Telling your Grandma you’re selling vibrators with Dame’s Founder, Alexandra Fine
Updated: Sep 21
This is Alexandra Fine for Female Startup Club
Welcome back!! It’s been a hot second. I have MISSED this. Wow. So today after 7 weeks of not recording I’m jumping back on the show with a friend of mine, Alexandra Fine, the founder of Dame - she makes cool vibrators and is leading the charge when it comes to women and pleasure. We actually recorded an episode a few years ago which is such a vibe and you should definitely go back to hear her startup story but today we talk a lot about what it’s been like having her second baby and managing all the things, launching into 300+ target stores, what it’s like managing a co-founder relationship break down and at the veryyyy end she shares a funny story about her grandma’s best friends getting in on the vibe action. Loved this episode.
And while I’ve got you here - quick refresher on the girl code! If you listen to an episode and you smile and get value from it - take a tiny action for me. Tell a friend, share it on Insta. Subscribe. Eave a review. All these things matter and it’s the girl code!
Please note, this transcript has been copy-pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
This is Alex Fine for Female Startup Club.
Welcome back to the show. It's Doone here, your host and hype girl. Oh my God. It has been a hot second. I have missed this. Wow. So today, after seven weeks of not recording, I'm jumping back on the show with a friend of mine, Alexandra Fine, the founder of Dame. She makes these really cool vibrators and is leading the charge when it comes to women and pleasure.
Now we actually recorded an episode a couple of years ago, which is such a vibe and you should definitely go back to hear her startup story. But today we're talking a lot about What it's been like having her second baby and managing all the things. launching into 300 plus target stores, what it's like managing a co founder relationship breakdown.
And at the very end, she shares a funny story about her grandma's best friends getting in on the vibe action. Love it. Loved that story. Love this episode. While I've got you here, and before we jump into it, a quick refresher on the girl code. If you listen to an episode and you smile or you learn something from it, take a tiny action for me in return.
Tell a friend, share it on Instagram, subscribe, leave a review. All of these things matter so much to me and so much to the show and I appreciate it. I'm so grateful. And that's the girl code. Oh, I am so happy to be back recording and I hope you love this episode. I hope you love this update in business.
Let's jump in. This is Alex Fine for Female Startup Club. Oh, hello. Welcome to the show. Welcome back to the show, rather. Oh, thank you. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure. I'm so excited. I love this for us. I love a, I love a part two. I love a part two. I love a developed relationship. I love like, you know, layers.
It's a pleasure. Yeah, I'm subscribed to our story.
I actually haven't recorded a podcast in like seven weeks cause I've been traveling and I've been so excited about this episode because. You know when you haven't done something for a real long time so then the excitement builds up and then because I already know you and we've like spoken before and I've kind of like got background on your on your company I'm just like really excited about it.
That's amazing well I'm excited to be here and I feel that I do feel like anticipation and like you know we've been teasing each other for quite some time on this so really good foreplay. We have. We have. Yes, good foreplay. Um, how are you? You recently had baby number two. He is divine. How's it all going?
It's going really well. You know, it's definitely a big workload, you know, it's so much effort and to emotional labor, and physical labor, and labor labor. And it's also just so incredibly rewarding. I think of parenting as just as like, you know, it's got like lots of high highs and lots of low lows. It's just like a lot.
And having a second is, it's just, for me it's been so different. It's been rich in a very different way than the first. Like what? What do you mean? With my first, I felt just so immediately in love. Um, and then with my second, You know, in some ways, like, you know, you bring your baby home and it's still so much about the older one, making sure that they feel okay and safe and what's their transition, what's their experience going to be like, and then you're like, wait, I'm still focused so much on this one.
I want to make sure I'm focused and loving towards this, you know, new child that's in my space. And there's a lot more divide and conquer between you and your partner. I feel like there's been a lot of moments where. Okay, like, the first time you have a kid, you're becoming a parent. You're going from, like, two to three, which is this big...
Dynamic shift. I was like, so prepared to know that I was about to go through a transition in a way that I didn't appreciate as much for the second, because it was like, Oh, I'm already a mom. I'm just momming more. Yes, exactly. Like, where are you doing it? But now I feel like I'm a real mother. And there was also just so many moments of transition within the family.
