By Ethan Forman
The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tania Green tested out her concept for “PMS” bites, little snack bites that she says help with premenstrual food cravings and irritability through a Kickstarter campaign. She has done so well with the product that she is ready to expand….really expand. Next up, the Shark Tank! Go get em Tania!!
The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
Like many women, North Shore native Tania Green said she battles intense mood swings, irritability and food cravings from premenstrual syndrome.
These symptoms are on display in a clever video she created for a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that explains how she came up with her Boston-based healthy snack company called PMS Bites.
The company also caught the eye of producers of ABC’s entrepreneurial show, “Shark Tank,” and on the season finale on Friday, May 20, viewers can find out if one of the five shark investors will take the bait and offer to invest in Green’s startup.
“When I PMS, I bloat, I cramp, I’m angry, I break up with boyfriends, and I will eat anything in sight. It’s debilitating!” the company’s CEO and founder screams in the video, throwing back her arms. “The fact of the matter is, you are not you when you PMS.”
Green said in an interview PMS is no laughing matter, and eating unhealthy snacks was a temporary and guilt-inducing solution.
“PMS is a real syndrome,” she said, “90 percent of women struggle with it every month.” There are 150 symptoms associated with it, she said, and women who suffer symptoms from the hormone imbalance are not functioning optimally.
“You are not yourself,” she said.
Since launching her Kickstarter campaign last year, Green, a graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, said her business has attracted a lot of attention. Her startup was a 2015 finalist in the MassChallenge startup accelerator competition. In March 2015, the “Today” show featured her company in a segment.
What are PMS Bites?
The buzz is all about Green’s vegan, gluten-free and organic bite-sized treats, which have 50 calories each. They are meant to satisfy a woman’s PMS cravings.
Ingredients include dates, cocoa powder, almond butter, gluten-free oats, pecans and other ingredients, plus herbs — such as dandelion root, Siberian ginseng and chamomile — to help control bloating, cramping and mood swings.
It’s a far cry from the pizza and chocolate ice cream Green is shown scarfing down in the Kickstarter video. The campaign’s goal was to raise $5,000 — she wound up raising nearly $8,500.
Green started the company and created the Kickstarter video in February 2015; eight months later, she hit $20,000 in revenues, she said.
While that may not seem like much, Green has been bootstrapping — relying on the company’s cash flow and her own resources instead of relying on outside investors, in addition to launching a successful Kickstarter campaign.
There’s another reason she hasn’t made more money — at first, Green was producing all the PMS Bites by hand. She estimates she made 8,000 of them herself before hiring her co-production facility, Boston Baking.
Taking a bite out of PMS
Green’s company grew out of a New Year’s resolution to record how her days went for three consecutive years. She found all of her bad days “were around her PMS time.”
Knowing that healthy eating could help with her mood swings, Green, who lives in Boston’s North End, tried to create a nutritious treat that would satisfy food cravings. After long hours in the kitchen, she came up with something she liked. She gave them to friends, who liked them, too.
“I actually have something that is helping a significant pain point in many people’s lives,” Green said.
Last July, “Shark Tank” producers asked her to apply to the show. And in September, Green flew to Los Angeles for the taping.
She put herself through two months of intense preparation. She said she got every smart person she knew to grill her about her business plan. In addition to practicing her pitch, she even estimated the length of the hallway the “Shark Tank” entrepreneurs walk down to enter the main studio, and she practiced walking onto the set.
Green can’t say if a shark investor bit on PMS Bites.
“Overall the experience was the best experience of my life,” she said.
North Shore ties
A Lynn native, Green attended Our Lady of Nazareth Academy in Wakefield and Gordon College in Wenham.
In 2008, as a senior at Gordon, Green, who’s heterosexual, sought to form an LGBT support club on campus. Green said she worked with the administration for about a year to start the club, which did not get off the ground before she graduated.
She went on to graduate school at Simmons College School of Management, where she earned a master’s degree in communication management. She worked for consulting firms with both for-profit and nonprofit companies as clients.
Green has ramped up her small company. In addition to production help, Green uses a fulfillment center in Watertown, and a customer service center in Maine, to keep things as local as possible.
The treats are available at several retail locations in the Boston area: Boston Common Coffee, Cocoanuts Chocolate Shop in the North End, Mother Juice in Cambridge, and Nourish Your Soul in Medford.
On the company’s website, pmsbites.com, people can purchase the treats, or subscribe to have them delivered every 30 days.
“It’s delivered when they need it the most,” Green said.