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Pleo Hero: Valentina Milanova, Daye

Medical issues are rightly dominating so many everyday conversations now.

This month’s Pleo Hero Valentina Milanova is doing her part to improve one vital aspect of healthcare.

Her company Daye aims “to raise standards in female health”, starting with offering more sustainable tampons sold on a subscription basis. 

[Note: We spoke to Valentina before the coronavirus crisis really took hold. 

But even a quick glance at their website makes clear that like all of us, they’re trying their best to ride out the storm and be helpful to their community.]

It’s not long since Daye launched your tampon subscription service – that must be exciting.

It’s a really neat feeling.

Over the past 18 months, we’ve been building our production in south London, creating all of our own machines, building our brand, building our team. 

And now we’re in a place where we can finally share our product with the world. We’re excited to provide a safer, more sustainable way to manage painful periods.

Can you tell us some of the challenges Daye (and you) faced early on?

One thing that was challenging was finding design engineers that would be interested in working on tampons, rather than cars and planes and trains. 

So we ended up hiring lots of design engineers from the art world, who are used to working on big art installations. 

They’ve taken this really interesting approach to machine building: very lean, very agile.

As well as the tampons, you also come to offices (like Pleo’s, earlier this year) to help educate people.

A big part of what we do is provide meaningful educational content on female health – we aim to bridge the gap between WebMD and Cosmo. 

We do that in two main ways: our blog Vitals… and we go to large corporates and small companies to give presentations.

We think there’s a lack of good quality information around a lot of female conditions, so we aim to provide that, in a way that’s digestible but science-backed.

Getting to Pleo, why did you feel we were worth trying to manage expenses?

We’re quite a complex business from an operations perspective – we have design engineering, supply chain, regulatory approvals, growth, brand… all of these different teams that manage their own budgets.

In terms of accountability and making things a little less operationally complex, it made a lot of sense to use a system that syncs with Xero and automatically generates invoices. 

It just made our lives a lot easier and reduced the red tape and bureaucracy we had to deal with.

Is that a specific challenge for you guys – having so many equally important teams pulling at the same time?

Yes, equally important teams with their equally important budgets!

And at the end-of-the-month, I have to be the conductor who kind of ties everything together. 

Being able to rely on Pleo’s beautiful data visualisation just makes my life a lot easier.

How has Pleo changed the way your team works?

It changes a lot of late-night stressing over “what was this invoice?”, “who paid it?”, “how do we categorise it”? 

It frees up a lot of my time and creates a lot less stress for the team.

Can you think of an a-ha moment you’ve had with Pleo?

We’ve got a lot of varied expenses.

So as a founder, being able to easily see [where money was spent] and report that back to our board and investors just makes life a lot easier.

That’s my biggest responsibility… making sure that we’re being financially prudent. And I find it very easy to do with Pleo.

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