Written by Cynthia Plotch
March 8, 2020 • 7 minutes
Calling women everywhere. Happy March! This month isn’t just about celebrating the Pisces and Aries among us, but something bigger than us all: International Women’s Month. As women and co-founders of Stix, we can’t wait to celebrate the inspiring women in our lives, other women founders, and, of course, our amazing customers.
In 2011, March became the official Women’s History Month. Since then, women around the world have come together to empower each other, uplifting voices from the streets to boardrooms. Our world at Stix will be no different this month.
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How we are celebrating
After over a year of early mornings, late nights, and way too much caffeine, we can say that being a woman founder is the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing we’ve ever done. We’re sure that’s not a hot take.
We have been so inspired by all of the amazing women founders we’ve met throughout our journey, so we decided to talk to some of them about their experiences.
For the whole month of March, we will celebrate female founders from across the country, all who built businesses & brands intent on one thing: uplifting the experiences of women in the world. We founded Stix with the same goal in mind—to empower women to access the products they need, free of stigma and full of support.
Throughout the month, Stix will sit down with some of our favorite female founders about everything they’ve learned, from their advice to anyone looking to start a business to how they’ve grown along the way.
Stix will also donate 5% of all sales throughout the month to Girls Inc, a non-profit organization supporting the development of young women across the country. So, show Girls Inc some love by stocking up on ovulation tests and pregnancy tests.
To kick things off, I reflected with my co-founder Jamie on our journey starting Stix, and how we got to where we are today.
Let's start from the beginning—What is the vision for Stix?
C: One day, I was out buying a pregnancy test (just in case), when I ran into my boyfriend’s mom. Mostly awkward, but pretty traumatizing, that experience opened my eyes to an opportunity to improve the way women shop for their health products. I immediately called Jamie, and we lamented about the hurdles we have to jump through to get the products that bring us peace of mind. And, Stix was born. As the brand grows, the goal will always stay the same: to make women feel comfortable throughout their health journeys.
J: Right now, I’m really excited about creating better products, product experiences, education and community around the products we as women need but dread buying. I want Stix to be a resource that everyone can trust and turn to for information and support.
What was the biggest challenge when starting Stix?
J: Deciding when to quit our former jobs to go full time on Stix was a huge challenge. We were so passionate about Stix and wanted to take the leap, but it was hard to know when to go all in.
C: When we started Stix, there were SO many things we didn’t know how to do or even where to start - from filing sales tax to forming a corporation and finding a lawyer! Starting Stix has been like a crash-course MBA.
What is the most rewarding thing about running Stix every day?
J: Every time we get a review on our website, my heart skips a beat! It sounds cheesy but I just love seeing that Stix has a positive impact on women’s lives. It is also a luxury to work with Cynthia and the amazing team we have on board.
C: Ditto Jamie! I love when we get messages from our customers about how Stix has helped them.
How has Stix evolved over time?
J: In so many ways! In just one year of being in business, we’ve launched two products, hired a team, and delivered orders to over 6,000 women. There are daily things that have changed, like we’re no longer fulfilling orders ourselves and we went from working in my Baltimore apartment to having our own office in Philadelphia!
C: Pretty much everything about Stix has evolved, but we’ve worked hard to keep sight of our core mission. We’ve launched new products, upgraded our packaging, created the Stix Library, and gotten to know some amazing women along the way. Some days it’s hard to believe all this evolution happened over a year.
Stix is based in community--how did you build the Stix community into what it is today?
J: Our community is our customers, through and through. We love talking with and reading messages from our customers. We want to hear what problems they need solved, what inspires them, and what they need from Stix. When it comes to building community, we’re definitely still learning. There is so much opportunity to create connections among our customers and beyond! It’s a fun challenge.
C: Well said, Jamie. Our community has built naturally in so many ways. When Jamie and I started working on Stix, we loved connecting with our customers and hearing their stories. The growing and supportive community of women surrounding Stix continues to inspire me and Jamie every day to keep working towards our ultimate vision.
What are some mistakes you made along the way that we can all learn from?
C: Oh boy - a loaded question.
J: This is something I’m still working on learning and accepting myself, but… things don’t run according to plan. Especially when starting a company! Projects go astray, timelines shift, and customers come and go. For a Type A planner like me, this goes against my desire to control everything. I can get personally hurt and upset when things don’t go according to plan. It’s hard! But it’s something I’m trying to be more aware of and okay with.
C: My biggest personal challenge has been dealing with all the rejection. Building a business from the ground up unfortunately has lots of financial and logistical limitations and for a long time, I would take it personally and let it impact my well being. Now, I’m learning how to take it in stride.
Building a business can be brutal--how do you take moments to care for yourself as Stix continues to grow?
J: I love this question! I make time for long heart-to-hearts with friends and regularly go to therapy. I feel most balanced after I talk things out. Some other things that help me feel more grounded: hot yoga, baths with Epsom salts, diffusing lavender essential oil, and journaling. (I realize how basic millennial this makes me sound... but it’s the truth!)
C: Jamie and I are so lucky to be doing this today because we’re really able to encourage each other to find some balance in our lives. I always make sure to have time to run, spend time with people I love, and learn about things totally unrelated to Stix.
Tell me about your experience having a co-founder.
C: Over the past four years, Jamie and I have gone from friends to co-workers to co-founders. We met four years ago through the Venture for America fellowship and always knew we worked well together. I think a big reason that Stix works so well has to do with the overall message of supporting women of the brand and how it translates to mine and Jamie’s co-founding relationship. I simply couldn’t imagine this journey without Jamie.
J: Cynthia and I balance each other out in so many ways. When one of us is stressed, the other becomes calm. She does all things data and finance, and I do all things product and brand. We’ve grown a lot over the past year together, including some tough conversations. When something is bothering one of us, we always talk it out. I feel lucky to have her as my partner and couldn’t imagine doing it alone or with anyone else!
C: More importantly, though, we both have a passion for improving the lives of women.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a woman who is thinking about starting a company?
J: If you’re starting a company, my main piece of advice would be to partner up with a co-founder you know and trust. Also, consider doing an accelerator. We went through Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in NYC and it was an invaluable experience.
C: Ask for help! In the earliest days of Stix, that meant asking friends to be alpha testers and scrubbing our personal networks for the best possible introductions. Today, it means leaning on our great mentors as we evolve each element of Stix! Thinking about starting a business yourself? Ask J & I for help. We’re always here. :)
Thank you for supporting Stix through this crazy journey. Every week, we'll be sitting down with other female founders to talk everything from brand vision, to work-life balance (what does that even mean?), to expectations of women across the board. And remember: 5% of sales for the month are going to Girls Inc, so stock up on your ovulation and pregnancy tests.