These Founders Created A Safe Space For Women's Health
In our Ask A Founder series, we chat with female founders about their passion, entrepreneurial path, and life outside of "work." Here, we meet Jamie Norwood, co-founder and co-CEO of Stix, which offers health products like UTI and pregnancy tests that you could shop from the comfort of home. Read on for how she and her co-founder Cynthia got their start (and the awkward story that led to their a-ha moment) and how they’re supporting women on their reproductive journey.
How would you describe your brand in five words? Convenient, discreet, judgment-free vaginal health
What was your aha moment for Stix? It actually all started when [my co-founder] Cynthia [Plotch] was buying a pregnancy test at the drugstore and ran into her boyfriend’s mom! When Cynthia was telling me about the experience, the conversation turned from a debrief about how awkward the incident was to a full-on dialogue about how terrible the experience of buying vaginal and reproductive health products was for us, and it must feel this way for so many others. It wasn’t long after the idea for Stix was born and we never looked back!
How do you get in the right headspace to start your day? I have a very simple morning routine! I just make coffee and get to work. As much as I’d love to be the kind of person who goes on a long walk in the mornings or to a workout class, I’m not her. I sleep pretty much as late as I can before logging onto work!
As cofounders, how do you make collaborative decisions on the direction for Stix? We each have areas of the business that we’re responsible for. But when it comes down to it, we just talk it out! We respect each other’s expertise and trust that we have Stix’s best interests in mind. We also go to cofounder coaching regularly and it’s become a great space for us to dig into any disagreements.
What are the top Googled health questions Stix helps answer? Recently, a few health questions that Stix has helped to answer are:
- When do you take the morning-after pill and how does it work?
- Is a copper IUD an emergency contraceptive? How does it work?
- What is the difference between the morning-after pill and the abortion pill?
- When is the right time to take a pregnancy test after ovulation?
- How do I prevent and treat UTIs?
How do you help people talk about or approach taboo topics? Stix has a blog “Real Talk” that was created with the intent to inform people about vaginal and reproductive health so they can make confident health decisions. With the contributions of our panel of medical advisors, we are striving to create a supportive community so people don’t feel lost and alone on their health journeys.
How do you celebrate the small wins? Gratitude! Just stopping for a small moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and take it all in. Cynthia and I are also big fans of celebratory meals and activities for milestones. We got massages and went out for a nice dinner after we closed our seed round, and it felt so special.
Describe your proudest moment with Stix. One of the proudest moments we had with Stix was seeing how eager people were to donate and get involved with the Restart Donation Bank. Once the SCOTUS leak happened, we knew we wanted to be able to support people who would lose essential reproductive healthcare by more than just offering a product to buy. We wanted to be able to allow people to get Restart for free since there are various circumstances that would keep a person from buying emergency contraception. So, when we started receiving amazing donations and support, we knew that we were helping to make a difference in vaginal and reproductive health – even if it is just a small step.
How do you recharge? It depends on the mood I’m in and what I need to recharge from! For work stress, hot yoga really does it for me! I love the act of leaving my phone in a locker and just thinking about my breath and movement for an hour — I always leave class feeling like a newborn baby. When I’m in a less active mood, I love a long walk and phone chat with a friend. Also, sleep! I need like nine hours of sleep every night to feel okay.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before becoming an entrepreneur? That it’s going to be really hard and that’s okay. But I don’t think anyone can prepare you for how truly hard it can be. There have been moments where I’ve felt at my wit’s end, questioning if I’m really cut out for it. Those moments, however, always pass and I’m so grateful for this journey I’m on. I’m always in awe of how Cynthia and I make it through those low lows and come out stronger for it.
What’s your favorite form of self-care? Probably therapy! I’ve been doing weekly therapy for a few years now and I really value the time carved out in my calendar to just sit with my thoughts and reflect with someone. It feels like a brain massage.
What is the most powerful thing you do in your day? Probably when I get in a good work groove! I love the feeling of totally zoning in on making decisions and getting meaningful work done.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.