We had the good fortune of connecting with Polly Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Polly, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk, like all things in life, is relative. I think that with each life experience, our risk assessment adjusts based on the tradeoffs we’re presented with — either making us more or less risk averse. For me, the biggest life experience that impacted my perception of risk was being diagnosed with cancer in 2007. At 21, I was faced with a diagnosis that gave me a 30% chance of survival. When you’re assessing your life from that perspective, all other risks feel negligible. You also make a lot of promises to yourself — mostly, that if you survive, you will make good use of what time you have left. As a result of cancer, I found myself less afraid of rejection or failure. That is also coming from a place of privilege as a white woman, but generally speaking, rejection just no longer scared me. I found myself willing to apply for positions and opportunities that, before cancer, I don’t think I would have had the bravery to go after. The biggest risk I ever took was starting my own business in 2014 with my co-founder. For me, the anguish of not knowing whether I could do it was greater than the risk of failure. It certainly has not been without huge risk and heartache, but I am deeply grateful that cancer, for me, led me to be less afraid of risk.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Polly Rodriguez is the CEO and Co-Founder of Unbound, a rebellious sexual wellness company for womxn. Polly went through a cancer diagnosis at 21 that resulted in early onset menopause and found herself shopping for a vibrator at a seedy shop next to the highway in St. Louis, Missouri. Ten years later, Polly and Sarah Jayne started Unbound with the goal of taking vibrators, lubricants and sexual accessories mainstream through elevated design, body-safe materials, and accessible pricing. Today, the company has been hailed by the New York Times as the “ideological center of the tech-savvy, female-led women’s sexuality movement” with over 50 products created by a team of 10 women in New York City.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shout out my co-founder Sarah Jayne who took on the greatest risk of all by starting Unbound.