About 90% of women with periods suffer from premenstrual symptoms that include cramps, bloating, and fatigue. Elix is the new menstrual health brand that is turning to traditional Chinese medicine to create personalized herbal formulas to help relieve women of menstrual symptoms. Through a free, online health assessment, women can learn more about their cycle and the best herbal mixtures to alleviate pain or period related discomfort. Elix operates on a subscription model and it costs $48/month for a personalized herbal formal.
AlleyWatch sat down with Founder and CEO Lulu Ge to learn more about Elix and its underlying mission.
Tell us about the product or service that Elix offers.
Elix is an innovative menstrual health brand and community that uses modern technology to personalize Chinese herbal medicine online, making access to scientifically backed natural remedies more convenient and available than ever before. Built on the principle that menstrual cycles are a vital sign for our overall health, Elix formulates pure and potent liquid herbal extracts that are clinically proven to treat specific hormonal imbalances, which are the root causes of many painful symptoms.
Elix is also launching a digital health magazine, The Wisdom, and community programming enabling women to be our own best advocates in the doctor’s office and in life.
Elix is the first scientifically backed, holistic medicine brand to personalize herbal healing for proven menstrual symptom relief and cycle regulation. Backed by two years of R&D and 246 clinical trials and studies, our herbal formulas surpass any other herbal supplements on the market in potency and purity. Through slow, low-temperature liquid extraction of 100% organic plants, we process each herb individually to unlock the full, unique potential of our 12 – 18 herbs. Through this commitment to quality and efficacy, our first product, Cycle Balance, had groundbreaking results in beta testing, with 93% of users experiencing an improvement in pain and/or symptoms. Our platform also puts education first, with a free online health assessment where she can learn more about her cycle and overall health, and a content vertical, The Wisdom, where she can learn more about the hormonal imbalances at the root of debilitating symptoms and how she can heal naturally.
What market does Elix target and how big is it?
Elix is destigmatizing the importance of menstrual wellness and providing a proven, natural healing solution for the ~90% of people with periods who suffer from premenstrual symptoms, which is 75M+ in the U.S. alone. Studies reveal that 46% of women say they are not comfortable talking about their period as a reason for needing time off work yet 23% have been forced to take time off for severe menstrual symptoms.
What is the business model of Elix?
Elix operates as a subscription. We offer a free online health assessment that anyone can take to learn more about their cycle, their health, and the herbs best to heal the root cause of their menstrual symptoms. Once a user decides to subscribe, the personalized herbal formula is $48/month and comes with a complimentary monthly follow-up health assessment. This enables her to monitor and track progress while giving us critical feedback and insights into her future needs, which guides our product development efforts.
What inspired the start of Elix?
3 years ago, I went off hormonal birth control and experienced a roulette wheel of debilitating menstrual symptoms. My search for a holistic (and side-effect-free) solution led me back to generational roots in Chinese herbal medicine. Through healing my own hormonal imbalances, I learned about the massive gaps in access to hormonal health care for women. In fact, only 4% of healthcare R&D goes to fund women’s issues overall. After two years in R&D and over 4,000 completed health assessment submissions, we are extremely excited to destigmatize the conversation around menstrual wellness and support millions of women in balancing their cycles!
Who do you consider to be your primary competitors?
Today, the majority of women (58%) on hormonal contraceptives use it to manage menstrual-related symptoms because of a lack of scientifically-backed healing solutions.
Elix is starting a new conversation about how patterns of menstrual symptoms (such as cramps, backaches, migraines, bloating, fatigue, mood volatility, etc) are a vital sign for our overall health. Rather than using synthetic hormone regulation or masking the symptoms with OTC pain killers, Elix targets the root cause of suffering by naturally balancing hormones and lowering inflammation through tech-enabled solutions and 4,000+ year wisdom from Chinese Medicine.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
The life-changing testimonials for our Cycle Balance product have been the most
rewarding part of launching Elix. Now that we’ve solved her debilitating menstrual symptoms, our community members are giving us feedback about additional areas within hormonal health where she is seeking proven, natural solutions. We’re conducting R&D on 2 future products based on needs we’ve learned through these one-to-one insights and our follow-up health assessments.
We’re also just launched our digital health magazine, The Wisdom. This digital digest brings her the latest knowledge from our East meets West advisory board of MDs, OBGYNs, Acupuncturists, Dieticians, Herbalists and other holistic healers. Our vision is to be her trusted friend and advisor from her first period to her last hot flash and everything in between.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Before thinking about how to scale a company, it’s important for founders to first build the life foundation for which we can personally scale and grow exponentially. For me, that includes a personal support network of friends & family, professional advisory board, practices that support mental health (I love vedic meditation and yoga), a healthy diet, and exercise.
This all helps me to show up as my most energized and productive self to serve my team, partners and the Elix community.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
As founders at the intersection of tech, health, and women’s needs, we really admire the recent pioneers who have shattered the status quo in this space. We love how Heidi Zak started a whole movement of inclusivity with Third Love, bringing body positivity to the masses through a tech-enabled platform that completely turned the outdated lingerie model on its head.
Payal Kadakia (ClassPass) and Jenn Hyman (Rent the Runway) are huge inspirations for us, especially because they adapted the business model and product offerings based on consumer feedback and changing marketplace opportunities. That thoughtful, everyday evolution is essential to how we service our customers as well.
They adapted the business model and product offerings based on consumer feedback and changing marketplace opportunities. That thoughtful, everyday evolution is essential to how we service our customers as well.
Why did you launch in New York?
NYC lives and breathes creativity and innovation as a global intersection of the arts, finance, media, fashion, and tech. It’s no wonder recent research by Dell shows that New York is the #1 city globally (ahead of the Bay Area) for female entrepreneurs to launch.
By launching in New York, Elix has unparalleled access to talent and advisors who have been a part of building the most relevant consumer brands today – including Helen Steed, our Creative Advisor who was the founding Creative Director for Glossier and our other team members were the talent behind launching Casper, All Birds, Prose, etc.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Sage Collective! This tea house recently opened in Soho. In addition to a beautiful menu of single-origin premium teas, Feng and Zoey just launched a food menu inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By incorporating healing herbs into every dish on the menu, it’s a great way to ‘let food be thy medicine.’