FcF: Tell us about yourself?
Samantha: I started my career in PR at MAC Cosmetics where I was exposed to some of the most creative people on earth. I found myself working on projects at Fashion Week, the Olympics, even at Disneyland. A few years in, I co-founded my own agency with a MAC colleague, and within the first three months had landed business with global brands like Maybelline and Garnier. From my kitchen table, I built the business into a thriving company, working with media and brands to market beauty and fashion products to millennials. Fast forward to creating my family (3 kids deep now) with my fertility doctor husband, I realized there was a lot to learn and a fairly broken system as it related to educating women and men about their reproductive timeline and the fertility journey. Enter my new passion - The Bird and Be Co.
FcF: What is The Bird & Be Co.?
Samantha: We are launching a branded fertility marketplace for the modern millennial to optimize their fertility and chart a faster route to conception, support them along their reproductive journey and give them more information about their body and hormones. We have a testing platform, prescription medication & nutraceuticals for home use, including our patented FSH test screening ovarian reserve and at-home sperm test.
FcF: How did you come up with The Bird & Be Co.?
Samantha: My husband (and our Medical Director) Dr. Dan Nayot is a fertility specialist, and one of the most common ways he evaluates a patient’s ovarian reserve and egg quantity is via a FSH hormone blood test. Dan often has patients in their late 30’s and 40’s with a higher FSH (=diminished ovarian reserve) coming in and wondering why they are having trouble conceiving. He figured there could be a way to screen FSH at home less invasively and educate on ovarian reserve, and was able to secure the IP for an at-home urine-based FSH test.
Around the same time, we were trying to have our third baby and I had a miscarriage followed by a trying time en route to conception. Even with all of the knowledge absorbed from Dan over the years, I still couldn’t reconcile that my age was a factor in all of this.
Women are undereducated about their own hormones and reproductive timeline. I’ve read studies suggesting that 20% of women are unaware of how age affects fertility and 40% of women are completely unfamiliar with the ovulatory cycle. The last time anyone officially taught me anything related to my reproductive cycle was in grade 10 gym class.
My background in branding and PR came in here - we figured, why just launch one test when the market was so ready for a shakeup in this space. Women need information and access to tools that will help them optimize their fertility at home, without having to wait to see a doctor for simple answers and hormonal support. And we need a modern, straight talking brand to deliver this.
FcF: What’s been the most challenging so far in your journey in building The Bird & Be?
Samantha: Navigating the manufacturing and regulatory side of the business has not been easy. Our goal is to have Canadian-made, environmentally sustainable products, and finding the right suppliers for all of the various pieces of our puzzle has taken a long time. Learning about the different licenses, approvals and rules has been a great educational experience :) We are now in a really solid place and gearing up for launch.
FcF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in a Co-Founder?
Samantha: On a blind date, 11 years ago :) Now we’ve got 3 kids together, and happily, this new venture gives us something else to talk about outside of school schedules, playdates and which one of us is on bedtime duty.
FcF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?
Samantha: Though I owned and operated a successful business prior to this start-up, I came from a completely different industry. I had two incredible advisors come on board to mentor me in the areas that I had less experience in, and taught me to ‘speak start-up’.
So firstly, find people who know what you don’t, and get them to teach you, open doors, and help you pick apart your plan so that you can rebuild it solid.
Secondly, learn to present to investors in the way they are used to hearing pitches. A crash course in ‘speaking startup’ is very important.
FcF: How can the Female CoFounder community help you?
Samantha: As we get closer to launch and close our next $ round, I’m going to be hiring team members in the digital marketing and social media space, and the product and logistics management area. I’m also going to be looking to partner with likeminded brands and services to cross-promote and enhance consumer experience and offerings, so feel free to reach out if you are, or know anyone, in these categories!
FcF: How can people contact you?
Or you can also DM @Samantha Diamond in our Slack Channel!
Want to join the Female CoFounder community?
Get access to the community Slack channel and weekly newsletter!