Female Founded: Tania Boler, Founder and CEO of Elvie

by Amy Nicholson

Female Founded: Tania Boler, Founder and CEO of Elvie

In homage to International Women’s Day of the 8th March, we’ve dedicated an entire month to celebrating all things female. From brand founders and product innovators to industry leaders, we take a look at the work, life and secrets behind some of beauty’s most successful females.

Innovator, CEO, and problem solver for thousands of women - it’s all in a day’s work for Tania Boler, CEO and Founder of revolutionary women’s tech brand Elvie.

Founding the brand after noticing a real lack of technology to help with female focused issues, her products have gone on to transforms the lives of women suffering from pelvic floor weakness and incontinence.

Today, Tania leads a team of over 100 people in offices from London to Shanghai.

We caught up with her in her London office to discuss her secrets to success, the biggest challenges she faced along the way and how she plans to continue to change the lives of women globally with her game-changing devices.

What did you do before you started Elvie?

I never thought I’d start a business, before Elvie I was working in women’s health research, working in lots of different countries all over the world.

And then I became a mum and realised there was a real gap in women’s technology.

What’s the story behind the brand?

I never had a desire to start a company but I’ve always been a problem solver in many ways.

I found that becoming a mother was a real shock to the system and I hadn’t realized how much change your body goes through.

When I was pregnant and I was at a Pilates class and the instructor said to me ‘Tania, the most important thing you need to do as a woman is look after your pelvic floor’, and at this point, I didn’t even know what it was.

When I was pregnant and I was at a Pilates class and the instructor said to me ‘Tania, the most important thing you need to do as a woman is look after your pelvic floor’, and at this point, I didn’t even know what it was.

So I went home and spoke to my husband, who’s French, and he was so surprised at how little I knew about it, as in France women look after themselves very differently.

So I started researching and reading about it and realised that it’s a huge issue for women - and that’s when I came up with the first product, the Elvie Personal Trainer.

At what point did you quit your day job?

I applied for an innovation competition and I won! That was the day I quit my job and everything changed.

I quit my job and I didn’t really know what I was doing but I knew from a women’s point of view that so much of our bodies and womanhood we don’t talk about, so the one thing I did know was that I could really address the issue as a user.

I thought as a woman, if I want to do my pelvic floor exercises, why should I lie in a bed in a hospital and be hooked up to a horrible machine?

I thought as a woman, if I want to do my pelvic floor exercises, why should I lie in a bed in a hospital and be hooked up to a horrible machine?

What if you could have something where you could walk around at home and it would be fun - like a personal workout that was motivating, quick, take just 5 minutes to do and be easy.

That was the ambition that I had for the product.

How did you go about creating the first product?

I had no clue how to make it, I’m not an engineer but one day I was out raising money and I met Alex, who had started Jawbone - a premium tech brand - after starting university.

He really helped me find the best tech talent, we hired the best engineers and the best product designers - that’s when the Elvie Trainer was born.

What inspired you to create such ‘out of the box’ products?

With the Elvie Trainer, we didn’t want to just create a health device - we wanted to change the way people thought about their bodies.

We did it by adapting subtle things like changing the language and placing it more as a beauty and lifestyle product.

After working in tech, I realised that the problem was actually much bigger and that women’s health and wellness was overlooked completely - partly because it was such a male dominated industry.

I started to think about the worst products for women and I realised the one that optimised it more than anything was the breast pump. It’s such a horrific, barbaric bit of equipment - it’s big, it’s cumbersome, so we thought let's just tear up the rulebook and start again.

I started to think about the worst products for women and I realised the one that optimised it more than anything was the breast pump. It’s such a horrific, barbaric bit of equipment - it’s big, it’s cumbersome, so we thought let's just tear up the rulebook and start again.

What if we could create something that’s just so fun and easy to use, you can just put it in your bra, let go and no one even knows you’re using it.

When I think about why I’ve designed these products, mostly, it’s been out of anger. Why should we as women have to deal with such badly designed products.

When you talk to women who have used old-fashioned breast pumps they say they feel ‘like a cow’. It’s the same with old-fashioned pelvic floor trainers - they’re literally like torturous devices.

Why should being a woman mean that we have to deal with such bad design and bad experiences?

Discover more about the Elvie Breast Pump>

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced at work and how have you overcome it?

I think the hardest thing setting up Elvie was in the beginning when everyone said we were crazy.

We were developing something which everyone said would be impossible, everyone said that we’ll never get it into retail, you’re never going to get celebrities to talk about it, it’s just not going to work - and that was really hard especially when you’re talking to investors and you need money.

I think the hardest thing setting up Elvie was in the beginning when everyone said we were crazy.

The key thing for me was to just focus on the women that we were trying to help - and then the rest just followed.

What is the secret to success?

Looking back, I think the key is to just stay focused. Strategy is about not doing things and I think as an entrepreneur you can spend all day going out, perfecting your pitch deck, having lots of coffees but ultimately you need to be focusing on the product.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?

It would be to stop worrying so much about what people think. I think often I would spend so much time trying to please other people.

I’d spend so much time trying to get people to like me and I think a lot of young women can often be like that.



I think once we can be bold enough to be more direct and be more honest, we’ll have better relationships and are able to do more.

What would you say to those who are too embarrassed to talk about female issues such as pelvic floor issues or incontinence?

The crazy thing about pelvic floor health is that 1-in-3 women are suffering from issues which can be fixed through simple exercise.

Your pelvic floor is part of what makes you a woman, it’s at the very core of you - it’s to do with your sexuality, femininity, it’s how you give birth - you need to look after it and I think people are starting to recognise that now.

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