Some people wear red, and it looks like it was made for them—their character, their coloring, their charm. Here comes Aljolynn Sperber in a cherry red pullover that shows off long glossy-dark hair, big, chocolate brown eyes, and a smile that is tentative yet certain (and, sometimes, downright exuberant). This woman has got a plan, and she’s wearing her red badge of courage this afternoon at Vibe.
The talent factor of Aljolynn is something to wrap your head around. This vibrant entrepreneur, about to launch Lady Box, her boldest venture yet, has expertise in everything from influencer marketing, SEO strategy, and crisis communications to public speaking and talent management.
Having risen to managing director during her tenure at Marketing Maven, Aljolynn manifested award-winning momentum for product launches, spoke at investment accelerator programs, and captured media attention for clients on The TODAY Show, The Wall Street Journal, and CNNMoney, among other high-profile media outlets.
She has been preparing to introduce Lady Box, an organic feminine care and comfort subscription package company since September 2019 while enrolled in Startup Kitsap’s 6 Month Startup program, hosted at Vibe. “It makes a what can be a sensitive subject, more accessible, easier, more fun,” says Aljolynn.
Shipping February 4, subscribers will receive a Lady Box of their selection, complete with organic pads and/or tampons, panty liners, feminine hygiene wipes, and pamper products, like bath bombs, face masks, scented candles, and more.
“I feel that it’s perfectly pitched to young girls and women,” shares Aljolynn, whether it’s their first time or they’re celebrating maturity with “Yaas, Lady!,” a box that covers everything—even knocking out the munchies with premium organic snacks.”
So, Lady Box is far from a box of candies. Or chocolates. The whole product line is organic and thoughtfully sourced to help menstruators feel better during their cycle, no matter what stage they’re at in life.
Describe the first impression you make.
I get a a mix. From “OMG, you’re such a people person,” or “OMG, you’re nicer than I thought,” to, “I thought you were tough broad.” Because when it comes the work situation, I came from the agency world. My role was to ask questions and to lead people, always making sure that things got done the way they needed to and that clients were serviced the way they needed to be. I can sniff out the BS, if needed.
From the business perspective, what’s the best thing Lady Box has going for it?
Timeliness. It’s perfect timing because women are starting to speak up for themselves more, especially when it comes to their health needs, what they want in being cared for. In the past, it was just “Here’s this tampon or lotion, and it’s good for you.” No questions asked.
Now everything’s questioned and researched. Women and girls want to make sure that what goes in their bodies and on their bodies is good for them. The perfect timing also extends to the millennial market. In terms of subscription, that population has a higher adoption rate of convenience shopping over store visits. They grew up on things being delivered.
What’s more, if you check out Google trends, there’s been a significant uptick in period boxes and organic tampons, and menstruation searches. Women want to be informed about taking care of themselves, releasing the stigma around having periods and talking about what that means.
How can a social media strategy sing?
Knowing what you want before you even get started. Know what you want the end goal to be and work backwards from that. Your ultimate quest is to grow online visibility and gain customer brand loyalty.
I see social media as a tool for customer service, imparting product excellence, supporting reputation management, increasing sales and delivering top-trending topics on Twitter, for example.
What was the spark for Lady Box?
My own pain. Three years ago, I was lying on my couch in pain, fatigued out of mind. I needed to cook dinner for my son, but my periods were so heavy back then, I’d often have to run to the store and get emergency supplies. But truly, I DID NOT WANT TO MOVE FROM THAT COUCH. What could cure what ailed me (torture and immobility) in this situation?
Plus, subscription boxes were becoming more and more popular for essentials. I think around then Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” had just started to make its mark, and I had this electric moment. I just wanted a way for menstruators to have things delivered, but with a special touch. More than just the essentials, more of a care package. You deserve this, you’ll feel better, we got you. That’s the mantra.
How has Vibe helped you bring this product to life?
I have overwhelming gratitude for everyone here. Vibe Founder, Alanna Imbach, has been an incredible connector for me with the 6 Month Startup program, encouraging me to pitch on Pitch Night back in October when I didn’t even have a presentation deck. I felt really connected and got terrific
feedback from leaders and other entrepreneurs about my vision for Lady Box right away.
I see it not just as a period box, but also something that can really support those going through pregnancy, post-partum, menopause, the works. Being a part of Vibe has also helped me really dig into what should go in the boxes. The community here has been an eclectic panel or population to survey, an awesome resource and community to become a part of.
What’s been some of the feedback you’ve received on Lady Box?
Lately, I’ve been hearing things about how it’s perfect for a daughter, granddaughter or teenager who’s just started menstruating, or hasn’t yet. Presenting Lady Box as a gift rather than about something taboo or scary or unwelcome. And everyone seems to love the pamper aspect of the brand, along with sharing information. I’m always on the lookout for anything related to calming yourself and releasing anxiety that we can include in the boxes, too.
