I had the pleasure of interviewing the phenomenal Arion Long, the CEO, Founder & Majority Stakeholder of Femly, which is a a natural feminine care subscription company. Femly is a product of Black Girl Magic, as well as the brainchild of women dying to bring environmentally cautious health care to women. They ship monthly care packages for your menstrual cycle and their “Femly Boxes” include 100% Natural Cotton pads, tampons, snacks to curb cravings, body care and more. They include everything to make your monthly gift, an actual gift.
What inspired you to start a business that not only helps end the stigma against periods just by merely existing, but also does it in a healthy, enviromentally cautious way?
I started Femly after suffering from irregular periods and failing to find the products I needed when I needed them. I heard of companies that delivered beauty care monthly and thought that a monthly business model would be perfect for our monthly cycles. I later found out that I suffered from a cervical tumor, and after months of research, I settle on pursuing a healthier alternative to conventional toxin-filled products.
What was the creation of your small business like?
Creating this business was like a roller coaster of emotions. At 26, I was the only one of my friends who pursued the entrepreneurial route. Furthermore, I pitched my company on a shark-tank style show and gained $125,000 in funding for growth. I absolutely feel that I needed to experience health issues, the collapse of my savings account, and other trials in order to grow and become the best version of me so that I could help others.
Were there any roadblocks you faced while trying to start your business due to your race or gender?
The biggest roadblock I faced was not being taken seriously. People are always shocked when I tell them that I started all of this a little over a year ago, launched in September of 16′, and gained such a sizeable amount of funding in October of 16′. I truly feel that the world is my oyster and I’m proud that my investors saw my vision, thought it was tough to explain the nuances of a cycle that we don’t have the luxury of opting out of.
Why do you think it is important to support businesses owned by women of color and/or for women of color to start their own businesses?
It’s important to support businesses of color, and women of color because that it the only way that we can collectively succeed. I believe that minority-owned businesses serve communities that are in dire need of business owners who look like members of the community they conduct business in. In addition, women of color often lead and inspire those around them- especially because we are the largest growing demographic of business owners. There were so many women of color who I looked up to when I was a child without them, I wouldn’t be here today!
What does intersectionality and inclusivity mean to you personally and how has that translated to your products?
Intersectionality and Inclusivity are an ever-changing presence in both my personal and business successes. There are so many layers that can be discussed when speaking about the nuances that led to me here…especially because I am the result of an environment that is tarnished by systematic oppression, sexism, and prejudice.
Lastly, what is your advice to young girls that want to be small business owners but are afraid for some reason?
My advice to young girls can be summed up in one word “jump”. You are powerful and can accomplish anything you set your mind to. There will never be a better time than now, why not now?