Alyssa Bertram is an advocate for women and has a strong passion for their health and wellness. This year she launched easy (“easy period”), a subscription service that delivers 100% organic cotton feminine hygiene products to women’s doors. A portion of the proceeds go to delivering pads and health education to girls in Kenya. This is such a brilliant and innovative way to helping others in need.
Was there a defining moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
There wasn’t necessarily one “Eureka!” moment. It was this desire to create something beyond my 9 to 5 that I felt would add value to women’s lives. The idea of having my tampons delivered was something I talked about for years; I wished this service existed. In 2015 my mom became very ill, and it was facing that situation and making it through (my mom is doing great today) that made me realize these sorts of ideas are important. It gave me the push to stop saying I wished this service existed and to start looking into how to make it happen.
Being an entrepreneur can be tough at times. What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed and lost?
My advice for entrepreneurs is really just advice for life because it’s all the same. First, trust your gut. I know we hear it all the time, but I don’t just mean it passively. I mean actively practice listening to that inner knowing, because the more you do, the stronger it becomes. Many people will have advice for you, but at the end of the day, the value you create is important precisely because it’s unique to you.
Second, be patient. Especially in a society where instant gratification has become like a drug, it’s important to return to time-tested things. Everyone wants to get themselves out there, and fast, but clichés like “Nothing worth having comes easy” and “Good things take time” stand true. There is no clap-your- hands way to success. It takes time, hard work and perseverance.
Finally, believe in yourself and see the best-case scenario in your mind. Nobody will ever see anything in you that you can’t first see in yourself. I can’t stress this enough. Personal growth will be paramount in the success of any venture. Visualize things going the best way possible and you’ll create the mental strength to handle it when they do.
What inspired you to start your company?
I’ll be honest with you; what really inspired me was the desire to build something for myself. Instead of plugging myself into an existing system and doing things someone else's way, I had this massive yearning to build something from the ground up and do it my way. The idea for the service was something I had been talking about for years, and I finally just decided it was the perfect opportunity to build something. I believe the best businesses are those that eliminate a hassle from our lives, and that’s exactly what easy. does.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
I think my biggest accomplishment was launching—setting a date and deciding that on this date it will begin. It forced me to get things done and to set aside the idea of things being perfect. It was so beautiful to have our website go live and see orders come through. All of a sudden this idea was a real tangible service, and my packages were on their way to women’s houses.
What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
Being an entrepreneur means being hungry. I feel that the reason I wanted to create something of my own is because I have this ferocious hunger for knowledge, for change, for innovation. I like to see things move forward, and I’m willing to do the work to make that happen. I don’t think it’s for everyone, though. I think a lot of entrepreneurs would agree with me: it’s less of a choice and more of a need. It’s this feeling that this is what you have to do.
Is there anyone you look up to in your field?
So many people! There are so many women just absolutely killing it that I never need to look far for inspiration. Earlier this year I was at a conference called Create + Cultivate, which was founded by Jaclyn Johnson to inspire female entrepreneurs. She took this conference from a gathering of 50 women to 400+ women at the event I was at. She hosts multiple events a year in different states and creates these beautiful experiences for women. She is a huge inspiration to me.
Do you recommend mentorship?
I think mentors are great. I don’t have a formal mentor, but I have a group of people I respect and trust who I go to when I need a second opinion on things. It’s sometimes nice to hear a new perspective on something, especially if it’s something you’re very close to.
Where do you see yourself or your business in the next five to ten years?
I don’t want to reveal too much because sometimes it’s nicer to just keep quiet and act. I will say that I intend to create value for women in many ways beyond this service. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to pursue their dreams?
Get very clear on why you want to do whatever it is you want to do. Spend some time stripping away things like how other people will view you, the desire to make your parents proud and other external factors, and get clear on the deep desire behind what it is you want to do. This will be your internal motivator every time things feel too hard.
Where do you feel most creative?
Great question! I feel most creative when I’m by myself walking around the city with music on. The city is like the best movie I’ve ever seen. In a span of a few minutes it can inspire me, make me feel sad and make me smile. Also, sitting on a bench somewhere or in a coffee shop reading the words of other great women inspires me big time. It makes everything feel possible. Another big one is watching live music, especially artists from Toronto. I see them expressing their creativity in such a vulnerable way and I feel the impact it has on me. It inspires me to try to express myself in any way I can to create even a sliver of that impact.
Do you regret any mistakes you've made?
Ain’t nobody got time for regret. Tomorrow’s not promised, and what a waste of today it would be to sit around regretting yesterday. I know my time is borrowed, and I also know how little I know! So mistakes are par for the course. They’re lessons, and I still have a lot to learn.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I get to interact with all sorts of amazing women (and men!). I feel like I truly have something to offer that makes women’s lives easier, which I’m all for. I feel like it provides a platform to iterate on and to continue creating value for women in new ways.
Who (or what) is your motivation to keep going?
I do what I do from a deep desire to empower women locally and abroad. That keeps me going. Also, external motivators like people telling me how much they love the service or what a great idea it is—that helps too.
If you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
One person I would love to collaborate with is Rupi Kaur. She inspires me so much. Her book Milk and Honey is so raw and so beautiful, and her photo series that addresses menstrual shame resonated so much.
What is the one thing you can't leave the house without? (Other than your cell phone!)
I don’t have an interesting answer for this at all. I’d have to say a book!