So Lucy, tell us a bit about yourself and &Sisters.
&SISTERS is on a mission to build the world’s first menstrual health ecosystem, helping women and girls navigate the biological, psychological and social symptoms that are directly linked to changes in their menstrual cycle.
I’m Lucy, Co-Founder and COO at &SISTERS; I head up operations, with responsibility for our logistics and supply chain, as well as of course running the business day-to-day with our CEO Charlie.
Our sustainable products are designed to take care of both our homes: our bodies and our planet – we currently offer the largest 100% plastic-free, organic, biodegradable selection of products in the UK.
&SISTERS has been my short-course entry into the world of FemTech
&SISTERS has been my short-course entry into the world of FemTech – I’d been cycle tracking for as long as I can remember so it’s always been a passion and interest of mine.
What motivated you to set up &Sisters?
My mother and I co-founded &SISTERS when we realised that despite growing up in very different eras, our shared experience of menstruation was very similar and not in a good way!
Menstruators had been unrecognised and underserved for far too long
Very little had changed and menstrual health seemed stuck in the dark ages. We didn’t know where to go for advice, we were embarrassed to talk about periods with our peers and we didn’t know what our products were even made of!
We did some research and it became abundantly clear that owing to the gender health gap, menstruators had been unrecognised and underserved for far too long so we set out to do something about it!
We started by tackling the immediate crisis that was mainstream period care. Both Claire and I were seeking organic, healthier products for our periods and couldn’t find any on the market that didn’t include plastic, fragrances or synthetic materials.
We’ve expanded our range to be the largest 100% plastic-free brand in the UK
&SISTERS, therefore, began its journey as a sustainable menstrual health brand. Since then, we’ve expanded our range to be the largest 100% plastic-free brand in the UK and have designed our very own iconic nüdie period cup with a leading female architect that’s saved 16million disposable period products from landfills to date!
What does the future look like for &Sisters?
&SISTERS has established itself as a period care consumer brand over the last couple of years with our physical products but we’re now on a mission to service women throughout their entire life, addressing not just the biological symptoms but also the psychological and social issues women experience as a result of their menstrual cycle.
However, this is just the beginning. We are committed to supporting our sisters through all stages of life as their menstrual cycle changes and our new tech solution will provide sisters with much-needed access to community, connection to experts and products that are truly personalised and in sync with their cycle.
We’re revolutionising an experience for women and girls that is currently lengthy, frustrating and often very costly
The development of our “virtual sister” app will form a menstrual health eco-system providing sisters worldwide the opportunity to thrive in sync with their menstrual health. From peer to peer support, live events, 1:1 access to medical experts and high-quality products reviewed by sisters, this will be a safe, non-judgemental space in which sisters can find the right solutions to their very personal problems as quickly as possible- we’re revolutionising an experience for women and girls that is currently lengthy, frustrating and often very costly!
We cannot wait to share our first deployment with our community. In terms of challenges, there are many. FemTech businesses and women’s health still suffer conscious and unconscious bias when it comes to investment and the whole area of women’s health is still severely underfunded and under-researched, leading to challenges around knowledge access and diagnosis.
We have a big vision but we need to take each [part] of the menstrual health ecosystem one step at a time
There have been amazing improvements in a short period of time but we are only scratching the surface. The next challenge is staying focussed, we have a big vision but we need to take each product/service/solution of the menstrual health ecosystem one step at a time.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt since starting &Sisters?
It’s so hard as every day you have new learnings, but find a solution quickly and don’t dwell on the problem and any negativity it brings, don’t sweat the small stuff, and go with your gut – so important in times of crisis!
Startups 100 2021 List was an amazing achievement after so many challenges this past year
The key with all achievements is to keep on going, even if you have a down day; if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
Being in the Startups 100 2021 List was an amazing achievement after so many challenges this past year. With our physical product, we have recently had two fantastic launches with Booths & Ocado in the UK and Kibsons in the UAE which is great as we’re increasing access to sustainable femcare products for our sisters worldwide.
Don’t underestimate the power and support of your customers
Also, don’t underestimate the power and support of your customers – they provide amazing insight and are usually super happy to help!
If you were able to create ANY solution what would it be?
Our virtual product which is in the product development stages at the moment is my dream product.
There have been so many stages of my life where I’ve had questions about my health, but all linked to being a woman and the challenges we face. Our “virtual sister” app will be the go-to for all questions related to women’s health, wellbeing and symptom diagnosis and we can’t wait to share it with the world!
&Sisters are part of FemTech Lab’s Fall 2021 Cohort.
You can keep up to date with the latest updates via the Femtech Lab website.