Ruthie Berber
Senior Manager, Community
June 1st, 2023

These four innovative women are changing the way consumers think about menopause, fertility, body hair, and bras.

Women In Innovation (WIN), an organization devoted to closing the gender gap in innovation,  recently teamed up with Amazing Women in eCommerce to co-host an in-person event at Yotpo’s NYC headquarters: Rethinking Women’s Health and Wellness. We welcomed women from across the industry to join us for discussions over delicious food, plus drinks from our partners, women-led brands Maker Wine and Moment.

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with four disruptors in the women’s health and wellness space: Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Founder and CEO of menopause supplement brand Kindra; Jessie Goldman, Head of Partnerships at fertility ecosystem Cofertility; Laura Schubert, Co-Founder and CEO of personal grooming brand Fur; and 2022 AWIE Honoree Annette Azan, Founder and CEO of “boobwear” brand Nuudii System. We talked about their career journeys, stigmas surrounding health and wellness, and building trust with consumers in a crowded space. Here are some of the highlights.

From left to right: Ruthie Berber, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Laura Schubert, Jessie Goldman, Annette Azan

How these women became disruptors in health and wellness

These women all saw where there was something mission in the market — a problem to solve — and found ways to fill that gap.

After getting misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia when she was really experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, Catherine decided to help other women going through the same thing. “How can none of my friends not know what’s going on and my young daughter one day be in a world  where people have severe menopausal syndromes, but get misdiagnosed with prescriptions and surgeries?” she asked.

“Why are there no options to take care of hair eloquently like dog hair?” asked Laura. She founded Fur to remove the stigma around body hair and give people more options for caring for it.

Cofertility is also about giving people options, specifically around egg freezing, and Jessie believed in the company’s mission. “We think more women deserve more options. You spend your entire life trying not to get pregnant and then when you can’t, it’s like ‘what’? People can pay $50-$80K and still not come out with a child,” she explained.

Annette’s “aha” moment came when she couldn’t find the right bra to wear under her wedding dress. “I don’t need a bra, just a thin layer between myself and the world…we are calling BS on bras,” she said.

Why brand trust is so important in this space

Building a loyal community as a health and wellness brand is no small feat — there’s a lot of education, validation, and authenticity involved.

For Laura, getting the product right before launching it was of utmost importance in building customer trust. “I have a hot take,” she said. “When we first started, I got advice which was not useful and that was to ‘just put something out and then pivot.’ I don’t think that is true in consumer-facing markets. The bar is too high.”

For a brand like Cofertility, building trust is about aligning with the medical community. “We have medical advisors who are on Instagram and TikTok and associate themselves and their medical opinion with the brand,” said Jessie.

Kindra also leans on the medical community to build trust, consulting with doctors and scientists on product safety and efficacy. “It’s so important to have medical advisors that believe that what you’re doing is right,” said Catherine.

As a new category, a bra alternative, Nuudi shoppers need education in order to gain trust with the brand. That’s why she, along with her employees, are active social media evangelists for the products. “We don’t use creators,” said Annette. “We are the creators.”

WIN always closes their events with an “Ask and Give” session, where women in attendance can ask for or offer support to other women. Many women offered their services, including an employee at Meta who offered to help Nuudi get certified by Facebook. We loved the idea so much that we added an #ask-give-exchange channel to the AWIE Slack Community!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening. I learned so much from the panelists and got to meet so many amazing women from across the eCommerce industry. I can’t wait for the next one!

Contributed to the article: Ruthie Berber