Women in Business – Surviving the First Two Years: “Are you ready to go all-in?” Interview with Jessica Postiglione

Interview with Jessica Postiglione, the founder and CEO of Bonny, on her experiences being a woman entrepreneur.

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, and describe your company.

I am Jessica Postiglione, the Founder & CEO of Bonny, a deliciously clean and sustainably packaged fiber supplements brand that is naturally better. Previously, I was the CEO & Co-Founder of OLIKA, a design-forward brand reinventing hand sanitizer. Before making the leap to entrepreneurship, I was a finance professional and corporate strategist. I am a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Harvard Business School.

Bonny fiber is just plain better… better-for-you, better-looking, and better-for-the-environment.  Thoughtfully formulated, with natural and organic ingredients, our proprietary fiber blend is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and contains an amazing 7+ grams of fiber serving. This is 25%+ of your recommended daily fiber intake.

Bonny is also plastic-free featuring forever recyclable steel tins. 

Our name, Bonny, means beautiful in Scottish, and that is how we believe fiber should taste, look and make you feel. We launched in December 2020 and sold exclusively at trybonny.com. Bonny is a proud female-founded brand with personality.

What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in the first two years of operating your business? How did you overcome it?

Aside from the financial challenges of starting a business on your own, the lack of benchmarks is very challenging.  In a corporate setting, there are clear targets to hit or excel. When starting a new business from scratch, especially if the venture is innovative and disruptive, it’s hard to know exactly how the business is doing. 

To overcome this, it’s important to have near-term objectives and strive to hit those milestones. There are many steps from launch to success and it’s often not a linear path. Start with achievable targets at the beginning, which may be adding 5 new partners a week or a new customer each day, and look to build on that momentum.

What are some of the biggest digital marketing challenges you have faced to date? How have you overcome them?

The cost of acquiring customers online continues to climb. Digital markets are competing for eyeballs which are driving up the cost of acquiring new customers for businesses. We look to multiple marketing channels as to not become dependent on just one. Moreover, with our content, we aim to provide value and educate as 95% of Americans aren’t getting enough fiber.

Please tell us what lead you to the path of entrepreneurship. 

As far back as I can remember, I have been interested in business. At one point in high school, I even tried selling homemade arts and crafts. It did not pan out as well as hoped, but a number of lessons were learned in the process!

After college, I was an investment banker and held a number of corporate strategy roles post-business school. I always wanted to do something entrepreneurial and I am now on my second venture, Bonny, which was born during the pandemic. During that time I became obsessed with nutrition and in turn, realized what I was eating was not ideal. I went down a research rabbit hole… reading everything I could and talking to every expert I could find. I thought I knew the basics, but (spoiler alert) I didn’t.  

I also discovered that like 95% of Americans, I didn’t consume enough fiber which is troubling because it has so many health benefits like improving regularity, aiding with weight management, and boosting immunity. 

I tried the fiber supplements on the market and was really disappointed by the experience so I became motivated to develop my own.

What are the three most important things every woman entrepreneur should do, when first thinking about starting a business?

Are you passionate about the idea? The venture will take up a lot of time and mental energy. It’s also important to be a champion of the product and service you are building as you will need to convince vendors, customers, press, etc. that they should take a chance on you. 

Are you ready to go all-in? According to Crunchbase, in 2020, only 2.3% of funding went to women-led startups. While there certainly have been more conversations and focus on improving this stat, the reality is that it’s harder for female founders to raise funding relative to their male counterparts. If you can, consider starting your business while still generating income from other sources to get the venture off the ground and demonstrate proof of concept.

Start to have conversations about your idea early and ask questions. I’ve been advised in the past to keep an idea completely confidential before launching. The reality is that the execution of the idea will make or break your business. (How many social networks existed before Facebook launched?)  Start to speak with experts in the field and understand how to position your business to stand out. Early conversations with potential vendors helped us shape Bonny and avoid pitfalls because we were able to understand manufacturing constraints early in the product design.

Are there actionable steps a woman in business should take to ensure that her company is successful in two years?

At the end of the day, it depends on how you define success. Whatever those metrics are, work backward with clear milestones to create a plan to set yourself up to achieve those targets. Focus on the data, both qualitative and quantitative. Set check-ins for yourself and the business and see how you are tracking against those objectives. Were they too ambitious? Were they not ambitious enough? Pay close attention to your financial performance, your key performance metrics (KPIs), and hold yourself accountable. Outside advisors can be a great source of objective advice and excellent sounding boards.

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