Who is she?
Malisse Tan, 33 years old, is a mother to her 3-year-old daughter. Malisse started her own company, BOBBLE – a sustainable range of organic cotton period products that’s available online and on subscription. They currently offer a range of day pads, night pads, panty liners, and tampons.
What was your motivation to start your enterprise?
“When my daughter was 2 months old in March 2017, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After 6 months of chemo, I decided to change household cleaning products and hygiene care, basically, anything that could touch the skin to less toxic and more natural/plant-based products as much as I could. From dishwashing liquid, floor cleaners, and skincare. I even moved back to soaps bars made of olive oil or coconut!”
“This also included my period products. As a tampon and panty liner use myself, I realized I didn’t understand what the contents of the tampons were made of and I noticed some brands don’t even print what the products are made of! Searching for alternatives, I stumbled across organic cotton period products that were available in other markets but not here in South East Asia. And being inspired by the story and business model behind The Dollar Shave Club (a subscription for men’s grooming and personal hygiene products), I learned there is a problem to solve for menstruators here in South East Asia.”
What change do you hope to see in the feminine hygiene industry?
“I’d like to see more transparency in what goes into making period products so menstruators are well informed about what contributes to their menstrual health and well-being.”
“BOBBLE is a sustainable brand, meaning that we strive for every element to be as biodegradable as possible, including individual pad wrappers, to the packaging and the ink printed on the boxes! As such, we hope to see more brands join in to become more sustainable so that together, we can decrease the impact on the environment.“
“Lastly, it would be great to see more brands have a clear and sustainable model in supplying period products to girls and women who can’t afford/don’t have access to period products, which will enable them to continue to go to school and work.”
What advice do you have for aspiring business owners?
“As this being my third start-up, I’ve learned a lot from my previous 2 failed start-ups, where I’d like to think I’ve failed forward! For aspiring entrepreneurs, I think it’s important to ask ourselves why are we doing what we want to do? Is there a big enough problem to solve?”
“Be clear on the problem and your customer segments before getting caught up on defining your solution. There’s a lot of new businesses and technology out there and it’s becoming noisy. But if you have a clear value and how you want to be a catalyst for change through your business, you will stand out.”
Any quote that you would like to share?
You Never Know If You Don’t Ask.