While the world braces for the (seemingly inevitable) end of Roe v. Wade (the final decision is expected sometime this week), access to birth control is also being called into question. Conservative lawmakers have already begun laying the groundwork to ban or at least heavily restrict certain types of emergency contraceptives, arguing that anything preventing an egg from fertilizing is considered murder.
Jamie Norwood, the co-founder of reproductive and vaginal health brand Stix, knew she had to do something. Norwood and her business partner, Cynthia Plotch, both have experience working at startups (Norwood majored in English and Plotch majored in economics in school) but Stix is their first foray into the health world—so, creating a prescription-free morning-after pill (an emergency contraceptive taken up to 72 hours after conception to prevent ovulation from happening) was no easy feat. Norwood and Plotch spent eight months developing Restart ($38) with a third-party manufacturer. Plus, Stix’s all-female medical advisory board played a crucial part in the ideation, development and production of the pill (which is FDA compliant and backed by a pharmaceutical company), as they do with all of Stix’s products.
They were working on the pill (something that was heavily requested by their customers because of how hard and often uncomfortable it is to buy at a pharmacy or clinic), when the SCOTUS decision was leaked. Norwood and Plotch fast-tracked the product by a few weeks to make sure it would launch in time for the decision, along with the Restart Donation Bank, a fundraiser that will give free morning-after pills for those in need, like those living in states with abortion trigger laws. Stix partnered with other companies like Mara Hoffman, Universal Standard, Dame, August and Cake to launch the Donation Bank. The pill is delivered to your door discreetly with no external branding and no brand tracing via credit card for added privacy.
We recently spoke to Norwood over Zoom about Stix’s role in preserving and protecting our reproductive rights.
On the impact of the Donation Bank
“The response has just been so overwhelming. We were blown away. We have never done anything like this. We've gotten over $60,000 in donations, which means we can literally give away thousands of doses for free, which is just really meaningful.”
On the power of being prepared
“Knowledge is power. The more you know about your body and the resources available to you, the more confident you'll be in your decisions and prepared. So, we're really big advocates vof having these resources, education and products on hand. Like the same way you would have Advil in your medicine cabinet, why not have the morning-after pill?”
On the biggest misconceptions
“A lot of people think you need to go to the doctor to get it. A lot of people think it means you need a prescription, or there's an age limit (if you're younger, you need parental consent). None of that is true: you can get it at any age, anytime, over the counter. And then there's a lot of misconceptions about how it works, and the side effects and efficacy. We've heard things like: if you take it three times, it stops working, or it will affect your future fertility. Again, none of that is true. All it’s doing is preventing ovulation and preventing a pregnancy from happening.”
On the future of Stix
“We want to be the brand that people can turn to for their most vulnerable health moments. Our focus is vaginal reproductive health, and we're working on a couple exciting products. I can't say which ones but things are in the works.”
Jamie Norwood and her Stix co-founder, Cynthia Plotch
And now onto the Rapid Fire… Who are you inspired by?
How do you unplug from work?
“I live really close to the park, so I go on lots of long walks. And if I have a really bad day, I'll call a friend and vent.”
How many unread emails do you have right now?
“I am firmly inbox 0. I wish I could be more chill about it, but I feel off balance if my inbox isn't cleared.”
What do you look for in an employee?
“A team player, and someone who enjoys being in a small, tightknit, really collaborative environment. Ambition is a big one too—and perspective. At the end of the day, we're not doing brain surgery; we have a lot of fun at work. Even though we are working on very, very important issues, nothing is like so high stakes."
Best piece of advice?
“I have two. Don't ever work with someone that rubs you the wrong way. And to tell the difference between a gut instinct and anxiety: Anxiety is uncertainty and certainty is that gut feeling.”
Worst piece of advice?
“No one we hire is going to be able to do the job as well as us, and you just kind of have to accept that. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. I want everyone we hire at Stix to be experts in what they're doing—like I look to them for advice.”
What does the term “girlboss” mean to you?
“It was definitely important when the first wave of Girlboss happened to highlight that there are women and people who aren't men founding companies. But no one would say ‘boy boss’ or like ‘male boss.’ I feel the same way about the word ‘femtech’—like, it's just tech. So, I do think it can highlight some of the inequities, but to each their own.”READ MORE
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