To celebrate this International Women’s Day (and really, shouldn’t that simply be everyday?!), we’re profiling some incredible women in the lifestyle space. Meet Karen Danudjaja, founder of superfood latte brand Blume. —Noa Nichol
Hi Karen! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m the founder and CEO of Blume. I graduated with a business degree from UBC and started a career in commercial real estate prior to starting Blume in 2018. I live in North Vancouver with my partner and pup, Charlie.
When and why did you launch Blume? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
When I was 27, I was working in commercial real estate, a very relationship focused business and that meant a lot of coffee meetings. Over time, I developed a sensitivity to caffeine, which led to digestion and sleep issues, anxiety, and always feeling like I needed a nap by 3pm. Needing to cut the caffeine, I looked at the menu board and I didn’t find many options that fit my wellness goals. I started creating recipes for healthier versions of my favourite coffee shop drinks for people like me.
What products/services do you offer, and what makes them unique?
Blume makes superfood lattes—better-for-you versions of your favourite coffee shop drinks boosted with superfoods. Think of like this: your barista and nutritionist meet and reinvent your latte. Blume superfood lattes are organic, plant-based, and low in caffeine and sugar.
As we approach International Women’s Day, what makes you proudest about being a female entrepreneur in today’s climate?
This is a difficult time for many businesses and Blume has faced many of the same challenges seen in the industry from rising costs, ingredient availability, inflation, and reduced consumer spending. I bootstrapped Blume’s growth for the first 5 years. And while we raised our first round of funding in mid 2022 to set us up for the next stage of growth, I am deeply proud to grow Blume in a sustainable way. We’re growing smart rather than growing at any cost. Only 2 per cent of businesses owned by women make it over $1 million and I want to see Blume around for a long time to support people on their wellness journeys.
Have you had to overcome any particular challenges, as a female business owner and brand founder? Have you felt any advantages, as a woman running her own show?
I prefer to focus on the opportunities it has created. In my experience women support women. I have been incredibly lucky to meet some of the most generous and kind founders and friends on this journey. I am grateful for the women who open doors, make introductions, take late night calls and celebrate wins too. I have found having a group of women championing and happy to see you succeed is one of the most uplifting parts of this journey.
In the same vein, how do you help give other women a leg up?
Blume is run by an amazing all-women team. Today, we have 13 women all working towards our business goals. I want to give each and every one of them the opportunity to grow and learn as the business grows. The name Blume comes from the idea of growth. We build “bluming” into every part of business—in particular for our team. Giving women a leg up starts with our team and extends to the greater community. We celebrate and support one another every day.
In terms of your products being available on Amazon, how has that shopping platform assisted you in running/growing your business and increasing your customer base online?
Launching Blume on Amazon was a natural next step in our mission to bring fun and play back to wellness. Selling on Amazon allows us to reach a lot more people and support our growing community on their wellness journeys.
If you could give one piece of advice to other women entrepreneurs, or females thinking of starting their own business, what would it be?
My one piece of advice: start. I spent five years in a role that didn’t inspire me because I didn’t believe in myself and was afraid to take that first step. No one has all the answers. No one has the perfect idea. If you have confidence in yourself and faith that you committed to building, willing to ask questions and going to learn on the fly, then you have the most important things you need to start.