Written by The Strategy
Girl Boss. She.E.O. It’s time for the world to realize that the future is, well, female. There are so many female entrepreneurs who inspire us and we wanted to know more about how they got their companies off the ground. Welcome to our new series: The Future Is Female, where we sit down with inspiring female entrepreneurs and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how their companies operate.
You’ve already met Polly Rodriguez on The Strategy before. We’ve been watching her company, Unbound, grow since it’s inception and have been obsessed with Polly’s style and work ethos. She’s an inspiration to team TS, and therefore, we had to have her in our Future is Female series.
What made you start Unbound?
I think my personal background story of going through cancer at 21 and having to go through radiation treatment and my doctors telling me I’ll never have children. That’s all they ever really said- they didn’t mention that I was going to go through menopause or that my libido would be affected for the rest of my life. I found myself trying to find answers online and just being really embarrassed. So, we started Unbound because we wanted to create a place where people could read and learn about their sexuality, but also buy products in a way that made them feel good, as opposed to feeling embarrassed or ashamed. My co-founder and I both grew up in the mid-west as well, where you don’t really talk about sex or sexuality at all.
What was the biggest struggle when you first started?
There were so many. It was so hard. I don’t come from money in any way. I had so much credit card debt because I was buying inventory on my own credit cards. Investors wouldn’t take us seriously. Not knowing what your doing and constantly struggling and feeling like you’ve made a huge mistake, and everyday doubting yourself. In the early days, the hardest thing is just failing every day.
How did you come up with the name?
I can’t take credit for that – it’s actually my co-founder Sarah Jane. There’s a story behind it, where she was on a train and there was this older woman who was telling all these stories about her sexuality and being younger, and she got up to get off the train, and she turned around and said to Sarah Jane, “I don’t know, I guess I’ve always been just a little unbound.” The name just kind of stuck.
What was the moment you realized you were making it?
I don’t know. There has never been one moment where we thought we did it. The thing that never gets old is when I go to events and people say “I love Unbound.” For so long you’re just pitching your business and trying to convince people that it can be a real thing, so when other people come up to you and acknowledge it as a real thing, you’re just like “Holy shit, people actually know about this company.”
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
The best advice is to surround yourself with people who get it and get what you’re doing. Starting a business can be very lonely, and you have to go out and find other people that are facing the same type of problems.