendly sanitary care companies, Grace and Green. With this established, I could focus upon developing a line of natural products, oils and balms to help women soothe their pains.
Time and research were crucial at this stage to ascertain which essential oils had the most appropriate properties best suited to women and their needs. I also read extensively about CBD and learnt how effective it is as an anti-inflammatory. It was then that I was confident that the best formulas would involve both essential oils, and CBD.
Next, I searched for a company to produce my product line for me, all the while collecting market research about what products women want during their periods. After many discussions about ingredients and costings, we agreed and voila! – A fantastic partnership was born.
Who is your target market?
Our target market is women aged 18-50. Endobox is appealing to all women who have a monthly period, or painful PMS symptoms and are interested in naturally managing those symptoms.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Since our product line contains CBD, we faced a challenge in terms of marketing the business. Companies like Instagram and Facebook do not allow advertisement of hemp-derived products. In the future, we may offer the option of non-CBD containing products. This would make it far easier to market on these social media platforms.
Until now, we have relied upon less conventional approaches to marketing our business. For instance, through partaking in events in the wellness industry, and also the cannabis industry. I have also spoken on event panels about our company’s mission, and we have grown a loyal and passionate community of people interested in our business because of that. It is difficult, but we will continue to push our product because we believe it can help to change women’s lives.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We value our customers, and we treat them with the care and respect that they deserve. If a customer chooses to purchase from Endobox, we know they likely share in our core values, such as sustainability, transparency and sorority, and therefore they tend to be loyal to our company. Endobox customers are more than customers, they are part of a larger, growing, women’s community.
To show customers that we are continually striving to do our best for them, we involve them in any developments to our products. For example, we hosted an event this March, on International Women’s Day, where we allowed women to have a smell test four essential oil blends, and vote for their favourite. This is how we decided what blend of essential oils to use in our new product line. On our social media platforms, we share interesting, informative, and uplifting posts, to make women smile every day!
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Our company culture at Endobox is very unique. We are passionate about what we are striving to achieve, as we truly believe in the importance of our mission. With this said, we also cherish our wellbeing as equally important. To look after women, and bring them the best offering we can, we must also look after ourselves. Therefore our company culture is ambitious and progressive, but we all remain upbeat and unruffled!
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
If I knew then, what I knew now I would tell myself ‘don’t run before you can walk!’ Endobox is a very new concept. People are only recently warming to the idea of spending more money to purchase an ‘eco-friendly option’. Sadly, this remains the case for sanitary products. Therefore, ample patience is required on this business journey! The benefits of this, as we are now realising, is that we can afford to take more time to improve and perfect our product line.
As I touched on previously, our customers often align with our company values and philosophy, and therefore another important lesson that we have learnt is how very important it is to be true to our company values as every point in our business journey.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
My favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the ability to think outside of the box, and to continually create. Hearing feedback from customers who have benefited from using our subscription box products brings me great joy! I feel that being an entrepreneur means you are always kept on your toes and challenged, as there is always more and more that you can do! I value the unique position of being an entrepreneur and being able to live by the formula that If I work harder I will see the fruits of my labour as a result – it’s as simple as that!
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
One of my least favourite aspects of being an entrepreneur is that the business is wholly dependent upon you. This means that any laxity or hesitation on my part will have a fast and direct impact upon the business as a whole. As the person who pulls the strings to enable the business to progress and flourish, I am largely accountable for any shortcomings as well!
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
A good friend of mine recommended a book to me called The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It advocates a novel approach to running a startup – where constant innovation and product testing are of key importance.
In founding our Endobox subscription box, I utilised this approach extensively. Rather than spending a huge amount of time creating a broad product line, I began by producing a small product line of five products and quickly listed them for sale. I also gave out many freebies to gather views from typical customers. By using this feedback I was able to then quickly amend this product line according to customer’s preferences.
Ries’ advice for startups has been key to showing me how to continue to conduct my business quickly and efficiently. I must use my time effectively, whilst continually pivoting operations to best facilitate business growth.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
In 2-3 years I hope to see significant growth in our customer base, as this would demonstrate impressive customer retention and positive word-of-mouth marketing. Ultimately, this means that we have been providing a service to customers which they have seen to be worth their hard-earned money!
I see no end to the growth of Endobox as a business. We intend to expand our offering to those in the ‘teenage’ bracket, as well as those women who would fall into the peri-menopause and menopause category.