You know, there are. Like, I think there are some sad moments, too, where I've just been, like, sitting there breastfeeding and watching my husband play with my daughter and feeling, like, a little bit separated from them because, well, because, you know, I'm a little bit more strapped to the baby, but, like, you know, this child is just so a Special.
I'm just like loving watching him developing my, you know, I feel, I do feel like, you know, even more room in my heart and so much love for him, but it feels like it, it took a little bit longer. It wasn't as like, I don't know, this time just felt like even more was happening. Just more. So interesting. Wow.
Gosh! Moms are the best. You're a superwoman. Have you gone back to work? Are you back at work? Yeah, I'm working. So, my parental leave policy, it's like for me personally, not like at the company, is I write up a little plan. In the beginning of my plan is always like, Hey, I just want you guys to know, like this plan is really reliant on like soon to be child or unborn kid.
And they're not very like, you know, it's hard to hold them accountable to the plan. Like, you know, dates may change, uh, not strong accountability. In this brief, in this project, um, and also like giving myself space to change that plan. Because I never know how I'm going to feel or what's going to happen.
But, um, it's really helpful to provide clarity or the beginning of a plan to your team. Um, and I told them I was going to stay out for Three weeks fully. That's almost what I did. I definitely took one or two meetings during that time. And then after that, I came back two days a week. I've been working two days a week, which for me has been really kind of overflowing.
I'm working definitely more than two days a week, but also still very like part time and lightweight and Yeah, then I slowly kind of ramp it back up and about four months in, I'm like fully back. So in some ways I come back earlier and I start working earlier, but in some ways I give myself even more time to transition back into being full time.
Yeah. More time than three. And like, how do you feel about, like, are you excited to be fully back at work? Yes and no. I think like, taking a step back and re prioritizing my life around this newborn child for a second gives me some perspective. And I want to go back full time, but I want to step in differently than where I was before.
There are so many things that just moves, like, Oh, they did not need me so many meetings, so many things that just, you know what I mean? Like, and it's just so amazing to see that. It's such a great reminder. It's also a great reminder of maybe where I, where, where the business could use my support more or what I could be doing as an add on it, like additive to the business instead of just supporting operations.
So like, that's really exciting. So I'm excited to go back, but it's going to be different. And I'm excited about that. And I also, I also do, yeah, and I know I said that, you know, I really, really want to try. And stay not, you know, stay high level, keep my stress down and keep my, you know, uh, work life balance in check, which is hard.
Yeah. Definitely hard, but also probably amazing once you master it. Being super productive when you're at work and then being super mum when you're at home. Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think that that it's like also just giving myself the space to also for one week, just be like fully invested in one or the other.
So like, I think balance can look different. In different moments. Do you know what I mean? Like some days feel balanced and then sometimes I look at the month and the month feels balanced or sometimes it doesn't feel balanced at all and then I need to like take a break and figure out how do I get back to a place of alignment.
Like that's okay to feel unbalanced. Absolutely is. Yes. I want to see it happen all the time. On and off the balance. I want to hear like what's been happening in the business, because I mean, I've spoken to you since we had you on the podcast the first time around, but I want to hear kind of. The, the highlights and the lowlights since then, you know, when you were on the show last, you had from memory, you had just won the lawsuit against suing the New York subway to get your advertising campaign live.
And it was live, I think at the time. And that feels like literally so long ago. And it probably was, it was probably 2021. So it probably is such a long time ago, but I'm like, shit, so much has happened since then. So like. Like, give us the recap on the business. Where are things? What are some highlights and some lowlights?
Tell us. Okay. Since we last spoke, we launched in Sephora. Uh, we actually launched Sephora Australia too. Um, so that's, that's pretty cool. That's right. You saw me there Uh, then this year we launched Target. Uh, we've also launched some new products. Uh, one highlight. Our two highlights would be dip and our gummies.
So dip is uh, 35 US. It's a very affordable, we wanted to make like the best entry level vibe that we could. It's a classic, you know, vibe classic. So it doesn't have as many bells and whistles and functionality, but that has been a really strong seller for us. It's a really great essential product. Yeah, that's amazing.
And then, yeah, thank you. We've had a hard time keeping it in stock, which is always like a good, but also a real product problem. Um, and then we also launched into supplements, which has been amazing and so, so fascinating. I've always been into herbs and It's just been really cool to make a formula to learn more about that process.
