WCW with May Alba, The Bloomi’s new (badass) COO
As some of you may have seen, The Bloomi is growing! We are excited to expand the number of products we are offering on our marketplace, extend to additional countries in the near future and build a strong, feminist, pro-sexual wellness team.
With that said, we are excited to announce that May Alba, former founder of rubberit, a condom subscription service that grew to be the largest in Latin America, has joined The Bloomi as the Chief Operations Officer. May’s experience leading a global team in the sexual wellness space and her creative edge will bring even more amazing products, content, and feature to you all. She’s also an expert at finding the best tacos in town –the real kind –she’s born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico!
Get to know her better via our Q&A spotlight and speed round where we asked her to share more about herself, her reason for joining the team, and her thoughts on the industry.
1. Tell us about your background and how you became interested in sexual health.
I’m a Fashion Designer by training but my heart belongs to Human Rights and Sexual Health ever since a close friend of mine passed away from causes related to AIDS. It became extremely important to me to offer access to prevention, information and options, so in 2012 I started a company called rubberit (a condom subscription service that worked in a Buy One, Give One model). It helped bring that needed access to options and education in Mexico, my home country, and LatAm. It was during that entrepreneurial road that I learned the most intricate parts of the industry: how different they are in each country and how they relate to health as a human right –specifically to me as a woman.
2. What are the most common sex health questions you get asked?
The most common ones, because I worked with condoms for a long time were: “Why is sex painful when I use condoms?” and “What to do if my partner doesn’t want to use condoms?” Both of these questions are usually asked by young women. One is related to allergies and toxicity, and the other one is related to empowerment. The first question can be solved by a doctor consultation related to allergies or antibiotics and the other one can only be solved by having each other’s backs as a society and abolishing gender stereotypes. People should be able to make decisions about their bodies and be with a partner that respects and supports them. This is one of the first steps needed towards achieving a fair society.
3. A well-known entrepreneur and startup advisor, Mandela Dixon, teaches Founders that it’s great to ‘Flex’, or share your biggest accomplishments, at the right time. Flex for us.
Many people in Latin America (and some in the US) know me for founding rubberit, becoming part of the 500 Startups family in Mexico City. I got recognized by a lot of great people for that work. President Obama invited me to the White House and named me an Emerging Global Entrepreneur –that was pretty incredible! I have participated in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women Mentorship Program” – and am continually mentored by three top business leaders who are the women I look up to the most. I also worked on some motivational campaigns like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In initiative, Global Shapers, the Staying Alive Foundation, and I’ve been an early stage mentor at the Cherie Blair Foundation. The thing that I’m the most proud of right now has to be that I recently developed a program to economically empower victims of domestic violence in Mexico and positively changed the life of hundreds of women in my spare time.
4. Why did you decide to join The Bloomi?
A long time ago I realized that empowerment, for me, meant making my own decisions. I believe that people who control their sexual and reproductive rights are people who can take charge of their own future. Every person deserves to have access to the healthiest possible options, and that is exactly what The Bloomi stands for, access to the healthiest intimate care products. I also love that the team is mostly women (and women of color)! I knew I wanted to be at the forefront of a company like this, so it was a perfect match.
5. What advice do you have for women who want to make the switch to clean intimate care?
Growing up in Mexico, I was raised with a very conservative culture. I was surrounded with the idea that “nothing is clean unless it smells like flowers (or ‘Fabuloso’ 🤷🏻♀️ if you are talking about a LatinX household) so it was hard to get rid of that bias at first, but I got rid of it by focusing on ingredients+science and not just on the marketing claims of a product.
I’d say that a great step 1 is to run away from anything that doesn’t list their ingredients in the packaging. Transparency is a fast way to differentiate the brands that actually care. And not to panic if you can’t find a replacement for a specific product. Just send us an email! You can email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or use email@example.com and we’d be more than happy to point you in the direction of the healthiest options available.
6. What are some of your favorite clean intimate care products?
My new must-haves are:
- Healthy Hoo Hoo’s Gentle Wash – I’m a new person ever since I started using it.
- Erbaviva’s Organic Massage Oil – I use it as moisturizer after showering as my skin is still getting used to the everchanging weather in SF. My partner also swears by it.
- Healthy Hoo Hoo Wipes – Always in my purse, they’re amazing for after cardio and when traveling, also if you feel a bit icky (I know I do!) about toilet paper at some public restrooms.
- Ingrown Concentrate by Fur – It’s amazing to not have to deal with ingrowns between waxes.
7. What do you like to do for fun when you are not working?
I love putting on a fun playlist and spending a good half hour dancing to it. My go-to song this week is ‘Wepa’ by Gloria Estefan.
I also like to dedicate time to stay informed on the US-MEX relations, the state of Human Rights around the world, and the fight for women’s equality. I post about these topics on Twitter so feel free to follow me there as @maycupcake!
#BossWoman Speed Round
What advice would you give your 22 yr old self?
A small percentage of a big number is a big number.
What talent or passion have you been able to use in an unexpected way?
Being good at reading people has saved me a lot of time in many aspects of my life.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Making playlists for different moments of my life- It makes me feel like I’m living inside a movie.
What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. Ask me about that one time I used it in front of the wrong (adult) crowd.
What is the one thing you can’t leave home without?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d invest in affordable housing.
What is your favorite food?
Tacos al Pastor.
What is your happy place?
Anywhere with my family.
What do you wish you could do more of?
Go to Oaxaca!
What do you wish you could do less of?
I’m one of the lucky ones because there’s nothing in my life right now that I’d like to “do less of” <3