How I Started My Company PMSBOX In 52 Hours (Part 1)

I hated school. I hated everything that had to do with categorizing individuals abilities based on “time”. I was that kid and adult that gave the test back the last in class, because I had difficulty concentrating. Any noise, movement or sudden thought was enough to distract me. I was clearly struggling with ADHD, hence achieving a goal in a set time was always a challenge for me. Fast forward to today, if there was a hidden camera filming my start time to write this blog post and finish (not finished yet, but I will) I would be proudly accepting “the most distracted writer award”.  So, how did I do it? How was I able to build a company in 52 hours? Infamous for being a procrastinator who always comes up with creative concepts and beautiful ideas, yet too distracted to follow through… did not get defeated this time (insert clap).

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The story starts with a distraction. I was at work browsing on social media being completely distracted, when I came across the “Start-up Tech Weekend: 52 Hour Challenge” event. Reading through attractive words like “Challenge”, “Start-up”, “Tech” and event location being “Santa Monica”, I was sold. I bought the ticket immediately. I received more information on the event on how attendees are supposed to present a problem and come up with a solution – (all in 60 seconds and present to a room full of strangers). WOWW! I asked myself if it was too late for a refund? Was I able to call in sick for an event that I just paid $100+? Of course, I was going to go, but I hated time limits and forceful activities that pushed me out of my comfort zone. My extroverted introverted self – was terrified - but it was essential for growth and if its scary and exciting at the same time, you must go for it.

I had zero inspiration prior to the event for what problem I was going to pitch and solve. World hunger, global warming, wars… everything was too serious and if I was able to pitch these issues in 60 seconds, I definitely needed more time to think of a possible solution! As I was driving to the event, one of my friends Damla who I haven’t seen for ages saw my car. She called me to ask what I was up to. Turns out, Damla was also attending the event. Knowing a familiar face changed my fear into excitement. I still did not have a problem or a solution to present, but I heard if I wanted, I could pass the opportunity to present. Anyone who know me, knows my phone battery is always dead or dying. If I was going to talk about a problem, potentially it could be related to never ending battery life, perhaps public charging stations with solar panels? My other idea was related to building a platform to connect brands, creatives and influencers or a self-care kit during menstruation. Damla was the first person I whispered my ideas to as the room was taking turns to present. When she heard about the “self-care period kit”, she was very excited. We were only allowed to pitch one idea to the room. I was either going to stay quiet and not make a fool out of myself or be brave and pitch my idea. I decided to go for it. I got up and changed my spot in line perhaps five times debating if I should present or not…until my inner voice said “fuck it” as I took a depth breathe and walked on stage. They asked the name of my idea, and I said “PMSBOX”. I brought a chair to the front of the room and sat while presenting. I was terrified, shaking and the only presenter to sit in a chair. The name “PMSBOX” was enough to draw attention and get people smiling before I even started talking.

1.8 Billion women do not have access to menstrual supplies. 800 million women today, are going through their period as we speak. PMSBOX is a monthly subscription which will include all the products a woman may need during their period. With every box sold, we will give one box of menstrual supplies to a woman in need.

This was my 60 second pitch. Not everyone in the 50+ people room presented their ideas. I already felt like a winner after my pitch was over. I did not allow time or my fear of public speaking to hold me back. Once all pitches were over, we went to the back to vote on all ideas. Voting was done by adding pink post-it papers to the bright yellow paper that had the idea written on it. As I was receiving more post-it papers, I can’t describe how proud I felt with my idea. “I made it mom!” Five ideas with most votes were supposed to be the ideas we were about to work during the 52-hour challenge. I can’t believe PMSBOX and another idea got the most votes. To be continued…

 
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sera alper