"We want to give women fertility information so they can go to their doctor and say, 'Hey, I learned this about myself. How can we work together to help me?' Being able to start that process from home is so empowering," says Vernita Brown, a Well+Good 2022 Changemaker. As the very first employee of Natalist, Brown is on a mission to provide world-class fertility care that has all the creature comforts of home—and she's really just getting started.
Angel investor and entrepreneur Halle Tecco founded Natalist back in 2018. "By the time I met Halle, she was like, 'Hey, I have this idea for this company, and I don't want to do it as a traditional startup. I don't want people to run themselves into the ground. I want to build the anti-startup startup, run by women, funded by women, and [where everyone] has time to go enjoy the beach after work with your kids.' I was like, "I am all for that. Sign me up. Let's do it," says Brown.
Since then, Natalist has acted as a direct-to-consumer brand that provides both fertility education (in the form of over 400 highly-trafficked blog posts) and tools that range from at-home ovulation tests to lube to prenatal vitamins. In 2021, Natalist was purchased by digital health-care brand Everly Health, unlocking new possibilities for at-home testing and making Brown the Vice President of Operations at Natalist. "One of the things that really was a key driver in the acquisition was sort of the perfect marriage of the information that the [Everly Health] business was arming customers with—which helped them take charge of their own health—and those follow-up pieces of information, services, and products that the Natalist business provides," says Brown.
"We want to give women fertility information so they can go to their doctor and say, 'Hey, I learned this about myself. How can we work together to help me?'" — Vernita Brown, Vice President of Operations at Natalist
Brown feels most passionately about product innovation—and that fervor is obvious in the thoughtfulness of each Natalist product. For example, the brand recently launched at-home fertility tests (powered by Everlywell, also under the Everly Health umbrella), which measure five key hormones that effect your menstrual cycle and ovulation, undergo state-by-state physician approval, and cost about $112. Meanwhile, fertility testing in a clinical setting can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. "We see that as a real value add because it really speaks to that accessibility and affordability," says Brown.
Now, Brown tells Well+Good, she's determined to leverage the Everlywell and Natalist partnership to work more widespread fertility good. Coming out of the pandemic, the Natalist community has expressed a desire to truly understand their health and hormones—and the brand is committed to providing science-backed resources that empower them to do just that.
"We're really seeing that women are wanting to be the leaders of their own healthcare journey. And so this is allowing women to act in partnership with their physician rather than feeling like they're being told something by their physician or not told something by their physician," says Brown.
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