When Alexandra Fine co-founded Dame, a women-founded sex toy company looking to close the pleasure gap, not everyone was on board with her vision. She got a lot of pushback - from traditional investors to advertisers - as she sought to change how the world looked at sex toys and pleasure. So this week: we spoke to Alexandra about how she navigated those obstacles and came up with creative solutions to get Dame off the ground.
On Overcoming Doubt
Carly: I'm going to jump in with our final question, which is actually from one of our listeners and Skimm’rs, Kristin. Kristin, thank you for submitting. Kristin says, "Alex, how did you deal with people who doubted you or your mission? Do you have any tips for overcoming moments of self doubt?"
Alexandra: That’s a great question. And it's so hard. I would say the thing that really helped is data. I think there's like two things. It was like math and data and then feelings and they're both important. So for me...I had done some surveys where I had literally asked people if they were interested in this. Just validating the market and doing research, so I can say, "This might sound crazy but there are other companies in the space that are doing $50 to $115 million in revenue." That was validating as far as this category goes.
.... I had done some surveys asking people, "Hey, does this type of product sound interesting to you?" And I think it was like 95% of people that I had asked in the survey that I paid for had said, "Yes."
…. And then again, in my core, I felt like I knew. So I also just really encourage people to find time to meditate, to sit down, [and think about] does it feel good to pursue whatever it is that you're pursuing? And that's the most important thing I've learned through my journey in sexual pleasure is that it feels good to feel good. And that's, I think, the point of it all.
Alexandra: I was trying to raise money for six years. And, for the first few years of the company's life, we were doubling year over year on our top line and we were profitable. And nobody cared. Everybody was like, "Doubling is not enough. We want higher growth, higher growth."
…. I just remember wanting to pitch the company and...not even tell people what I did. And just wanting to say, "This is our revenue. This is our marketing spend. This is our profitability. This is our growth rate." And just not even mention the vibrators because the metrics were there. You know, the fundamentals of our business were there and it was really frustrating.
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