Malisse of BOBBLE Takes On The Epic Fight For Empowerment And Period Poverty!

BOBBLE Founder Malisse talks empowerment!
BOBBLE Founder Malisse with her children.
BOBBLE Founder Malisse with her children.

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating what it means to be a woman! We speak to Malisse Tan of BOBBLE, whose fight for female empowerment takes flight in the form of her product, education, and eradication of period poverty. We speak to her to learn more about the BOBBLE brand, and what drives it forward!

Malisse recently gave birth to her newborn son, Aryan!

Tell us about yourself! What drove you to start BOBBLE?

I’m Malisse Tan, Founder and CEO of BOBBLE, South-East Asia’s first period wellness company. Our focus lies in offering safer AND sustainable period care solutions. I’m a mother of three and a cancer survivor, 5 years in remission.

The thought of starting BOBBLE was ironically inspired during a traumatic experience in my life, while seeking chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and learning to be a new mother to my firstborn, Aleya Carina. I became more conscious of what I was using at home for myself and my family when it came to all things “household” and “personal care”. This included items like soaps, detergents, and of course, my own period products.

I learned that there is still a lot of stigma, a lack of education about period health, and generally little access to safer and organic cotton-based period care in Malaysia and South-East Asia. And so, some 18 months later, I decided to close the gap by launching BOBBLE myself.

What’s the most rewarding thing about heading a company like BOBBLE?

This is in fact the third start-up I’ve dabbled in, and I feel I’ve finally founded a business that is anchored by a clear purpose. One that is especially meaningful to me, as it specifically supports women’s health. Now that I have my own daughter, I hope that our work at BOBBLE will trigger a ripple effect as she grows up and learns about her body – likewise for all menstruators that we are able to empower. 

What would you say is the one thing you would want BOBBLE to be known for?

A purpose-driven brand that is trusted by all menstruators!

Have you ever had customer feedback that touched you deeply? Tell us about the experience!

One customer reached out before trying our product to share the challenges she faced: she suffered rashes around her vulva region which was further heightened during her period. After trying our products, she shared how they had changed her life, where her periods became more “tolerable”. She went on to add that her silent suffering had been reduced and even occasionally eliminated due to the quality and performance of our product.

Walk us through your development process for BOBBLE’s products! What was the most important element when it came to developing your period essentials?

Authenticity in the materials we use. We live in a time where there is a lot of greenwashing and misuse of certain terms as part of strategic marketing messages to drive sales. I wanted to make sure that what we say is what we give. Despite causing a delay in the start of our business, we spent quite some time sourcing our materials. We wanted to ensure that our organic cotton was indeed certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This was to ensure our products are both safer for our customers’ skin, and sustainable where both product and packaging can biodegrade within 9 months versus 500 years in comparison to generic brands.

What are you hoping BOBBLE will do for women’s empowerment? What steps are you taking to achieve that goal?

As a purpose-driven company, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that our brand stands for something more than the products it sells. Instead, we aim to be a disrupter and changemaker in the space of period health and menstrual wellbeing. We want to move the needle for innovation in period product development and to ensure the education gap in this space closes so more young girls and women feel empowered and give Power to their Period!

We are working to achieve this by integrating period education and access into the core of what we do. This may take the form of content we publish in our social media, newsletters, and website, to corporate workshops. We want to individually educate customers and support the wider community via strategic partners, in spite of socio-economic background. During times of crisis, we donate or match sponsorships, as was the case for women who lost their jobs during covid, those affected by floods, or those who lack access to pads in B40 communities.

As much as we can, social impact is an important pillar in our business model. We believe as a business, we want to do more good than harm.

What would you say is the hardest part of changing women’s mindsets, especially when it comes to swapping from drugstore brands to a more sustainable, safe brand like BOBBLE?

That your intimate area is just as important to invest in when it comes to quality period care products! Women take the time and effort to think thrice, learn and make comparisons against incumbent brands when it comes to their skin, hair, and make-up. It should be no different, if not more important when it comes to matters of the vulva and vagina. However, it is often not given much thought, despite being a natural biological occurrence that happens around 450 times in an average woman’s lifetime!

We know you’re passionate about girls and women opening up and speaking candidly about periods. What steps are you and BOBBLE taking to help advance this?

We have become a platform together with our community to provide a safe space for menstruators to learn and share about period experiences and struggles. To help scale awareness and trigger more thought and conversations, we work with many other brands, influencers, corporate, and NGOs. We hope these combined amplified voices will provide the influence and reach needed to keep the conversation going.

The BOBBLE Eco Tote canvas bag.
The BOBBLE Eco Tote Canvas Bag captures the essence of what it is to bring Power to your Period – to stop hiding your period products and to sing it loud and proud!

Where do you see BOBBLE in the future? How do you envision the brand’s growth?

We are working towards being a holistic period wellness company focusing on key markets within the Asia and Middle-East market. As a period wellness company, we are looking to unify a fragmented industry into a one-stop shop when it comes to menstrual well-being. Any menstruator can access a range of period products and teleconsultations with gynaecologists. Thus, menstruators can empower themselves with knowledge through a library of learning and period-tracking tools, giving them insight into their own period health and immediately having solutions and support, all within a single platform.

It’s International Women’s Day! What’s one piece of sisterly advice you would give to all women struggling to make their mark in the world?

It’s okay to fall – but fall forward. You will get to your destination in due time. Perhaps not in the way (and timeline) you imagined, but you will get there. We all trip and stumble along the way, and during that journey, find your tribe! And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that women are badass – you can do anything while bleeding for a week straight without dying!

Which Poptron merchants do you want to hear from next? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow us on our social channels for more fun content, tips, and stories on your favourite local brands!

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