Alexandra Friedman and Jordana Kier
Co-Founders, LOLA – New York, NY
Dartmouth College alums Alexandra and Jordana are changing up the feminine care industry with their new company, LOLA. LOLA aims to personalize and improve your monthly period by providing high quality tampons and customized packages straight to you. Interested to learn what it took to go from idea to product? Then keep reading to hear their advice.
On How To Get Started On Your Idea:
Alex: I think in this day and age so much is accessible on the internet. When we were starting out trying to understand the landscape of who even manufactures these products we went to Google, like all of our other searches. Also just being really resourceful and understanding who is in your network is important. You never know who could potentially introduce you to somebody that has the experience in product development behind similar products.
Jordana: Alex and I spent probably six months focused on networking. We made sure to ask questions and ask people for introductions to another person that we knew they knew. It’s all about absorbing as much information as we could because this was our first venture. This is the time to learn from others on what people did well, what people didn’t do well, and what they wish they had done.
On What To Look For In A Co-Founder:
Alex: First, make sure that you find someone who wants to be a long term partner. You could go into a project with someone and think you know them really well, but you have to think about it for the long term. We’re trying to build a company that will be our full careers and so that made us think, “Is this the person I want to see next week and then a year from next week and then five years from next week.” Then the second thing is “Can I find somebody who can fill the gaps in my skill set?” because you don’t want to find someone who is exactly like you and has done all the same things. For us the fact that I had been in consulting and then ad tech, and Jordana had been in a non-profit and music and was more creatively inclined, is what helped build this brand.
On The Best And Hardest Parts About Being An Entrepreneur:
Jordana: I would say being the decision maker is the best part, but also the hardest part because at the end of the day every decision feels very important to us. We’re a very small team and a small brand and we’re trying to build something huge. Having the luxury of being able to make all those decisions and drive the company forward is the most exciting piece. But we also have to live with the decisions we make which is an amazing thing but also is very hard sometimes.
Alex: I think the fun piece of this is that the highs are amazing and the lows are tough. But it’s also really important to have a team of believers that can learn from those experiences and understand if we did really well why did we do well, and if we didn’t do well why not? This is all very much a learning experience and the fun piece right now, especially in the early days, is that we can test a lot and we can understand kind of what resonates with our customers and how can we explore more and engage with them on a deeper level.
On How To Test Your Idea:
Alex: When we started we had an idea. We were able to show potential investors what our dreams were in terms of how the website would look, what the product would look like, but we didn’t actually have the product. A lot of the beginning was literally printing out the colors and rolling them up to show what the color could look like as a tampon. We were trying to be resourceful in every which way. Then when we went out to raise money last fall we made sure to get feedback from our friends, family, and potential investors first to help us really refine the business. After those conversations I think we had to realize that sometimes we weren’t going to hear what we wanted to hear, but that was only going to make a better brand.
Jordana: On the topic of testing just do as much as you can without capital. We were able to design the packaging, come up with the whole concept for the brand, determine purchasing, and how we wanted to interact with customers without any money. Basically everything existed in our heads and we were able to then bounce that off people and see what worked and what didn’t before we invested in anything. We found that the more crisp we were with our ideas, our pitch, and our vision the more we attracted resources. So the more tightly you have your story and your plan in place before you start spending money the better you are and the more attractive you’ll be.
What Would Tell Your High School Or College Self:
Alex: Start something earlier. We’re in our late 20’s, early 30’s and this has been the most exciting professional venture in either of our lives. So that gets you thinking why didn’t we do that earlier? We could have been spending years innovating and thinking through problems in our lives that we could be solving. My advice is if you have an idea go for it because an idea is really rare.
Jordana: I’d also say develop a network where you have mentors and people you can rely on for honest feedback. I think Alex and I have been very lucky to have cultivated a network of people who are very supportive, but who also provide tough love and not just saying “great job.” They’re actually giving us actionable feedback and that has been invaluable.
Want to experience LOLA for yourself? Head to www.mylola.com to visit the site and place your first order!
Photography by Guarionex Rodriguez, Jr.