And then of course, like we did a third party clinical study with our formula and that was also really interesting learning. So we developed something that really helps with connection. So it's adaptogen based and also has nootropics like L theanine to help you kind of calm and stay connected. Um, and then we also put some mucona in it, which is an L dopa precursor.
So it helps you make dopamine in your brain, which of course is like the pleasure reward. And that's kind of how we classically think of it. So it is a little bit more from my understanding a neurotransmitter that's also about pleasure seeking and curiosity. So that makes so much sense as to why it's been effective at helping people get more connected to their sexual desire.
So do you eat the gummy and you can kind of like feel a difference or it's more like a supplement where you take it over a long period of time and it builds up into your system? So it's mostly adaptogen based which is the building. So adaptogens you want to take every day and they have more and more of an effect.
But things like L theanine which is also in it has a more of an immediate calming. effect. So a little bit of both, but it's really a daily supplement. You're really going to notice the, the impact by taking it daily. And for you, was that always kind of like a vision that you had, or did you land on supplements because of some other light bulb moment?
Like what led to supplements and this kind of a light bulb direction? So we had, yeah, we had, well, we, okay. So what has always been part is that we just wanted to help improve sex holistically. And we knew that was more than vibrators, and we had some ideas, some things that are still in the works, but we had this Facebook group where we like, really, we have a group called Dame Labs, which is a big group of consumers and fans who talk about products, try products for us.
You know, I'm just like down to kind of shoot the the shit about these they're passionate about the category And there was a conversation and then also, you know What else also was happening is people will sign up or show up who are are new or going through something difficult and somebody posted that they were struggling with their, libido.
And people started talking about supplements and teas and things that they were ingesting to kind of balance it out. And I had a light bulb moment of like, Oh, we can create a proprietary blend that is generally supportive and how do we want to go about it? So we went about it from a really, you know, not from just Making something that is a compliment to SSRIs, but more of a formulated a supplement that is helps generally reduce anxiety and promote connection.
But yeah, it really kind of came from a conversation of customers that we were facilitating with customers. Wow, that's amazing. And how long has it been in market? Um, it launched last summer, July 2022. And what's the impact been? Like, I want to know the impact both like anecdotally through like customer impact, but then I want to also understand like in the business, what has the impact been?
Yeah. So for, um, like clinically the, uh, formula, 87 percent of people who were in our trial saw improvement in sexual desire. And for like 90 percent saw a reduction in anxiety and stress. So that was very cool. It was, yes, I remember like the, the lab was like surprised, which was very cool because it was really nerve wracking to put all the effort in to make a formula and then go through a test like that and just like to find out if it's, you know, showing positive signs.
And then... So we did that and then as far as the impact on the business, you know, we have a product now that has a subscription model and it's been really amazing to build that out and see the impact of You know, having something like that, having more consumables, which have a higher, higher retention rate.
Um, yeah. And I would say lastly, you actually just like, sorry, impacting people in a different way too. Like the customer response has been really amazing. Um, we definitely have people who love them and are super users. And it's been cool to impact people in that way. Yeah, I love that. That's so interesting.
And it all makes so much sense as well. Like on the, if you're thinking about it, like from a business objective of the LTV of a customer must be so much higher if they're an ongoing subscriber, but also. In the sense of, yeah, building those super users and super fans who are like, yeah, really connected on multiple layers into the business or into the brand rather.
So cool. I love that. My gosh. Thank you. Yeah, no, it has been really cool. It's been really fun too for me because we always like get to learn new manufacturing processes and, but still continue to work with our customers around the same topic. You know, all in service of the same mission. Yeah, I, I, I like what you said before.
It's like you're taking more of the holistic approach now with your customer, which is. Which is really cool. I want to talk about the launch into Target and how Target happened, how Target came about. So I can, I kind of want to like get into a bit of a Target conversation to understand how your marketing changes when you launch into something like that and kind of what you've learned from launching with a huge retailer like that.
So to start at the beginning, how did the Target thing come about and yeah, how did it happen? So we got the Target broker's email. And, you know, we actually, so pretty much we reached out to a broker. So Target, there's a lot of brokers that help you sell into Target. And it's very interesting because the broker, we ended up working with them and they, they were kind of turned out going through their own internal transitions and they just kind of gave us the email.
