Social Taboos Make Great Business Opportunities

Looking for a product development idea? Dive into the cringe-worthy world of social taboos. You’ll likely find wide-open markets that even entrepreneurs ignore because we’re afraid of them.

Naama Bloom, the entrepreneur behind this week’s viral video success The Camp Gyno, is now building a fortune on women’s menstrual cycles. Her business, HelloFlo, is not the only service that delivers feminine supplies to your door by subscription. (Others include The Period Store, SentHerWay, LeParcel and Juniper.) But, thanks in part to the video and the company’s name, it’s likely the one that will stick with you.

I can barely write the word ‘menstruating’ without squirming, which is kind of absurd. But so goes with what’s permissable in our culture.

When I first learned about HelloFlo last February, I was skeptical about its ability to acquire customers. Tampons delivered to my door? Hmmm, kind of uncomfortable to think about. I don’t want pay any more attention to that time of the month than I already do. In retrospect, I see I was too blocked by the subject to give the product proper consideration.

Still, I’ve been transfixed by Naama’s sudden success for days: How did she take a nearly unmentionable topic, turn it into a business, and then create a press bonanza that’s sending her sales through the roof?

On the surface, we may swoon over the video’s hilarious script and mesmerizing cinematography. Then we’ll click through to HelloFlo and see she’s created an elegant solution to a sometimes messy, not-always-on-schedule happenstance us girls are conditioned to hide at all costs.

But that’s not what made the video go viral.

We’re enamored by the video because Naama just changed a cultural conversation about our periods. Her video–and the way she packages products like the “period starter” kit (in a beautiful gift box, which includes tampons, pads, a cute canvas pouch, and other “goodies”)–turns something that’s been dubbed “the curse” into a cause for celebration (or, as the narrator of the video calls it:”the red badge of courage”).

Even if you’re not in the market for monthly delivery, you have to give the woman props for social disruption of such magnitude. It’s kind of liberating.

What marketing lessons do you take from Camp Gyno?