Circle + Bloom, founded in 2009 in New Jersey and Massachusetts, creates mind-body audio programs to help women with their health and well-being.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: After my own difficult infertility journey to build my family, my close friend started having fertility problems. I knew I could not sit by and see her go through what I had just been through and do nothing. I started to research and read. Exploring the connection between the mind and body, as well as the direct connection between stress and hormone balance and ultimately fertility, I was standing in my kitchen when the idea of creating a daily relaxation program that tracked to the monthly cycle came to me. Given the fact that our bodies are changing every day throughout the month, a physiological daily-guided visualization made complete sense to her. I have never turned back.
Ideal customer: A women who wants to feel empowered about her health and open to educating herself about the mind-body connection.
Measuring Success: Support and endorsements we have received from the medical profession and industry. The emails are so inspiring. We recently received an incredible email from a 42-year-old women who used our program for three months and is now in her fifth month of pregnancy.
Biggest Struggle: PATIENCE – I try to remind myself every day to take it one step at a time. A friend told me early on that I have the sculpture “David” in my mind – and I am using my chisel to break him free from the marble. It takes time, hard work and patience. It is still so hard when you believe in something so passionately and it becomes your world to see the progress slower than your over-the-top, ambitious goals.
Surprise!: How much fun I would have, but at the same time how much stress I would be adding to my life by starting a company.
Getting Sales: The majority of our sales have come through social networking, word-of-mouth and networking within the industry.
What I wish I would’ve known: That media and people experiencing infertility do not like to discuss it openly, making it a bit harder for people to share their experiences using our programs with others who might benefit.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Cash flow – pure and simple.
Ever tempted to just throw in the towel and get a job?: No. I started Circle + Bloom with my sister, Susan Cooke, and the thought of having to throw in the towel and just get a job tears our hearts apart. Unfortunately we both had very well-paying careers in the corporate world and husbands who are accustomed to our salaries. Both of us will make changes to our lifestyles and do whatever it takes to not throw in the towel, but there are more than the two of us holding the towel.
Moving forward: Two new programs focusing on woman’s sexual health. We think this is a stepping stone to broadening our focus on other critical woman’s health issues beyond infertility.
Pricing: We still struggle with this and are considering focus groups to test our pricing.
Funding: We were very fortunate that my sister had a great relationship with her old corporate boss and funding was not an issue to get the company started. We are now in an evaluation phase to determine what is best for the business, get more funding and get more aggressive on expansion – or continue the course of conserving cash as much as possible.
A few good tips: Take care of yourself – you cannot build a business if you are empty, emotionally and physically. You will burn out.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: You get to test your skills and wit against the world. It is tough and it is satisfying. I think there is an entrepreneurial personality that finds running a business very satisfying — despite the trials and tribulations.
If I had to start over again, I would: make tweaks here and there. I truly believe the errors we made were learning experiences on our path to success and have made us much better at success.
I never imagined: that people in countries all over the world would be using our programs. Today’s social network and technology have broken down all barriers to have the world know about you.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: Follow your heart and do your best every single day. As Getty once put it, “Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.” Luck comes when you work hard.