Jonna Piira is CEO & Cofounder of Kali, a monthly subscription box leading the feminine hygiene revolution. Kali hopes to help female consumers avoid the toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals found in standard feminine hygiene products by providing easy, convenient access to organic tampons with Kali Boxes. Kali Box is a subscription box containing a custom selection of organic tampons plus other period-friendly products delivered on a monthly basis, or on whatever schedule that works best for the customer.
Interview with Jonna Piira, CEO & Cofounder of Kali
Based in: Florida and NYC
Originally from: Born in Finland / Raised in South Florida
Superpower: My work ethic
Name a woman in history that you admire & why:
I admire Julia Child for following her dreams even when other people didn’t believe in her and for her perseverance in every aspect of her life.
Words you live by:
Be vulnerable. It’s a strength.
What inspired you to start your current venture?
Throughout my life, I have always had a deep desire to start my own venture and change the world in a positive way. When I started working on a tampon subscription idea with a friend, I learned about all of the chemicals in standard tampons and pads. That made me realize that we had an opportunity to start a company that could educate women about the toxic chemicals in their sanitary products, and it would give us the ability to generate positive change.
What is your company doing to make history today?
Kali is making history by educating women about the products they’re putting into their bodies. We want to empower women to make well-informed decisions for all things female.
What is one thing your company has accomplished that you are most proud of?
I am incredibly proud that Kali secured our Series A funding this year.
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
Kali is working on a really exciting partnership with I Support the Girls, an organization that collects and distributes donations of new and gently-used bras and new, sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads to homeless women and girls across North America and in 4 locations worldwide.
Through our partnership with I Support the Girls, Kali is able to donate organic tampons and other sanitary products to homeless shelters across the country, and we run a quarterly bra drive for our Kali Box subscribers. This partnership enables us to give back and help women in need.
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
Organic feminine hygiene products have the challenge of competing on the market with mainstream feminine hygiene brands. At Kali, we believe that the key to our success lies in educating women about what they are putting into their bodies when they don’t use organic tampons.
However, education is a longer sales cycle in comparison to simply selling a product. Banding together with other companies in the organic feminine hygiene space would help us ensure that our message was heard. Each organic feminine hygiene company is different and we believe that the market is big enough for all of us to succeed.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
Subscription boxes are a trend in my industry that I believe will continue to grow in the future.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?
I face challenges every day. I think the biggest challenge for me thus far was my decision to leave a successful career in finance to take a chance on building something amazing on my own. Building your own business is a scary and lonely journey at times, but it is truly rewarding. It is helpful to surround yourself with other inspiring entrepreneurs who can relate to your experience.
What were you doing before your current role?
I was a CFO for a hand tool company and a frozen pizza company.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
I think it is very important to take risks and do something you love. If you are unhappy in your career, take it as a sign that it is time to move on. Always remember that if you branch out on your own and things don’t work out, you can always go back to your previous career, or try something else. Your decisions are not set in stone.
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
When I moved to NYC, I joined Dreamers and Doers. It’s a group of women doing kickass things and changing the world in a positive way in all areas of business. I have met some of the most amazing women from that group.
Fun fact about yourself:
I love to cook, and I love to entertain, so I wanted to create something that would enable me to do both on a monthly basis. When I moved to NYC, I decided to start a book club and host monthly meetings. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to cook and entertain, and the book club is now 15 women strong!