Why do we get a child-like thrill from opening a box?
Surprise and delight. Feeling, “OMG, it’s something for me.”
People have two core emotions: fear and love. And they want to experience love more than fear. So, when you open a box, it means they’re loving themselves, or that someone is thinking of them. It’s sharing that love connection. We all have a core desire for that. Especially when you don’t know exactly what’s in it!
If you could come back as an animal, vegetable, or mineral, what would that be?
Oxygen, because you need it to live. So, I would then a part of everything, an amazing feeling, maybe the closest thing to God. Not that I want to be God! But you know what I mean. It’s an interesting concept.
Name the soundtrack of your life right now.
“Good as Hell” by Lizzo. Because even though I’ve been through this huge transition from full-time job to entrepreneurship, making it on my own through all these peaks and valleys, I’m still in the high and adrenaline rush of wanting to succeed. Big time. I’m loving the hustle right now.
Do you have a Lady Box tagline?
Transforming periods from UGH to AHH by delivering organic feminine care and comfort and convenience.
You donate some of your proceeds to Days for Girls.
With Days for Girls, young girls in underfunded and underserved communities around the world receive education and better access to safe and healthy products for their periods/cycles.
I want young girls in underfunded and underserved communities to receive education and better access to safe and healthy products for their menstrual cycles. When someone purchases a Lady Box, we send funding to create kits for girls, primarily in Africa, so that they don’t have to miss school or work—or be embarrassed—because of their periods.
Lady Box has also just secured a partnership with Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho so we can provide customized period kits for students in underserved areas in the Northwest so they, too, don’t have to miss school or choose between food and period care for the week.
What is it that makes you a leader?
I like to have a partnership approach to things. I don’t see myself as a vendor, but as an extension of my client’s business, project, or product. They feel I will put in the effort to help them succeed.
How do you tackle self-doubt?
That was going to be one of my biggest challenged going into this. Before I left Southern California to move here, my best friend said, “You need to have mental toughness for this. Make sure you have that.”
I remember her words every day. They stick with me every day, and they help me remember why I’m doing this and just seeing subscribers and people supporting me personally and professionally. I don’t have any other option. Lady Box needs to work. This is my plan to provide a good life for my son. I’m prone to negative thoughts, but the fact that I get excited over the hustle and my friend’s words is a good motivator to keep going.
Gratitude is a big player in tackling self-doubt, too. While things can feel overwhelming, I also remember all of the people who are supporting me through this process—and that is a tremendous help.
What’s the key to a great speech?
Make sure you only talk about what you know—and know your audience.
You’re also a part time Host (aka Space Captain!) at Vibe. What’s your vision for that?
I’m excited to have an opportunity through the Vibe Host program to just introduce myself to more people and get to meet them as walk they through the door. Usually, I’ve got my head down at my workstation, all focused. When I’m on deck as Space Captain, I get to talk to Vibe members and their guests more, all while building relationships. I really love that.
Your first commandment for good business?
Just be kind and open to people.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
Vietnamese from Pho Kim Chi on Seventh Avenue. Half of the reason is because of its great service. I love it. The other half are the flavors—so good.
Name your favorite pastime in the Pacific Northwest.
We just moved here in August, so my frame of reference is a little limited. But I introduced my son to kayaking, and he seems to dig it.
Why did you move to Poulsbo?
I grew up here and wanted to come back to the Northwest, and it needed to be in a place where I already had a foundation of community. Plus, my parents are aging, and I want my son and I to be closer to have more time together with them.
What’s your secret sauce? Your stealth weapon?
I’m thoughtful. Not just that fluffy way, more like “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you.” I care about you, your business, your life, so I will really look to see what I can do to better a personal or professional situation. I bring it on.
Describe yourself in a few words.
An empathetic, strategic partner who is results driven.
Meet the author: Vibist Susan O’Meara is a Poulsbo-based freelance writer, editor and journalist with global experience. Back in the day, Susan did event marketing for the electrified Don King, boxing’s bad-boy biz whiz. Then she got roped into writing and producing TV spots for Love Boat: The Next Wave, the ‘90s reboot, and nonfiction programming for Showtime (e.g., Roswell: The Real Story). She’s not sure which was more surreal—going with the flow of those Hollywood highs, so to speak, or navigating Nairobi’s magazine scene. Susan has worked in the US and abroad for the likes of Bloomberg Media, Deloitte, Discovery Communications, and the United Nations. She’s obsessed with wrangling language and messaging that helps brands, businesses, and individuals to grow and shine. Except when it comes to Don King’s hair.