Women Deserve Wealth, Too.
When I started Trace, I knew I wanted to develop and offer the best tampon for your body (read about our mission here). What I didn’t know anything about was how to fund a company, and I certainly had zero experience with fundraising or investing. Y’all, it is an entirely different universe! With its foreign language and secret doorways, I felt like a fish completely out of water. Raised by a single mom and a single mom myself at 18, I was happy just to pay my bills. I never thought investing or working with millions of dollars was a world for me.
Yet, here I am…diving into this new, scary investing world for the sake of manifesting what we all deserve - a natural tampon made from the very best of Mother Nature’s gifts and made in ways that honor Her and each other. The “how” is just as important as the “what.” Tampons have been the same since the 1970’s, when organic cotton tampons were first introduced. We know better now, but the industry has failed to innovate. Why? Because conventional investors don’t invest in the health of women and the products that influence our health - not quite as sexy as the next big app. The patriarchy strikes again.
It’s time for us to change that - for the matriarchy to rise. I really do believe that women taking their seat at the head of the table can save our world. It’s my passion, and what better place to start than tampons? It’s this passion that gave me the courage to face my fears (and the intimidations of male investors) to say “I belong here.” You belong here, too. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned.
Trace started as a big dream, and it’s coming true!
Well, one of the first things I learned is that saving the world with tampons costs money to make it happen, and so we are raising money from investors to pay for it! The gist of investing is that people put their money (called investment capital) into a company, and, in return, own a piece of that company (called equity). Then, when the company makes a profit or sells to another company, the investor gets their money back, plus some.
This tiny little tampon required a lot of innovation, a lot of work from the ground up (farming pun, get it?), and a lot of time, so we need to raise a lot of money. And of course, no one at Trace takes the easy way out – our unique way of buying our hemp and cotton (grown with regenerative farming practices) means we pay a lot of money upfront when our competitors don’t. Plus, it can take a lot of money to make a splash in today's noisy digital world.
No shame. We are fundraising for our dream to upgrade tampons for people with periods.
The first thing I had to learn in order to raise money for Trace was the vocabulary.
Story: an advisor was helping us early on and suggested we begin with Convertible Notes. I enthusiastically agreed, hung up the phone, and immediately Googled “Convertible Note.” The learning curve is steep!
I quickly learned that the investing and raising money world is full of “finance bros” who learn the rules of this sport by socializing with their dads at the country club or their peers in the Ivy League – places where women, historically, aren’t welcome. So, it’s no surprise that women-founded companies receive just 2% of venture capital (there’s another new vocab word!). Shoot, we couldn’t even have our own credit card until the early 1980s. Our financial literacy, and our foot in the investing door, are still catching up.
I also learned that startup founders raising money have A LOT of FOMO – it really feels like a popularity contest where investment decisions are based on relationships alone rather than the merits of your idea or business plan. Many founders, unfortunately, equate the success of their fundraising to their value and can often raise too much money (yes, that is a thing!), harming the company in the end. I’ll be honest – raising money has been one of the biggest emotional challenges of my life. The constant rejection coupled with the fear of failure requires some serious self-love and zero shame (shout out to Brene Brown for the life and leadership training).
Trace transcends sustainability in period products — why would this be any different?
At Trace, we knew we wanted to raise our capital differently – to fund our company in a way that aligns with our values of kinship and of honoring autonomy, of collaboration and grassroots. After all, this mission of healing the earth affects us all, not just the rich men at the table.
That’s why we decided to raise money through equity crowdfunding with WeFunder. Equity crowdfunding is different than regular crowdfunding, like Kickstarter. Regular crowdfunding is where you basically pre-pay a startup for their product and receive special discounts or perks. Equity crowdfunding sometimes does that, too, but first and foremost, you’re actually buying ownership in that company. The perks are just a thank you and sugar on top.
We are equity crowdfunding because we believe in community.
This is a fairly new method of raising capital (vocab word!) in the startup investing world. It still requires quite a bit of regulatory oversight by the SEC* (vocab word!), but its popularity is growing fast. With equity crowdfunding, anyone can invest in a private company, not just those with a good ole boys club connection to big investors. It invites new communities of people to sit at the table and invest in a range of companies – from your hometown restaurant to your big tech in Silicon Valley. Big investors still invest through this method - $502,000,000 was raised in 2021 alone - but the single mom with a hundred extra dollars of spending money can own a part of the company on the exact same terms (vocab word!) as the big guys, too. We are all one, y’all!
You can invest and buy equity in companies on many websites like StartEngine, SeedInvest, and WeFunder. At Trace, we chose WeFunder as our platform. Their scrappy and passionate team believes in companies like Trace, and they have an office here in Nashville – it makes a difference when you can work together face to face, and they are so patient with every single rapid-fire question I throw at them (shout out to Suzanna and Read).
Women are building new foundations of wealth.
I remember what it felt like to dream of having $1,000 in the bank. Y’all, my now-husband had to pay my rent for me once in graduate school because I was totally out of money. And once I received a gift of $100 from a stranger, and I cried because it meant my daughter got her first highchair. Many of us just don’t have $100 to lose, and no one should ever invest money in a company that they can’t afford to completely lose…so, I recognize that investing is a privilege.
But, at least with equity crowdfunding, the door is now open just a little wider for people like me, and the table is full of women – a community saying “no” to the systemic suppression of wealth for us. We are building new foundations of generational wealth, upon which our daughters can stand, using our collective voice to craft our own pathways to financial freedom.
Starting Trace has meant many long nights and weekend work and travel away from my family (I do, in fact, cry a lot)...but, my three daughters watch me. They see a mom who believes in goodness, a mom who challenges the status quo, and a mom who fights for their future.
We invite you to invest with us in Trace – to own a piece of this dream of building a healthier and kinder world through something as simple as a tampon. Let’s raise, and rise, together.
*We are 'testing the waters' to gauge investor interest in an offering under Regulation Crowdfunding. No money or other consideration is being solicited. If sent, it will not be accepted. No offer to buy securities will be accepted. No part of the purchase price will be received until a Form C is filed and only through Wefunder’s platform. Any indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.
**Trace Femcare, Inc., nor any of its agents, is not a licensed broker-dealer, market maker, investment advisor, or underwriter. All information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. Furthermore, investing in such securities involves substantial risk of loss and investors should seek advice from financial professionals before investing. Trace Femcare, Inc. is not in the business of stock brokerage, investment advice, activities which require registration under either the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, underwriting, banking, is not an insurance company, nor does it offer services which may require regulation under federal or state securities laws.