Polly and I met back in 2007 during a semester studying abroad in Madrid. Throughout our time in Spain Polly’s stomach never quite adjusted to the gazpacho, tortilla española or late nights of drinking red wine and eating fried croquetas. When she got back from her study abroad she was diagnosed with colon cancer at the ripe age of 20. Polly luckily was able to kick cancer’s butt, however through the treatment comes hard choices about your body and sexuality. Now 8 years later and cancer free Polly is the CEO and Co-Founder behind a monthly subscription company for sex toys and accessories called Unbound Box. Read on to learn about Polly’s incredible journey.
1. Your job experience is in corporate consulting, how did you take your experience from a consultant job to creating Unbound Box?
The most valuable thing I took away from my time in strategy consulting was how to figure things out on my own. Without fail, there is at least one thing I have to tackle every day at Unbound that I’ve never done before. That’s both intimidating and enticing; working at Deloitte taught me to embrace the latter.
2. Can you tell us a bit more about the mission of Unbound Box and what it stands for? Did anything in your life inspire the creation of Unbound Box?
Unbound’s mission is to encourage women to explore their sexuality and to really own it. I first learned how difficult that can be after I went through menopause at age 21 following radiation therapy for colorectal cancer. I am most passionate about closing the gender gap when it comes to sex and that stems from how embarrassed I was to ask questions about my sexuality after going through cancer. I wholly identify with how uncomfortable it can be for women to talk about their sexual needs, and we want to change that.
3. Working in the sex toy industry how has it changed the way you give an elevator pitch? Have you noticed certain reactions when talking to others?
I honestly don’t really think about it as an elevator pitch because I genuinely believe in what we’re doing at Unbound. I think I have a pretty good sense for when I’m making people feel uncomfortable, and it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. I will say there’s a stark difference between pitching to male vs. female investors. When pitching to women, the reaction is usually really positive, whereas sometimes male investors aren’t quite sure how to respond. I only wish there were more female investors out there.
4. What’s the hardest part of operating a start up?
The hardest part about operating a startup is not doubting yourself. There are the objective moments of success which propel you forward, but more often, there are the subjective lulls. You start to question yourself. It’s important to consistently evaluate your strategy and execution, but not to let self-doubt prevent you from being bold and decisive.
5. What’s your favorite product offered by Unbound Box? Do you have any advice to women out there?
I HAVE TO PICK ONE?! Would you ask a mother to do that?? The first vibrator that really just totally blew my mind was the Minna Limon. It’s not phallic, which I like, and the harder you squeeze it, the stronger it vibrates, so it’s immediately reactive.
And the best advice I can give is that EVERY woman is physically different. Unlike men, our nerve endings are completely unique to us and so our vibrators should be, too. Some (most) women need clitoral stimulation and should buy an external vibrator (e.g., Minna Limon, Iroha Mini). For others, nerve endings might be more numerous and sensitive internally (i.e., g-spot orgasms) and so you should buy a vibrator with internal vibration (e.g., Mona Wave, We-Vibe 4 Plus), and then some might have the most nerve endings near the perineum (i.e., anus) and need stimulation there (and NO that doesn’t make you freaky or anything like that, it’s just where your nerve endings are)!
6. If you were to talk to your 21 year old version self and explain what you now do, what advice would you give her?
Well, first I’d tell her to go get that tumor in her butt taken care of, but then I’d tell her to lighten up. The only guarantee in life is that it’s going to be a bumpy ride, so you might as well buckle up and enjoy it.