Interview with Olivia Cotes-James
LUÜNA is Asia’s first female-led period care company. We exist to create healthy periods through our chemical-free feminine care products, taboo-free content and menstrual health education initiatives.
Together with our awesome community of game-changing women, we are fostering a fresh, open and honest attitude towards modern womanhood in the region.
What type of funding have you received?
We closed our seed round in December 2018 and are looking to raise our series A in Q1 2020.
How did you prepare for the funding process?
I prepared practically as much as I could; testing my pitch and business plan on as many experienced people as I could get in front of before facing potential investors.
I spent a lot of time on Linkedin reaching out to high-level institutional investors who I knew wouldn’t be interested in us at seed round, but who I wanted to make contact with for the future. Most didn’t answer but those that did were able to provide invaluable advice about the fundraising process and to this day, continue to provide mentorship with the motivation of investing in us at our Series A round.
When and why did you decide the time was right to fundraise?
I always knew I'd have to fundraise to launch the business but was acutely aware of the challenges I faced in doing so. I was a first-time business owner, building a company whose mission it was to shift the kind of deep-rooted cultural taboos that large corporates with endless budgets had failed to overcome. It wasn’t going to be easy to convince investors that our company would succeed where all these other brands had failed.
This knowledge led to two and a half years of period education workshops in which I was able to gather evidence to prove that my vision wasn’t idealistic but grounded in a genuine need and opportunity.
Importantly, this process had the dual effect of deepening my conviction to make LUÜNA work. The ever-increasingly knowledge that what we were doing would genuinely change the lives of other women and girls kept me strong throughout some of the more challenging fundraising periods.
What was the biggest challenge in the process?
Knowing my worth [side note...we cover this in our other blog "how to value my business"] and identifying the right investors [and this in our funding savvy course] - these two points being inextricably linked. I narrowly avoided accepting funding from the wrong kind of investors, who put emphasis on the fact that I hadn’t run a company before to dictate investment terms that would have been enormously detrimental to future fundraising.
Everyone wants to get more for their money, but your investors need to be able to see the bigger picture - if they can’t, they aren’t the right investors for you. I’m lucky now to have investors who closely share my vision for the company and are willing to help me learn and grow to make it a success.
What would be your biggest tip to a female founder seeking capital or investment?
Remember, the right kind of investors will try to build-up a founder and empower them to make the company a success. They won’t belittle you or drag you down, even in the negotiation process.
Any promotion or news we can share to help promote your business?
We are so so excited to launch our period cup and new website in August. The website will create easy and convenient access to trusted period care in Hong Kong and provide content about female health that is created with trusted professionals.
Before then, we want women and girls to try our organic cotton period care so are offering free shipping on all orders in Hong Kong + 5% off when you use the code NEXTCHAPTER at the checkout on our website www.luuna-naturals.com
Want to learn more?
View our online "Get Funding Savvy" course to understanding you funding options and opportunities more clearly