Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Woman at Work: Day in the Life of Ashley West, Founder of "Bloom Undergarments"

Photo Courtesy of Bloom Undergarments
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Think back to when you had your period? Were you nervous? What did you do? Were you prepared to start wearing pads or tampons? For this week's "Woman at Work" feature, we talked to Ashley West, Founder of "Bloom Undergarments." There are so many reasons to love Bloom Undergarments but read out to find out just what they are exactly!

Since 2014, Bloom Undergarments has been on a mission to liberate the traditional period panty. When Ashley West (@girlsrockb) was 16-years-old, she would often wear bikini bottoms or any regular underwear for extra protection during her period. She would practice the same routine for about ten years but eventually, she grew frustrated that there wasn't anything on the market that met her period needs.

"My ah-ha moment came when I realized I didn't want to go into my 30's dealing with the same issue, so I was going to make something to fix it," she said. Throughout this entire process, West never really expected Bloom Undergarments to become a full-fledged business. "I wanted something strong enough to support me when I slept crazy, without leaking, and what would keep my pad in place. It wasn't until I shared what I was doing with other women that I realized we all had quirky techniques to get through our periods, so the demand was there," she said. 

Sometimes when it comes to periods, there seems to be little or no discussion about it. But luckily, West believes that millennials have actually started to discuss the role of periods in womanhood. "Because we grew up in the era of public sharing (thanks to social media), we're not afraid to express our feelings or interests with others," she said. In fact, 2015 was acclaimed "the year of the period" because of many companies like West's and women simply talking about it. "I think as long as we continue the conversation, it'll become more the norm of a role in womanhood. By the next generation rolls around, it won't be such a big deal (same with breastfeeding), she added. 

In order to normalize periods, there first has to be an acknowledgment that periods are in fact normal. "We're not broken, diseased or ill because of it. Yet, that stigma from the earliest of days where we're "ill" and must stay home still kind of lingers," she said. For many, West believes that periods have become an "eww" factor that is unladylike to discuss. Like breastfeeding, periods are normal and a part of the cycle. "It shouldn't be confined to secrecy or be viewed as disgraceful," she said. 

Running your own business can be very challenging but it is important to have some fun when you can. In her spare time, West enjoys playing video games. As an avid video gamer, she actually still has the original Nintendo console and game she had as kids. Prior to starting her business, West received her B.S. in Public Relations, an M.S. in Marketing, along with the experience of previously running her own PR consulting firm. 

Bloom Undergarments are made for any woman in mind. They are also made for the woman who wants to be free from stashing embarrassing, worn out panties in the back of the dresser. Or the woman who wants to play sports without worrying that their pad will shift or who wants to be able to sleep without worrying about the leaks. 

In five years, West hopes to see Bloom Undergarments as a household brand for period underwear. Although she doesn't have anyone in mind as to who she wants to work with, she would love to collaborate with a brand that isn't afraid to color outside the lines. "Other period underwear brands will come along (I hope) but I want to be the one that has the most unique, funky, and fun designs--I mean why not? Your period doesn't have to suck," she said.

Simply put, Bloom Undergarments are made for the everyday woman who just wants a pair of affordable, high quality, period underwear. If you or someone you know is on the brink of an idea or launching something great, West offers this bit of advice: 

"Don't wait for perfection because perfection may never arrive. Work with what you have, and little by little you'll step back one day to realize you've built something amazing." 

My Black Girl Magic is FEARLESS! 

Model wearing Bloom Undergarments

Connect with Bloom Undergarments


By: Ajea Nicole

Ajea Nicole is a 20 something from Boston, MA who craves anything style related. Though her love of style originated from scouring her mom’s closet, she often gleans style inspiration from Solange and June Ambrose. When she is not catching up on Project Runway, she can be found working out at the gym, reading a good book or
somewhere in a sushi restaurant.

Connect with her!
Twitter: @ajeanicole
Instagram: @ajeanicole

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