New E-Tailer The Bloomi Is Out To Protect Vulvas Everywhere From Potentially Unsafe Products
The Bloomi is based on the premise that women shouldn’t make compromises with their sexual health and vulvar hygiene.
Hitting the e-commerce scene as intimate care increasingly overlaps with the beauty industry, the new online store thoroughly evaluates merchandise before deeming it safe for vaginas and vulvas and, therefore, its selection. The Bloomi assessed 5,000 products and ultimately settled on 40 from 25 brands to launch with, including those from Healthy Hoo Hoo, Fur, Good Clean Love, Coconu, Sliquid Organics and Cleo by Damiva.
“The goal of the website is for women to shop here for everything they need for the vulva and vagina,” says Rebecca Story, a sexuality authority who founded The Bloomi with her husband Matt, a marketing executive with experience at Visa, Razorfish and Procter & Gamble. “I hope to be the go-to source for women’s intimate care shopping and also have great content to be a place for women to learn.”
Rebecca Story’s course to The Bloomi was prompted by her mother and aunt being dealt breast cancer diagnoses that caused her to examine the products in her midst. That examination extended to offerings geared toward women’s hygiene and sexual health, and to the assortment at The Bloomi, which is screened for vulvar allergens, endocrine-disrupting compounds and other possibly harmful chemicals. Story points out product screening is particularly important for vulvar skin that’s up to seven times more permeable than skin elsewhere on the body.
“A lot of ingredients in products on the market are not the healthiest for the vagina, and they are not designed for the vagina. You can tell what products are being designed by women’s health professionals and what products are out there because they’re just cool,” she says. “We want to develop a community for women where they can shop for products and don’t have to worry about whether they’re healthy.”
The Bloomi has developed specific screening criteria for different product categories. For instance, sex toys must be completely constructed from medical-grade silicone. Topical products for external vulva usage must register around 4.5 to 5 on the pH scale. “We are really holding brands accountable to make sure their products are developed for that area,” says Story. “We have a lab that we work with to test products, and we have found sometimes they don’t match what the brands are saying.”
The sexual health category is often muddled with obfuscating language because people aren’t comfortable talking about sex, genitals or women’s hygiene. Story is very conscious to describe products and categories on The Bloomi in a straightforward manner to avoid obfuscation. Products are currently broken into three categories – vulva hygiene, menstrual cycle and sexual wellness – although further categories are forthcoming.
“Every brand that works with us, we tell them the way we want to promote them on the website is to put them in one of our categories. When you click on the product, we label it the way the product labels it, but we want women to be guided by the type of product first,” explains Story. “Everything we are doing is to make things simple and call them what they are.”
The menstrual cycle category is leading in sales in the early goings at The Bloomi, but Story reveals visitors to The Bloomi explore sexual wellness products the longest. She notes The Bloomi would like to introduce prenatal, postnatal and motherhood-related products. The site could also widen its demographic reach by bringing in products aimed at menopausal women or girls going through menarche.
Matt Story reveals The Bloomi’s current demographic sweet spot is women aged 25 to 34. “She’s looking for products that won’t negatively impact her, but she might not have the time to do the research or be the so-called expert. She’s relying on a lot of sources of information or recommendations from friends. She’s going to the typical digital channels to get this information,” he says. “She values and puts a priority on her health. She’s active, and she’s taking care of herself in multiple ways, and this is an additional way to do that.”
The Bloomi is attempting to court customers by engaging influencers and pursuing cross promotions with brands that it carries. “We have seen it can be a benefit to feature them in our blog posts or, if they’re writing posts, for them to feature us in those posts,” says Story. “For instance, we worked with Cleo, and they wrote an article about the benefits of moisturizers, and we tapped into their content and distributed it through our channels as well.”
For information seekers, Rebecca Story is cultivating content on The Bloomi that cites journal articles to ensure its credibility. “The content is about anything women are experiencing that they might not be clear about – and that encompasses a lot,” she says. “The goal is to provide women with something they can read to enhance their sexual wellness whether it comes to their day-to-day sex lives or their hygiene practices. You will find content on a little bit of everything from masturbation as self-love to pelvic floor exercises.”
The Bloomi is busy fundraising to accelerate its growth, build its staff – Story is now the only full-time staff employee – expand its product range and secure warehouse space. “We would like to increase the number of products on the website, but we just need to have more bandwidth,” she says, adding, “We are working with investors to figure out the best way to share this with the most women possible.”