Womaness is thinking about funding differently. The menopause solutions brand is doubling down on community and word-of-mouth marketing with its latest raise.
Founders Sally Mueller and Michelle Jacobs set out to start the brand’s third fundraise, but knowing the investor market was tougher than ever — not to mention women-founded and women-centric brands are often underfunded — they chose to work with three Los Angeles-based investors — Carol Cheng, Annie Bellanger and Ellen Chen — to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV). This format brought women of all ages and all investor experience to the brand’s cap table with checks ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, raising nearly $1 million total — though the brand is still raising.
“One of our goals with this round was to bring in a lot of women onto the cap table and create this groundswell, not just take capital in but really think about the marketing benefits of getting women involved in our brand,” said Mueller, explaining word-of-mouth conversations have been key for brand awareness.
While Womaness has been focused on community with events like its “Menopositivity Tour,” an in-store activation with Ulta Beauty, this raise marks a new era for the brand to work directly with its consumer and also educate women on the investor space.
“Women are still needing more education and support to feel comfortable investing in the space. The future is… getting women to invest in companies that they really value and missions that they really respect,” Mueller said.
Jacobs seconded this. “There is a total lack of education across the board, young and old, for women as their bodies age past fertility. People don’t know what happens next,” she said, noting that this round brought in younger women in their 30s looking to invest in the space.
For Chen, Bellanger and Cheng, as women, they were immediately interested in the Womaness story, and forming a SPV felt like a natural fit to bring users into the business.
“These women are going through menopause. They felt like this is a no-brainer,” said Bellanger, who founded Women Abundance Club to educate on investing — many of the SPV investors came from this group. “Some of these women got eight different investors to come in, just telling their friends about the story.”
According to Mueller and Jacobs, the brand is still raising, but with this latest round and capital from the SPV, they will invest heavily in product development and education, most notably through field training, which the duo noted to be a key driver for their business in-store. The brand is also relying on the SPV investors to continue raising brand awareness through their communities and personal experiences.
“It’s such a discerning customer and they’re so driven based on trust,” Mueller said. “It’s a very different, emotional purchase journey.”