And we're like, hey, they're just looking for line reviews. Here's the format. Send it in. So I did that, and they had heard of the brand, Target had heard of the brand, and was really excited to hear from us. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't think I, you know, Target had, I mean, they were having in the news some challenges with inventory post COVID, so I didn't think they'd actually be open to bringing in any.
new Vendors, but of course you shouldn't assume and you should just apply, you know, and that's what I did. You should never assume but I remember telling myself like this isn't gonna be the year and then they reached out and they knew who we were and this category was performing really well and they wanted to have a like the premier brand in this space because I didn't feel like they had that so That was very cool and they wanted to put us in two hundred and ninety stores, a different Um, assortment, and I do think like if you are ever thinking about doing, going into target, it's really important to have, to do your research, know what price points sell, and how you want to push on that, but be realistic about how much you can push, and then believe in yourself, because, you know, like When it came to the assortment that we put in the store, some of those were really what Target wanted, and some of them, some of those items, I was like, no, I'm telling you guys, I think that this is the product that's gonna sell more, and I'm really happy that I also pushed for some, like, you know, there was a part of me that was like, oh, the Target buyers, like, of course they know better than me, but I was, you know, but I was also like, I'm positive that, you know, this product is gonna do well there, and I pushed for it, and it, Does well there.
I mean, I think that it's a good reminder to that. Like, how do you want to position yourself in one of these stores? Are you trying to like, who do you want to be in that store? Is that helpful? Yeah. So helpful. Great. A hundred percent. Trust your, trust your intuition and your gut. Like you know your brand better than anyone else.
You know what resonates with a customer and, and you know, your category too, because like, you know, like these category managers, like. It's a lot. It's not just, you know, she does all personal, like, she has a lot of personal care and sexual wellness and all the different categories within the categories that she, you know, there's a lot.
It's always good to remember that you're an expert. Okay, so they have sent a PO, like you're launching, it's official, contracts are signed. What is the next step for a company like yours when it comes to the marketing and assembling a team that are going to be supporting the target kind of launch and ongoing kind of target efforts to make sure that you've got high velocity, to make sure that people know you're in target?
What, what happens there? Like, what, what does that look like? There's so many ways you can go about it and you know, like there is everything from like running advertisements on Target's platform for Target's e commerce business So it's like you can run ads on Google or Amazon that you know, like that's a whole system and that's a effort and then I think you almost have I believe we have to work with a broker in order to work with target brokers an agency that kind of works as a In between.
And I think it's really important to make sure you get a broker that you love, that you trust, that is going to support you. Get it, make sure they're getting on the call and give you the right data when you need, when you need it. And so do you still work with a broker now? Is that what you're saying?
Like it's an ongoing relationship. So what do they do? What does the broker like do ongoing? So they do a few things for you. And like, look, I think that they, there's a lot of nuance and. Like even just getting an order process from Target. It can be kind of like a heavy lift. They use EDI like, you know, you took a lot of logistics There's making sure that the POs make sense.
I've had a few like had a few Purchase orders where we're like, this is way too high. There's apps or like way too low or like, Hey, you know, like, like they'll help us look at like, what, what's moving in their, in their backend system at target. And we'll be like, this is weird that they're ordering so much of this and so much of that.
And then, you know, they'll go back to target and kind of ask questions. And often we get them fixed because we don't want target to have too much of our inventory. We want them to have the right amount. So we're seeing them. momentum. We don't want them to be overstocked of our, of our product. And what have you found like shifts the needle to keep the momentum going?
Like, is it, I've seen a lot of people who work kind of with like the TikTok target influencers who go in and review products on shelf and things like that, or, or is it just your classic paid ads linking to target? Or is it like in store activation or? What have you been working on? Yeah. So for us, you know, the, again, the, the taboo of the category does.
restrict us in what kind of in store marketing or just marketing that we we can do Both like in store as well as out of stores for the brand in general But I do really think that general awareness is key when people go into target. It's Not as much of a place that you go to learn You kind of want to know the brand before you get there in some way or maybe you learn about the brand there and like the awareness It's too, but you're, there's not as much education in store there, um, as compared to some other retailers that we're in.
So I think the brand awareness, I think working with influencers who are, you know, target focused, anything like that can be so. So helpful figuring out a way of using the internet to get in front of an audience that goes to Target 100 percent I've seen a lot of that actually do you think like Considering, you know, you're such a well established brand and I know Target also takes in a lot of kind of like indie brands As well.
