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Jessica Bilmer

Elle Box | Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer
Vancouver

The gap in women’s health research – especially with respects to our reproductive systems and menstruation has long been a subject that has aroused Jessica's uncontrollable sense of curiosity. It was a Ted Talk by Alyson McGregor entitled “Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women” that inspired her to take that curiosity one step further. Now, she is deeply passionate about closing that gap through education and empowerment. Jessica, most recently featured on Dragon's Den, shares how she intends to make an impact.

 

What are your hyphens? 
Feminist - Adventurer- Health enthusiast - Life long learner.
What is your 9-5 title?
Co-founder, Chief Branding Officer (CBO)
What's the Elle Box all about? 
ElleBox is a subscription box service catered to your period. We deliver 100% organic feminine hygiene, in time for your time every time.
What inspired you to launch this subscription box?
 
When we first launched the business, it was purely based on convenience. We figured, if you could have a subscription box for razors, dog toys, and makeup, why wasn't there one for feminine hygiene - products women NEED every month. But after we got started we found out what main stream tampon and pad brands were made of, things like: wood pulp, synthetic fibers, pesticides, and chemical byproducts like chlorine, bleach and dioxin (a cancer causing chemical). When you think about it, that's insane. These are products that a majority of women on the planet are going to use for 30 - 40 years of their life, or put in another way, that's 10,000 tampons across your lifetime. Now, ElleBox is about championing products that are good for women and their reproductive health.
 
Why do I need to subscribe to the box right now? 
You need to subscribe to ElleBox right now because friends don't let friends use non-organic tampons. (PS. Get 15% of your first box by signing up to Ivory Bow's newsletter.)
What drives you?
The lack of research in women's health, and the stigmatization of our bodies.
What do you wish they had taught you in school that you learnt the hard way?
 
I feel like in school they teach you to conform to the rules and not to question authority, but business is all about pushing those boundaries. I wish school taught me to take more risks, and think outside of the box.
If you had 1 million dollars to begin your business what would you have done differently?
 
I'd use that money to spread our message faster and to more people. It really is mind blowing, but most women don't know what ingredients are in traditional pads and tampons. And when they find out, they're always horrified. Your vaginal lining is the most absorbent in the entire human body, with a direct link to your reproductive organs - trust me, you do not want those chemicals near or especially inside of you! 
 
Which woman has served as a role model and source of strength in your professional life?
 
My mom is my biggest role model and source of strength in my life. She's a small business owner. She came to Canada with no money, no job, and no education. She's the hardest working person I know and I couldn't be more proud of her.
 
What do women supporting women look like to you?
For my founders and I, we've been amazed by the already successful women in our lives extending their hand to lift us up next to them. We hope we can do the same for those in our lives.
Which is your best piece of advice to women entrepreneurs?
 
"You can't be, what you can't see", so reach out to the other women entrepreneurs around you, often you'll find they're more than willing to help.
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What are you most proud of to date?
 
My co-founders (Taran & Bunny) and I for taking the leap and just doing it. We've learnt and achieved so much in just 1 year.
 
What can we expect from you in the near future?
 
Big things! But right now we're really excited about the launch of our First Period Box. It's a gift a guardian can give the young woman in their life to ensure she has everything she needs before she starts menstruating. It comes with an education and empowerment guide about menstruation, and of course 100% organic feminine hygiene.
 

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