Mimi Bau is doing something every woman wants — making dealing with your period much easier. What started out as a family joke from her younger brother has turned into a successful business of shipping feminine hygiene products hand-selected for your needs right to your door right when your period starts (and they even include special treats in your delivery!) Mimi shares with us how she deals with fear of failing, why it’s important to just go for it, and how her business is supporting women one tampon at a time.
Location: Denver, CO
Occupation: Co-Founder of HEYTOM LLC
University: University of Denver
Secretly Obsessed With: Chips and Guac
On My Nightstand: My Bible
Last Thing You Read: Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us- by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson
How did you get started?
Honestly, the idea started as a joke. There are three girls and then my youngest brother in our family. So one day, we were all laughing that he should ship feminine products to women on their period since he knows so much with having three older sisters. He, in true brother fashion, ran with the idea, told us that he would convince one of his guy friends to convert his room to inventory storage, and would hang up signs saying that if you need tampons, talk to Mike. Anyway, we thought it was hilarious, and then about a year later, my older sister and I both mentioned we had been thinking about the idea for a real business. Then we decided we would go for it, so we officially became an LLC in March 2013 and then launched and started accepting orders in October!
Tell us about your daily routine.
My daily routine usually starts around 6am. I try to eat a full breakfast and have some quiet time where I read and journal to center my day and remind myself what is important. Some mornings, I will meet friends for coffee. Then I go to work, give it my all, and then try to run outside before the sun goes down. Exercising outside is what keeps me going. There is something so wonderful about the fresh air and organic beauty. The evenings, I’m either volunteering, meeting with friends, or working on projects.
What key elements played into your success?
I think that you have to be motivated by a good vision but also determined to continue when at times, things aren’t as exciting. In addition, being able to see the big picture while also giving time and consideration to the smaller details is important while running a business.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
In regards to start-ups, someone once said, “If you are thinking about it, just do it. Don’t agonize over it; just give it a try.”
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
I think that the fear of failure is a real thing. It’s constantly something that can sneak into your thoughts about every stage of your business. You can think about not getting everything ready for the launch on time, not getting orders, not breaking even, not being profitable, and on and on. Don’t give your fears too much thought because they can be paralyzing if you let them. At the end of the day, I try to keep perspective that this is a fun venture where I’m learning new things everyday. Our vision is that we want women to feel taken care of, and we want to celebrate the ways we are women. I keep that in mind because if we help one woman realize that she is a gift and worth it because she felt treated by HEYTOM, I will continue to do my job with joy.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
My older sister, Holly, who is my co-founder. She is incredible, and I can always count on her. She is good at the details and remembers everything! We both are very different people in general, so it works out really well because our strengths are different yet complementary. We each bring unique talents to the business. I could not do this without her.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? When do you feel most successful?
Here in Colorado, we love our mountains. It’s one of my goals to climb all the 14,000+ foot mountains, which in this state, there are 53 of them. So far, I’ve climbed over 15. When you get up before the sunrise, hike a significant elevation gain, and reach the top of one of these babies, you feel on top of the world! And it’s not because it was easy or painless. I love this feeling because you have truly worked hard, put forth a strong effort, maybe even trained in preparation, and made it to the summit- where you can be proud of your accomplishment and soak in a breathtaking view. Life is often like climbing mountains. For me, successfully launching this business and fully operating has been extremely rewarding because it’s taken many long days and sleepless nights. I have felt most successful when I overcome something that is hard and I reach my goal. And let’s be honest- we all love the good view at the top!
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
I would say go for it and have people around you so that you can learn and ask questions. I still regularly call on different friends and mentors who have started their own or currently run their own businesses. They are very helpful since they know first hand about what it’s like and can speak to random details like building a website or which forms to fill out for taxes. Overall, dare to chase your dreams!