And like kind of earlier stage brands, when do you think is the good time to approach target? Like if there's a founder listening, who's like, my dream is to go into target. Like, what would you give advice on that target? And you know, other big FTM, you really want to make sure that you're going to be able to support them.
And what that means is as the inventory, uh, be able to plan for that inventory. Be able to have the margins to support that partner too, so it's a profitable undertaking or if you know it's not going to be profitable at first, if that's a calculated decision. And have a go to market strategy, as well as sustaining marketing dollars for it.
You know, it can be anything, like, it could be your only store and you can focus all of your attention on it. Um, and if it's not, you just have to make sure you have the right. Team. Like I'm just saying, resources, resources, because it can be an effort, and they'll, you know, charge you if you don't fulfill the PO on time, you know, there's a lot of things that can be hard to do, so you want to make sure you're ready, you want to make sure you feel like it's a good brand fit, because, yeah.
Make sure your warehouse is capable of fulfilling EDI orders and being compliant with their systems. All it's just those kinds of, I don't know. We actually just did a count recently to like, it just hurt. So we sell through distributors too. And so, so for example, in Australia, we have an amazing, amazing partner who sells a lot of our products into the adult market as well.
So I'm like, spas and, you know, premium wellness spaces. So I don't know all of her store counts. I don't know exactly how many stores we're in in Australia. Like a thousand stores or like? Um, yeah, I mean, probably more like definitely probably like 600 to a thousand stores we're in. 300, we're in 300 targets and then we're in quite a bit of adult stores as well.
And then we've done like pop up shops in Nordstrom's versus Bloomingdale's. So there are a lot of other online retailers like Revolve, all of them sell our product. So that's. And is your kind of like focus now, like more retailers? Like, is that the, is that the expansion plan or is it like? Still focusing online.
Where is the growth from here? We've always been omni channel and that has been really supportive. Uh, because there are so many restrictions when it comes to digitally advertising this category, I. Never felt like the classic 2014 digital native vertical. I don't remember if the V, yeah, digital native vertical.
I think something like, yeah. Brands. I thought something like that. Like that. I didn't think that strategy was fully available to us and When retailers came knocking, it just made sense. Like the cash flow of that channel seemed worth figuring out how to support them. So, you know, we said yes to a few stores.
Like I remember, you know, Babeland, which is a very, to me, it's like the set, like the cool New York sex toy store that I grew up going to called us. I was like, we're going to figure that out. And we started selling to wholesale pretty quickly. And. I think that it always makes sense to focus first on your digital presence and your website.
It's just how you can have the most direct relationship with your customer. So I kind of feel like if I can do things that succeed there and focus on building the brand there, that's going to support my sales everywhere. So that's always been the strategy and I feel I mean, I don't know if it's, if luck is the right word because now the world has changed and it's really, I think all of these consumer brands that have come about in the past 10 years are all realizing that they can't build their business completely, only online.
And there's been a big shift to figuring out how to make wholesale work. And since we had wholes, you know, wanted to make sure that channel was available to us from the beginning, you know, it's a profitable part of our business. And yeah, it is definitely a bigger percentage of our revenue this year than it was last year retail.
And it's one of the channels I want to keep on growing, but I do see us growing. Digitally as well and, you know, through continuing to do it through partnerships and other things. I really want to do more pop up stores. I love retail. I love in person. I think in person is just so much fun. Activations are fun.
It's like meeting people in real life. We're a brand about intimacy and pleasure and I'm both obsessed with how do we create that online and I think we can like. You and I have become friends halfway around the world. And that's like really beautiful. And it's really cool how we can do it in new different ways.
But there's something about the old school IRL that I really want to honor. And I'm not, it feels really almost important to the brands, like have intimate spaces. Yeah, a hundred percent. I love that. More offline, more connection, more intimacy. Love it. Something I wanted to ask you actually, I think the last time we spoke, you had a co founder at the time.
Her name was Janet. I don't think she's in the business anymore. Is she still in the business? What's going on there? Yeah, she was. I, um, so she actually has a team. Working day to day in the business since two thousand and twenty. So I actually think even last time we spoke, she had Oh, maybe she wasn't Or, yeah, yeah, I don't think she was, based, just based on the timeline.
She, we started the business together, and, and at one point, actually it was right before COVID, she just kind of hit a place where she wanted to take a step back, and she wanted to kind of shift her priorities, and I just feel really grateful and proud of the grace for which we like figured that out because it was really hard.
