Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.
First generation Latina entrepreneur Rebecca Alvarez-Story developed Bloomi, the first-of-its-kind sexual wellness and intimate care brand. She studied sexology, women’s health, and business at UC Berkley and launched the brand in 2018 selling body oils, CBD lubes, vibrators, and vulva care products. It’s since made history as the only industry standard to ensure toxic ingredients aren’t used in intimate products and she became the first Latina founder to launch a sexual wellness brand at Target.
“I wanted it to be an intimacy resource destination for people and for products and content. When you have those things, I feel like not only do you make informed decisions, but you’re happier. Your quality of life is better; you’re more sexually confident; your mental health is better,” Alvarez Story previously told HipLatina. “We are now just getting to the point where we’re talking about it and realizing that it’s about the conversations, but people have so many questions. Most adults didn’t get a lot of sex ed, and so we’re craving that information.”
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
My mom has been my main Latina inspiration. She immigrated here when she was a teenager and has created a beautiful life. Without having much support, she not only pushed through barriers to learn English and graduate high school, but also raised two kids as a stay-at-home mom for 5 years, created a successful career as a hospital executive, learned to invest in real estate, has been in a loving marriage for over 40 years and somehow also finds time to host our 50+ member family for carne asadas and quality time together. I feel lucky that she raised me and that my two girls get to have her in their lives.
If you could meet a Latina icon who is no longer alive, who would it be and why?
Selena. I adored her when I was a kid and her music made me love dancing. If it were possible, I would love to have a conversation with her about what ‘success’ and ‘legacy’ mean to her and also learn more about her creative process for creating music.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Follow your gut.
Who was the first person to believe in your dreams/goals?
My parents, 100 percent. They were my biggest cheerleaders to get into college and helped me raise my first daughter when I was a single mom and just starting off in my career. In terms of my biggest supporter in being an entrepreneur, my husband Matt. I knew that my choice in life partner would be incredibly important, but I know that my career success and Bloomi would not be at the level that they are today without his love and support.
How do you stay connected to your cultural roots?
Language is incredibly important to me. Although I was born in the U.S., my daughters and I are fluent in Spanish and try to speak, read and write it every day. I want them to see bilingualism as a gift I’m passing along to them. Even something as simple as watching a kids movie together in Spanish feels like I’m connecting with my culture, and them.
I’m also looking forward to visiting Mexico a lot more often. Although my family and I often go for vacation, I’m loving immersing myself in smaller towns and enjoying the slower pace my culture has to offer. This year I traveled to Oaxaca with friends for the first time. That trip was magical in ways I cannot explain – the slower pace, local food and stories, and spending time with some friends there was just what my soul needed. It motivated me to start working on my dual citizenship and spend more time exploring where my family is from.
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
Sexual wellness is very important for our overall well being and should not be taboo. The work I do as an entrepreneur and educator in the space improves people’s quality of life –even if with something simple like sharing a new intimacy concept, validating your concern, sharing a product recommendation, answering a question, etc. I encounter lots of negativity from people who don’t agree with sex positivity, but I’m going to keep going.
What motivates you?
I want to create the sex positivity that I needed.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
There have been many moments in my life that pointed me in the direction of this work. I didn’t have sex positive conversations growing up, I didn’t get great sex education in school, and as a young adult had experiences that unfortunately made me fear intimacy. My healing started when I began taking sexual wellness courses at UC Berkeley and created the first sexual wellness major on campus. I saw how holistic sex ed can be healing and was motivated to make it more easily available to everyone. That is what I’m doing today with Bloomi and the content I create.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?
I’m really proud of starting a business. I’m really proud of being the first in my family to go to college.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
I’d like to see Bloomi get to the next milestone of growth: launch in mission-aligned retailers, expand our intimacy offerings and hit 8 figures in annual revenue.
What pop culture moment made you feel seen?
Two come to mind: Bad Bunny speaking Spanish when he won [the Grammy] award and when the movie Coco came out.
How do you practice self care?
My schedule is busy and I get tired. So for me, I try to prioritize four things every week: my health, mental health, pleasure, and time with my family. I work out a lot, do therapy, immerse myself in nature whenever I can, have daily pleasure rituals, date nights with my husband and prioritize my girls over work. The one area I’m working on right now is carving out more time for friends and travel.
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan:
My friend @corissahernandez is such an inspirational Latina entrepreneur. She talks about financial literally and shares lots of great business tips for entrepreneurs on her IG.
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why:
I have so many, but my current fave is Siete. I’m obsessed with their chocolate cookies and almond flour tortillas. I love seeing a family business make it big!