Thanks to our friends at Equilibria for partnering with us on this post.
This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating seven amazing female founders who’ve started companies based on the idea of helping out other women. Whether it’s a business for women, or to help support women (or both!), each one has a mission Team SN stands behind.
CBD has gone from a three letter abbreviation only scientists had ever heard of, to one of the fastest-growing and heavily saturated industries in the last few years. But understanding h0w, when, and why to use CBD—and overall education—hasn’t moved quite as quickly.
It’s great that CBD can help alleviate anxiety, sleeplessness, menstrual cramps, and arthritis, among other issues. But do all kinds of CBD do that? That’s exactly why co-founder Coco Meers’ brand, Equilibria, has focused on women from the very beginning, developing formulas and delivery methods for crazy-busy modern ladies.
Creating something from nothing is hard, and comes with experimentation and often failure.
Something Navy: How did you come up with the idea for your business? What was the journey like?
Coco Meers: In March of 2018, my now co-founder, fellow tech entrepreneur Marcy Capron, told me that CBD had allowed her to part ways with three heavy side-effect-inducing pharmaceuticals that she was using for mental health and chronic pain. My entire career had been dedicated to helping women look and feel their best—starting out at L’Oreal launching global makeup and hair brands, and then starting my own company, Pretty Quick, a seamless beauty-booking app.
When I heard Marcy’s journey with CBD, I knew my next entrepreneurial chapter would be a healthcare approach to cannabis. Her own results led her to spend a year researching cannabis science, and counseling women in local meetup groups and online forums on how to use CBD and other cannabinoids to achieve their personal health goals. As two seasoned tech entrepreneurs, we saw an opportunity to align with a pharmaceutical-grade supply chain, and provide women with personalized education and support. In this unregulated market, quality varies considerably from brand to brand—even when using a high quality product—and dosage and delivery techniques are highly personal. Finding balance through CBD is our mission, and delivering on that promise requires an impeccable, standardized product and investing in education and clinical support.
SN: What were some of the roadblocks and how did you overcome them?
CM: There are always tremendous roadblocks in startup life. Creating something from nothing is hard, and comes with experimentation and often failure. In terms of obstacles, we’re constantly evaluating the regulatory environment. CBD is an interesting sector… it’s not a supplement and it’s not a drug, so there is a lot of grey area despite industrial hemp’s federally legal status. The industry is constantly evolving and restrictions are changing daily, so we’re constantly reviewing our systems to ensure we remain compliant and ahead of the curve.
SN: Did you find that you encountered more challenges getting your business off the ground as a woman as compared to men in similar positions?
CM: When fundraising for PrettyQuick, I found that male investors (the majority of VC’s) had a hard time understanding the pain point of beauty-booking, so our data had to speak for itself. We got less of the benefit of the doubt. Happily, I will say it’s easier the second time around: More women (like me!) are actively putting money towards working with female founders. (PrettyQuick was acquired by Groupon in 2015, and since then, I’ve become an active angel investor in female-founded, consumer companies.) I’ve also learned so many valuable lessons the hard way about talent and fundraising and growth. Marcy and I have been lucky to benefit from each others’ collective knowledge, an amazing team, and a very supportive—and largely female—investor base.
SN: How did you go about getting investors, or the “right people” to believe in your vision?
CM: Fundraising is all about the business model, velocity, and a little swagger… Smart investors will dig (deep) into your numbers, and it’s imperative that you understand the sensitivities, opportunities, and risks in your financial plan.
With Equilibria, we are so lucky to have powerful female investors and board members who believe in our mission, use our product daily, and are true partners in this journey to bring high quality CBD products and education to women everywhere. If you have growth, sound economics, and an attractive industry, fundraising will usually sort itself out. But remember that an investor partnership is a relationship, just like any other, so be careful who you select as capital partners and make sure they’re the right cultural fits!
SN: Did you find being a leader or commanding a board room came naturally to you, or was it a skill you had to learn?
CM: For me this role came naturally. I love leading diverse cross-functional teams to make sure the brand promise gets executed on-time, on-budget, and on-mission. I find it deeply humbling to work with the amazing women at Equilibria, learn from them every day, and be the cheerleader as needed to get us where we need to be.
SN: What have been the most validating moments or milestones along the way?
CM: Notes from our members are by far and away the most heart-warming. Our whole business focuses on helping women, so when we hear from our community about their journey—physically and mentally—it makes all the long days 10,000% worth it!
SN: How do you balance your work and personal life? How do you self-care?
CM: It’s a daily struggle, and I can’t say I’m perfect. I won’t sacrifice quality time with my littles (and I try not to neglect hubby), and work is really demanding. I don’t have any regrets about the current priority, but it does mean that self-care, and time with friends and family has to be more quality and less quantity. I’m learning to be OK with my choices and not put unnecessary pressure on myself to do more than is realistic.
SN: Who are your female role models?
CM: My mom was a single mom of two girls. She went back to school to get her graduate degree while we were in highschool since she had been at home when my parents were together. She’s done an amazing job of reinventing and making it work!
SN: What do you wear when you need to feel powerful?
CM: Heels. Dress with volume and structure. Color.
SN: What’s the best advice you ever received?
CM: Life is too short to not love what you do. If you have a business idea, then start trying to prove a small piece of it. Could you throw up a DIY website and see if anyone bites? What’s the smallest test you could run to see if you’re ready to take the plunge?
Check out Equilibria here.
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PS: *These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, Something Navy may get something in return. Thanks.