You know, it's just like a marriage and it, you know, her reasonings were, I really wanted to, you know, respect her. And figure out a way for that to be sustainable for me moving forward with, without her. And she was, you know, it was hard. There was definitely like very challenging conversations that we had to have.
And we had to, you know, write up docs to figure out like what all of that was going to look like. And it can destroy businesses and it has. And I feel like it certainly did not destroy ours. I still feel very, very much like, you know, her energy and spirit is still very much at Dame. And she's since started a family and, you know, checks in every now and then.
And yeah, I don't know. It is really nice. I think there is some stat out there that like, you know, a lot of businesses fail because of the breakdown of co founder relationships, because of course, like, building a business is stressful, managing relationships are stressful. When you are having to figure out what it looks like for a co founder to leave a business.
Is it like you buying her out of the company or is it like she's still got equity and she's just not an operator anymore? Or you have to figure that out with a lawyer? You have to figure that out with each other. First and foremost and lawyers, but like I think kind of with each other as much as you can first just to kind of Just it keeps cost out.
We Actually worked we had a consultant who was like, I think you guys should work with him like a mediator It was not a lawyer just to help you figure this out. And that was really helpful So this way like when we were like, hey, this is really important to me We had, you know, a safe space to, like, ha to, like, have those conversations and put pen to paper.
Because it it's hard, you know? She and I had built this really powerful thing together that both of our net worth Was tied up in and just through conference, like there's no, there's no right way of doing it. There's no, I mean, I would say the wrong way is ways where you both end up with nothing by destroying the business.
And that's not what either one of us wanted to do. I don't think either one of us was bitter. I think we understood. That it was time, and yeah, I don't know. I do, I, like, the more I look back on that, the more I'm just, like, so proud. Seems like so many relationships can get so ugly in that moment, and it's just a lot like a divorce.
And you just have to remember that ultimately, like, you both have equity in this thing, so what's gonna support that? What are you looking for? You know, like, I know she really wanted more just ease and stability. In her life, and that's hard to get as an entrepreneur, so how can we also kind of construct that for her?
And, you know, I wanted to, you know, if it was going to be me without her, you know, I wanted to also make sure I was seeing more, you know, upside, so. Those are the things we negotiated and we're able to come to terms and figure it out. It's so interesting. I love this tip about getting a mediator involved versus like getting the lawyers to manage it because of course it's, it is so personal and there are these kind of things that are important to you that it needs to be approached more with emotion versus.
Legality. At the beginning. Uh, yeah, a little bit of both. I feel like you, you don't want to necessarily, I always struggle with this, because I feel like emotion is so important. You don't want to be emotional and, like, and defensive during conversations. But you need to, like, acknowledge your emotion in order to have a logical and grounded conversation.
And you have to... know your needs and your desires. So, you know, you can know if they're being met or not. And in both, in our case, we both had to be willing to compromise a little bit and yeah. When you think about like the last couple of years, you know, you've gone through that, like a co founder situation changing, then you've had, you know, crazy success with launching into hundreds of new retailers and stores.
And I'm sure you've probably had like different low moments as well. What's the key kind of learnings that you could pass on to someone listening right now that kind of like sums up the last few years? I feel like that's such a big question, but like, you know, I feel like you've gone through a lot in the last couple of years and it's like, what advice or learnings could you share?
Also COVID happened in the past few years, which was just so, so much, so many highs, so many lows, you know, it's, I've been thinking a lot about stability and how much, you know, I'm trying to create stability through the business, both for myself and for my employees. But I don't, you know, entrepreneurship is, you feel the instability more, you know, you can see it like, okay, there's going to be high, like there's target might be around the corner, but you also at the supply demand logistics, you know, fire to put out and.
I think it can be just really hard to To manage all of it and to see your success I've definitely had moments where I like I stopped seeing my success Or stopped seeing myself as successful because i'm more focused on like Inventory challenges and like, I don't know, like things internal or things that are happening or if everything's going well enough, then, oh my god, I'm in Target.
I have a brand that's in Target. Yeah. That's amazing. It's amazing. That's amazing. Like the dream. But then you get so obsessed with like, are you doing good enough in Target? And like, even like, You were asking me, like, what do we need to be, like, what do you think brands need to do to be successful on Target?
