MarketWell Voices: Samantha Diamond, CEO The Bird&Be Co.
This month we spoke with Samantha Diamond, CEO The Bird&Be Co., a company revolutionizing the at-home fertility service market. In this issue she shares the personal inspiration behind Bird&Be Co., advice for others in the wellbeing space and what you need to know about venture capital.
How did the idea for Bird&Be Co. come about? (I know this story but would love it in your words for us)
When I was building my family and experienced pregnancy loss and subsequent fertility issues, I became acutely aware of so many elements of the fertility journey that were broken. Firstly—there’s this massive gap in reproductive health education between high school sex-ed class and the trying/struggling to conceive journey. There’s not a ton of discussion on proactive family planning, things you can test or do in advance to optimize your chances of success or shorten your path to pregnancy.
Then, there’s all this confusion—maybe you’re lucky enough to have a doctor or fertility naturopath who will prescribe you a menu of supplements (most people just get a general direction like—take folate!). And then even armed with a laundry list of supplements, there’s still a lot of direction lacking—how much of each nutrient, which form of the vitamin, what brand, what’s the difference between x and y?
And then lastly, the marketing in the fertility space was just really making me angry. Why are the ovulation test kits at the drug store covered in babies? Why are the supplements named “for women”—there’s a lot of folks in the trans community that don’t identify as a woman but are still trying to create a family. And why do all the commercials for pregnancy tests feature “happy couple on bathroom floor with positive test”? That’s just not reflective of the modern person’s fertility journey, and something I really wanted to change.
What trends are you seeing in the fertility space?
Data analysis is really driving personalization in this space. My co-founder Breanna Hughes is spearheading all of our technical elements and algorithm build-out (she’s a super tech genius), and we’re already able to customize product recommendations based on a customer’s metrics like age, how long they’ve been trying, and some pathologies. More to come on this front for us soon! We’re also seeing the digitization of care in the fertility space—from virtual consults that improve access to care, to at-home kits to analyse bloodwork, and even products that match users to people just like themselves for added community support.
Are there regulations to navigate in the fertility industry?
Oh yes! Our at-home tests require FDA and Health Canada licenses, and our supplements go through a much more rigorous testing process in Canada than is required in the US. That’s why buying Canadian-made supplements is the most reliable choice in this space, as dietary supplements are generally unregulated in the US.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in launching this company?
Just one?! Supply chain and the impact that Covid-19 has had on it has not been easy to navigate. From ingredient shortages in the supplement space, to finding diagnostic manufacturers not solely focused on Covid tests, to massive delays with Health Canada and FDA, to astronomical increases to the cost of shipping, we’ve been through the ringer! This is hard work, but really important work, so we will not allow anything to stand in our way and hope to help many people along their fertility journeys.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I had never raised money before, as my previous business was structured entirely differently. The world of venture capital was new to me and there was a sharp learning curve associated with it. The key for anyone raising money at an early stage is to make sure your passion for the business shines through—investors are betting on you and your experience most of all.
Is there any advice you’d give to other marketers in the wellbeing space?
It’s important to generate trust for your product—customer and professional reviews, transparency and education go a long way, along with stellar customer service.