Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health supplements but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Lee, CEO and co-founder of Semaine Health, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are shifting the paradigm in women's health. At some point in our lives, we all will experience painful periods, hot flashes, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, etc. Yet, there are so few options for us. We're generally limited to ibuprofen and hormonal birth control. And while it's amazing those options exist, it's insane to think that there shouldn't be other approaches to how we approach our health and wellness at every stage of life. Culturally we've been taught to think so many women's health is taboo, which is ignorant at best and detrimental to our health at worst. Taboo = minimizing experiences of more than 50% of the world's population and therefore not pouring the research into enhancing the quality of life for everyone.
Tell us about yourself
My background is in art direction and graphic design. I never imagined starting a plant-based supplement company until my own health scare led me there. I've suffered from painful periods for decades and was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis (a common condition that affects more than 10% of women) through emergency surgery because my pain was always normalized.
Starting Semaine was a necessity. I was looking for a solution for my own pain, and I'm lucky enough to be married to a genius biologist who developed our first product after being with me through my endometriosis diagnosis and hospital stays.
I was skeptical that a supplement would work on my severe pain, but I should have trusted Matt's clinical rigor. When I tested our PMS & Period Support 3 years ago, I had my first pain-free period ever. And that's when I knew we had to share this with other people. More than 80% of people with periods experience period pain. If that many cis-gendered men experienced a symptom, entire aisles would be dedicated to treatments in every retailer. With that realization, myself, Matt (my husband and our head of formulation) and my twin sister, launched Semaine into the world in March 2020.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a community. So many people who use our supplements tell us they feel seen and heard, and that's what we want! No one should ever feel less than or embarrassed about our bodies (from periods to UTIs to menopause). Our biggest goal is to be part of the conversation to empower minoritized communities from people of color, women, and trans and nonbinary people.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Decision fatigue! I feel like we make five big business-shaking decisions daily and about 20,000 smaller decisions every 24 hours. And there's no rule book, especially if you are innovating in a sector and breaking the rules.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get support: I strongly encourage finding a co-founder. Someone who complements your skillset and isn't like you.
- Start the business knowing the world needs your bravery to make that leap, but that bravery doesn't guarantee success. In fact, failure is much more likely. And that's okay! We still have to create and innovate even if the universe isn't applauding us as much as we think we deserve.
- Growing a business is really tough and can wear you down. I'm a pessimist by nature and have to work really hard to shift my mindset, or else I just get stuck. I highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who dream big and help you if you tend to be more "pragmatic" and less positive.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The world needs whatever it is you feel drawn to create and share! No one will give you the permission to start, and that's okay. The permission just has to come from you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.