And I was having such a hard time, like, not immediately slacking my team, being like, oh my god, I have this other idea. Like, what if we, like, we should be doing more, you know, versus just, ah, hey, dude, I'm in Target. Like, that's amazing. It's so, so cool. So I don't know. I think the, the advice is just to, State to stay grounded and to take deep breaths before making big decisions and always try and have alignment.
You know, it should feel good. Not that it's not hard, but you know, nobody's mental health is really worth it. I, you had somebody on the show recently who was like, some African who was like super successful and then they like. You know, it takes a toll on your mental health, like it can. So you just, you know, I had somebody be like, remember nothing's worth your mental health.
And I was just like, Fuck yeah, nothing has ruined my mental health. 100%. 100%. Mental health is hard though. Like, we talk about it all the time. Like, everyone talks about it. But like, it's pretty tricky to like, get to the point where you're like, My mental health is great! Overall, big picture. I feel pretty good right now.
I was feeling real shitty though, for a while. You know, I just had a kid. It was tough. It was hard, and it's hard to know What to do when it's hard, you know, like, because I just want it to be not hard. Like I want it to be good. I want to be positive. I really think that if I put positivity out there, more positive activity is going to come my way.
I believe. In all that, and then it's like, I'm hit with a moment where I'm like, Oh man, I just feel funky. I feel sad. I feel, I feel unsure of who I am and what my light is. And like, that's okay. I think we're just always gonna have moments of that. Like you go through these cycles, and just like allowing for it is just hard.
Yeah, and I also think my husband told me something recently that either he heard or he read or, you know, whatever, but the goal, of course, like you want to be happy all the time and things like that, but that's just not how it works, and so it's just about like being in the season that you're in, even in a day, like, you know, you can have many seasons in a day, and that's okay, and that shouldn't, it shouldn't be this pressure that you have to be happy 100 percent of the time, because we're emotional beings.
There are ups and downs and that's just the way that it is and like, acknowledging that is fine. Yeah. I think like, you know, the point isn't to not suffer at all. It's to, you know, like, I don't know, be at peace with your, with those moments. And like, it's totally fine to realize, like, to acknowledge like, Oh, I'm in a transitional place.
Like I'm in a place right now, like just trying to always have some faith that you're going to find that footing again. 100%. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
Question number one. What is your why? Why are you waking up every day and working on this business? I wake up every day and work on my business so much for my employees to make a great place for them to work. It feels really important these days in a way that, you know. And then also to make vibrators that are just like no big deal because vibrators are no big deal.
And to own pleasure for women without having to pretend it's something else. Amen. Love that. Question number two, what's been your favorite marketing moment recently? We did a, okay, we did a campaign where we made dildos that looked like Mitch McConnell to, uh, raise some money for abortion funds in The U.
S. and I really thought that was great. Um, you know, I just, for us, like, it was something that's really dear to my heart. Before I started the business, I wanted to be a sex therapist. I worked at Planned Parenthood and provided counseling there. It's a really tricky topic to discuss. But I feel really in my bones that if we want people with vulvas to have pleasure, a We should totally be able to control the consequences and this is key to the success of like what I want Dame to change in the world.
So on the one hand, it's like, oh, I don't want make, you know We don't want to always be so political but this feels so important and critical to our mission and then to do it in a way Like, you know, I think like we were like get fucked by the government, but I'm your turn It was just like really, you know, I think we had a lot of fun with it and are always trying to use humor to bring attention to things.
And we raised a ton of money for, for abortion funds and Yeah, it was fun. That's amazing. That's seriously amazing. Congratulations. I love that. Everyone should go check it out. It's on your Instagram. Question number three. What's a go to resource for you at the moment? Book, podcast, or newsletter? Well, so ones that I'm like seeing right now because they're like bookmarked, I still use, and this one's not new, but like I, Hyper Island tool.
I love this tool. What's it called? Hyper Island? Hyper, I want to like click on it. Yeah, it's like this website somebody sent me a long time ago and it has like different like energizers or meeting activities that you can do with your team like brainstorming activities or, you know, and I think in a remote world that's like super helpful.
I also love this like random question generator that helps me do intro questions at the beginning of meetings. So those are fun things. What's that one called? I'm going to link these in the show notes. Oh my gosh. I have to check my Asana task of intro question. I don't remember what it's called. You can send it to me.
