First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Halle Tecco: 2020 has been a challenging year for so many reasons, but has also illuminated things I’m grateful for, including a flexible job, amazing coworkers, a supportive partner, and childcare.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Natalist.
Halle Tecco: My own personal fertility journey opened my eyes to the huge opportunity to rebuild the experience. I was probably most frustrated by the sheer amount of junk science being peddled to women. Creating a new human is one of the most exciting yet vulnerable times in your life. I look back at the products and services I fell for and just cringe at the wasted time and money. I wanted to build something that helps women cut through the crap. And also makes the experience a little more beautiful.
How does Natalist innovate?
Halle Tecco: Natalist makes beautiful, evidence-backed fertility and pregnancy essentials with a net-zero plastic footprint. We are doctors, scientists, and most importantly, moms. We’ve been there, and we’re making the journey better for others.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Halle Tecco: As a team of mostly moms, the beginning of the pandemic was tough on our team. With the stress of the unknown, combined with closed schools, we were all really struggling. As a business, sales skyrocketed during this time, and we saw over 500% growth. Today our business is stronger than ever. We are all still working remotely and have created a new normal that works for our team.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Halle Tecco: We are operating in a time flush with uncertainty, but one thing more certain than ever is our unwavering commitment to women’s health. And a big component of women’s health is access to the products and services we need when we need them. This crisis has helped us recenter and prioritize this mission.
We launched in Target on April 4th, just as COVID had swept the nation. Earlier in the year, we had created a bunch of marketing assets to announce the launch. They had a very celebratory tone, which no longer fit the context of what was happening in the world. We decided to cut that campaign and focus instead on our core mission — to make women’s health products more accessible. I think the new messaging was actually better and more honest. The lesson here is that you will get curveballs at a startup, and while they may create more work and headache in the short-term, they can be an opportunity to put you on the right track in the long-run.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Natalist in the future?
Halle Tecco: I love work, and it would consume every waking minute of my life if I let it (and in my last job, I did just that). But I’ve learned that I’m better at my job when I give my mind the space to learn new skills and find joy in other areas of life. I’ve taken up gardening in the last two years, which I never would’ve made time for when I was 25. I’ve loved being closer to nature and our food system and the sense of accomplishment to watch the garden grow. It helps me destress and forces me to slow down and be patient while giving me some zen time to clear my mind for new ideas. Make sure to always find time for things that give you joy, even on the craziest of work weeks.