Maria: Just to warm up: How’s your day going today? Anything exciting happening BTS in the POM world?
Sabrina: Very well thank you, even better now chatting to you!
Yeah, a bit actually! We are planning some fun Christmas content, I want to get out and about and talk to the public about periods and period underwear and, of course, we are planning our pre-Chrissy sales.
M: For our readers who don’t have the magnificent pleasure of knowing POM: Tell us a little bit about it. What’s the story behind? How was it born?
S: Oh you are so right, it is a magnificent pleasure to know about POM!
POM started over a year ago when I moved to London, actually (interesting time to start a business, I know). But when I moved, I wanted to save money where I could, and I’ve always been sustainably minded so I decided to try out period underwear. So, I went to Primark, picked some up and started using them. Initially it was a bit of a change as I was a tampon user before but after one full period using them, I was convinced.
My intrigue then grew around the environmental impact our periods have on the planet and my findings shocked me. Like I had no idea that globally we throw out 12 billion sanitary products a year! And that waste then doesn’t break down for 500-800 years.
During my research I also learnt more about Period Poverty, and how dire a situation it is and on such a global scale, too.
My natural answer was to look at the current market and what I found was a spectrum of products from synthetic ones which didn’t make sense to me as an enviro product. It also seemed like they wouldn’t last long given the materials they were made from. At the other end of the spectrum were period underwear made from better materials but my god they are expensive. Not to mention I could see the potential for this product to really help on the Period Poverty front and other brands were asking their customers to donate in addition to their purchase.
This got me thinking about whether there was a space for me in the industry… So again I looked into it and realised that this product has so much potential to help so many people and the environment, not to mention how many people it can be used by.
I then decided it was time to talk to someone in business and get their thoughts, so naturally I went to my Dad to talk about periods. He runs his own merchandise branding business and, before that, his background was in marketing.
I made a business case to him, outlining my dream to provide people with a better and more affordable product while coinciding with improving the environment and reducing Period Poverty. Of course, I had to explain the needs, issues and problems first, but we’ve always had a great relationship and I’ve found our very different experiences helped challenge me and grow our discussions. Dad then agreed and POM was born!
Well, I mean born as a business concept, we then went into our market positioning, branding, product and all of that fun stuff. My two degrees are communication design and business majoring in marketing, so I was excited to put every uni subject to the test!
M: When did you decide to pull the trigger to make this your full-time job? Were you scared at all?
S: Omg I was terrified! I still am, but it got to the point where I had worked so hard on it already and if I wanted it to succeed and become a potentially profitable business then I needed to give it my all.
Making the initial decision to stop looking for a marketing job and do it part time was daunting, then making the decision to do it full time instead of part time and stop working in hospitality was scary. But I realised that if I saw this as a job description on LinkedIn I would have grabbed at the chance and fought for it so why not make it happen for myself.
M: What has been the hardest part of starting your own business?
S: There have been so many difficult aspects to starting POM, but I think the hardest part has been needing to learn sooo much. Sure, you get taught theories and basics at Uni but because I was building the website, the branding, the socials, the emails, etc myself I was learning these new tools from scratch and trying to find the answers online when things needed troubleshooting was really difficult. But omg if you need help building a Shopify website, I’m your gal.
M: And what’s your favourite part of it?
S: Oh, it has to be that I get to do so many different things every day. Depending on what mood I’m in, whether it’s creative, tactical, brainstorming… there is always something to do. I also love that I genuinely know that this product will help people, the planet and the community so the drive behind everything I do actually makes me feel good.
M: What does a day-in-the-life of the POM Team look like?
S: Well, every morning starts with a business call with my investor & mentor: my dad. He lives back home in Australia so it’s the end of his workday and the start of mine. We discuss how we got on the previous day, what decisions we need to make together, plus we usually can’t help but brainstorm other ways to get POM out there.
I then plan out the work I have to get done that day and get onto it. I try to find ways to keep myself productive, as working by myself I find challenging sometimes because I am such a social person and bounce off others’ energy, so I try and put myself in productive environments like the café I used to work at.
M: I think impostor-syndrome is something that is always there, but it’s also a sign that you’re doing something right and pushing yourself and your limits. Do you thrive in the impostor-syndrome or have you had to learn how to navigate it?
S: Great question! I definitely have to keep reminding myself that it is a “sign I am doing something right and pushing myself” because it often just feels like I’m doing something wrong.
It’s strange because the feeling of impostor-syndrome comes in waves just in one day. At times when things just aren’t going right and certain tasks sound so simple then drive me insane, I stop and question why on earth I am doing this, and feel that there is no way I am qualified enough to do this and If I can’t even get this task done right then how am I going to achieve my other goals?
But the way I combat it is taking a minute to look back at what I have already achieved compared to where it was as a mere idea a year ago and remind myself that I only did that by using the resources available to me. Also there are moments where I hit roadblocks to find the answer from people who should know then they don’t and I figure out a solution that really makes me feel like “damn I’m bloody clever”.
M: What are your dreams for the future of POM?
S: Oh, big dreams, this is my passion project. I can see myself building a brand with a community behind us who we help and who help us help others. And maybe one day even a team of people who inspire me and believe in POM and we can take it to places that even I couldn’t imagine.
M: How has POM changed you?
S: It has made me so much more confident; I mean you’ve gotta be if you are going to sell your brand and product to people especially when it’s for a product that a lot of people haven’t heard about. But I also just saw it as an opportunity to jump in and see how much I can learn about lots of different things and meet lots of different people.
M: Any words of wisdom for anyone wanting to launch their own brand/business?
S: You have to find something you are passionate about because you will be delving deep into every aspect imaginable and also what comes with that is being open to wearing many hats. Sure, at times you feel like you are all over the place trying to do so many different aspects of the business, however, if you organise yourself well enough you will realise how deep an understanding you have about every aspect of your business. Which I have found feeds my passion about POM more.
If you want to learn more about POM and Sabrina (and honestly her dad because I really want him to be my friend lol) you can go on their website here. And all of their socials: Instagram, Tiktok, LinkedIn. And if I were you I would keep my eyes peeled for their Tiktok and Instagram as not only are they launching the most wholesome (and urgent!) series, but also their Christmas sales!