You can send it to me another time. I love that. So cool. Thanks. I haven't heard of either of those. So, love that. Question number three. I feel like last time I probably said something like, more, I don't know. Probably better. I'm into it. I love it. Question number four is how are you winning the day at the moment?
My husband is doing like laundry behind me a little bit so I feel like that's winning. Hi husband!
So that's winning. I'm winning the day. I feel like I got work done today, I did things for myself today, and I got to be with my family today. So those are some wins. Many wins. Love that. Many wins. Question number five. What is the worst money mistake you've made in the business? And how much did it cost you?
Oh my god. Oh my god. The worst money mistake I've made, how much did it cost? I feel like so many. I'm like top of mind. Hardware is... expensive. So sometimes if we don't design something correctly and have to rework it, like, like the first run, you know, you'll make something and you prototype it, it works, and then you make 5, 000 of them.
And then maybe you find out like the pin and manufacturing didn't line up with the, with the port. So, like, I remember, like, with Finn years ago, we had to, like, replace a bunch of ports. So, like, those things could be really expensive, but they're also, like, pretty That happens in manufacturing. It's hard to make that mass produce something, but those can be expensive.
I mean, a really early one that now I feel like is So silly. I remember when we first started manufacturing, we found a manufacturer through a us manufacturer who did circuit boards and in order to kind of get our whole system aligned, we made the circuit boards in the U S and then sent the circuit boards to China.
And the import tax on circuit boards are, were like, was like so expensive on top of us main circuit boards were, which were also much more expensive than we make them now. And I'm like, uh. We should have never done that. That was so dumb. You know, you're learning, you know, always learning, always learning.
And we got it done. You know what I mean? Like we made a product pretty quickly. So even though we could have done it better, we could have done it cheaper. That was expensive. We made a product in nine months. Right. Pretty impressive. Pretty impressive. Very impressive. Last question. Question number six.
What is just a crazy story? Good or bad from building Dame? Okay. So when I first started Dame, I remember going to my grandma's country club and I saw all of her friends were sitting at a big card table and I was just starting out Dame and they were like, I'm from a very Jewish world. So they were like, oh, hello, Alexandra.
Like, what are you working on? Like, what are you doing these days? And I was like, okay, I'm gonna tell them. And I was like, I am making a vibrator. And started, you know, starting a sex toy company. And it was like dead silence. And then one of them, which happens to be my cousin's grandma. This is coming to mind because she recently passed last week.
Oh, I'm sorry. That's okay. I don't know, but I remember she was like, I'll buy one. And then all the other like old ladies were like, okay, yeah, we're going to support you. And then they were very supportive. And I just remember thinking that was really funny. Yeah, returning customers. And it was very, really supportive and nice.
thing that this woman who just recently passed did for me. So I'm really. Shout out to her. Yeah. Shout out to her. That is crazy. I love that. Oh, there's, I'm sure there are crazier ones. I feel like there's definitely been some really silly moments in my life where I'm just like, Oh my God, like going through TSA.
I've definitely had like 10 vibrators. I have a few of those stories. We'll, we'll need the book. We'll need the part three. We'll need the part three, the vibe stories. Love the vibe. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I have loved chatting to you as always. Appreciate you, appreciate what you're building in the world, and I can't wait to see you in person again.
Thanks. Thank you. Was it good? It was so good. Oh, I feel like So many good learnings. I had so many weird I felt so like, oh, am I not talking about the I don't know. I don't know, June. You're good. You're good. Trust me, you're good. I'm so sorry we went over. I know it's late for you. Oh, it is late. Yeah, I'm gonna hop off.
But just remember, like, Dunes forever on my name list. It is such a good one. Your skin looks amazing. It looks so good. Thanks. Thank you. I removed my freckles. I know, which I'm not gonna lie. I was like, I'm supportive, but I am a freckle lover. I don't mind freckles. I love them. But really, I had like, when I look at before and after, I'm like, fuck, I'm so happy I did that.
Like, I just had, your skin looks amazing. It was really grouping together. Like my melasma was like getting like so bad. My sunspots was so bad. And you know, and also pregnancy makes your melasma like go totally wild. So like waiting for it to go down, but I keep on looking at it. It looks like I did a weird contour thing, but like, this is just a random brown spot.
I can't really see it to be honest, but I know the feels. You know, you know, it's like, Oh, I see. All right. Yeah. I adore you. Talk soon.