This content was created by Girlboss in partnership with Uqora.
Anyone who has had a UTI in their life knows: they’re the worst. Especially ones that always come back, no matter how many glasses of cranberry juice you chug or how many times you pee after sex. Jenna Ryan would know. She had eight—yes, eight—in one year. “After repeatedly being told that there was little I could do, I was desperate to get ahead of the problem,” she said. “This experience inspired me and [my husband] Spencer to create Uqora. A company that I wish had been there for me.”
With her background in tech and her husband’s background in biochemistry, the two collaborated with scientists and doctors to create UTI relief products and proactive supplements that actually work.
Uqora’s UTI Emergency Kit is designed to provide UTI relief when you need it, until you’re able to see your doctor. The Kit includes UTI test strips, UTI infection control and UTI pain relief to be an all-in-one kit every UTI sufferer can rely on. Uqora also has a line of proactive urinary tract health supplements that help maintain urinary tract health by flushing the urinary tract, cleansing biofilm and strengthening the bladder wall, and balancing the vaginal microbiome.
“Uqora’s science-backed ingredients have helped more than 250,000 people find a path to better urinary tract health,” says Ryan. “Not only did we want to create better products for urinary tract health, but we also wanted to create a community for people looking for resources—that’s why UTI education is an important pillar of Uqora outside of just our products.”
We chatted with the founder and CEO about the most annoying UTI myths, her biggest inspiration and what’s next for the game-changing business.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned since starting your business, especially one in women's health?
“Building a win-win business is easier than you think. At Uqora, we always make it a priority to treat our customers like friends, and since we’re in the UTI space, we’re often talking to people who are feeling fragile. We go above and beyond to be open, warm and flexible. We lead with our hearts in every conversation—a lot of our marketing focuses on my background, and what led me to start Uqora (a.k.a. a long history of UTIs). Opening with my personal experience helps people immediately understand that they aren’t alone on their journey to urinary tract health.
Once someone is part of the Uqora community, we’re careful to remind our customers that they can pause or delay their orders if they need to. At the height of COVID layoffs, we offered to cover the cost of our subscribers’ products for a few months if they said they were struggling financially (we ultimately gave away +$30k worth of Uqora).
This genuine care and commitment to flexibility really makes a difference to people. And it is good business, too. I think there’s an old-school thinking that you have to fight for every dollar, that every program should consider ‘the bottom line.’ But by treating our customers well, they treat us well in return. Plus, it makes all of us who work here at Uqora feel good about the work we do, good about the impact we’re able to make on people’s lives. That is invaluable, and what I call a ‘win-win.’"
What is one myth about UTIs that you want to squash ASAP?
“There’s an endless list of misconceptions about UTIs. When you experience UTIs, people can say really hurtful things—thinking that you (or your partner) are unhygienic, or that you’re doing something wrong. And, I think a lot of that comes from a place of just not knowing the facts about UTIs.
Uqora aims to provide educational resources about urinary tract health and highlight research-backed facts. In fact, there was a study that illustrated some people are just more prone to UTIs than others. We created the UTI Learning Center as an educational resource on our website where you can find research-backed articles contributed by doctors and specialists that cover urinary health topics that are otherwise hard to find. Plus, The Uqora Collective, is our private Facebook group with 19,000 members. This group is a safe place for Uqora customers (and non-customers!) to connect, share their UTI stories, and most importantly, know they are not alone on their journey.”
What would you tell your younger self?
“As far as the best advice: Ask a lot of questions. So many questions! And make an effort to ask earnest, open-ended, genuinely curious questions. Not leading questions to confirm a truth you’ve already subscribed to.
This isn’t always natural for me. I can be quick to jump to solutions because I really value expedience, but it’s amazing how much you learn by just pressing yourself to ask one or two more questions than you think is necessary. And my younger self sometimes lacked the confidence to admit how much I didn’t know because I felt like I should know more than I did. But that’s crazy—it’s not about what you don’t know, it’s about what you’re willing to learn.
Asking questions is also so key to effective leadership. Ultimately, you don’t want to manage your team, you want to coach them. And to coach effectively, you have to help people arrive at their own conclusions. To do that, you can’t just tell someone what to do—you have to ask them questions to help you both uncover the best path together. I think this applies beyond team dynamics and more questions will yield better solutions every single time.”
What's next for Uqora?
“Our mission is to help everyone address the pain, anxiety and frustration associated with UTIs. I am so grateful for the strides we’ve made over the years—so far, we’ve helped over 250,000 people on their journey to urinary health. But globally, over 150,000 million people experience UTIs every year. This tells me that we’re just getting started. To continue expanding our impact and continued commitment to proactive urinary tract health, we will increase our collaboration with scientists and medical professionals, provide better education and accessibility to urinary tract health resources.”
Now, onto the Rapid Fire… Who are you inspired by?
“My teammates at Uqora and our customers. I am continually floored by the amount of kindness and support our team shows our customers, our customers show each other and even our customers show us. I am amazed at the amount of heart and care our customer success team puts into every conversation we have. And vice versa: I’m so grateful for all of the kind, funny and down-to-earth customers we have that take the time to tell us about their success with the product or their history with urinary health or even just send us a photo of their dog."
How many unread work emails do you have right now?
“3! I’m curious what that says about me…”
How do you unwind at the end of a long day?
“Fresh air and/or a workout. My worldview is that everyone would be a lot happier if they got outside more. Getting outside for a walk, jog, surf or a swim is always my reset and the way I transition in and out of my work day."
What do you look for in an employee/collaborator?
“Curiosity, humility and drive! All three of those qualities are related to me and are critical for a high-growth environment like Uqora. We all have to be endlessly curious about our customers' experience to continue to innovate. Similarly, we have to be willing to accept when we learn something that challenges our initial understanding or theory. That’s where humility comes in—it can be hard to accept you had the wrong perception initially, but it’s so important in a growth-mindset organization. Finally, drive is what enables us to put the iterative learnings that come from that curiosity-humility cycle into effect.”
Learn more about Uqora’s UTI relief products and proactive urinary tract health supplements here. Plus get 20% off!
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