In The Room with Jamie Norwood and Cynthia Plotch of Stix and (how they are transforming Women’s Health, one purchase at a time)
On today’s episode of The Room Podcast, We have another incredible episode in store with Cynthia Plotch and Jamie Norwood, the founders of Stix, the company transforming women’s health experiences. Stix was founded to “create a convenient, discreet, and judgment-free way to get the products you need.”
Cofounders Jamie and Cynthia met first as friends, then as coworkers, many years prior to founding Stix. In 2015 both Jamie and Cynthia were Entrepreneurial Fellows at Venture for America, an organization that offers a two-year Fellowship program that gives recent college graduates firsthand startup experiences. This was their first foray into seeing the behind-the-scenes of building a startup, where they started to catch the entrepreneurial bug.
After Venture for America, both Jamie and Cynthia joined the Baltimore based food startup, Hungry Harvest. It was during Jamie and Cynthia’s time at Hungry Harvest that they converged on a shared passion. Jamie and Cynthia knew they wanted to do something together, they were both passionate about womens’ health and creating better experiences for female consumers. The idea behind stix started crystalizing after both Jamie and Cynthia had bad experiences leveraging the healthcare system.
Just a few years later, Stix has raised over $6 million dollars in venture capital to create accessible, convenient, affordable, and discreet womens health products from fertility and pregnancy tests to UTI test kits, to emergency contraception. Themes in this episode include knowing when is the right time to fully commit yourself to your passion project, today’s women’s health climate, and what’s next in DTC.
Let’s open the door:
Theme 1: Turning a passion project into a venture-backed startup
Jamie and Cynthia didn’t start what is now Stix by quickly quitting their jobs and going out to fundraise. They built on a multi-year long friendship, passion for working together, and a problem they continued to research and understand. Cynthia explains,“ Jamie and I, we knew that we wanted to really do something, we didn’t know exactly what it was, but we liked this idea of women’s health. I always say that there’s two things that we got out of our experience at Hungry Harvest: a passion for creating better experiences for a female consumer and working together.”
Jamie and Cynthia’s commitment to working on something together was going on in a backdrop of bad healthcare experiences. Cynthia recounts a story of buying a pregnancy test at a pharmacy, only to run into her boyfriend’s mom. Jamie had her fair share of sub-optimal encounters with the system. Quickly the two became acutely aware and passionate about understanding the magnitude of problems women face in the health arena.
“If this is happening for pregnancy tests, this is happening in a lot of different ways. And so we started Stix really with the support of Venture for America and a lot of their programming,” mentioned Cynthia.
Jamie and Cynthia started the research on the space, the DTC environment, and the hair-on-fire needs of women across America, and in Jamie’s words, “it quickly snowballed from there.”
Theme 2: The evolution of Stix and access to women’s health in today’s context
Over the past few months, the landscape of women’s health and access has hit a crisis moment across the US with the revisiting of Roe v. Wade, which could leave contraception and abortion rights at the state level. While the government is unable to step up in key ways to help women in America, many private companies certainly have, and Stix is one of these key players.
As the women’s healthcare climate has changed, Stix also has changed to stay true to its mission. Jamie explains that Stix “started in the fertility space with the pregnancy test and we’ve expanded, into vaginal health and now sexual health. We like to say that Stix helps you make confident health decisions. We have products from pregnancy tests to UTI tests to yeast infection treatments. We just launched an emergency contraception pill, called restart in June. On today’s episode, Jamie and Cynthia speak in depth on the future of women’s health in America.
Theme 3: What’s next in DTC
Just as Stix is at the forefront of disrupting women’s health, the Stix team is also at the forefront of disrupting how female consumers shop. We asked Jamie and Cynthia where they think the future of commerce is heading. Jamie notes, “People expect and now demand better experiences. The pandemic really pushed that forward with just seeing how quickly we can get things.
People are now so familiar with at home testing because of covid tests and are now used to keeping up with health news. What consumers expect is to have one place to learn all about your body and your health, make decisions, and get the products you need.” The future of DTC will revolve around themes of personalization, education, and a more comprehensive journey than just making a purchase.