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Women In Wellness: Ashley & Olivia Khoury of Hummingway On the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Proper nourishment can work wonders. Gentle practices like restorative yoga or swapping out coffee for herbal tea can help drastically reduce anxiety or stress. Limiting refined sugar and dairy can help someone suffering from hormonal acne. By giving your body the nourishment it needs, you’re building a better foundation to produce a better overall wellbeing.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Greene Khoury & Olivia Khoury.

Ashley Greene Khoury & Olivia Khoury are the co-founders of Hummingway, a hormonal and reproductive health brand providing natural solutions and an educational platform. Following years of frustration at the gap — particularly concerning gender-based data — in research into the female body and menstrual cycle, Ashley and Olivia set out to create a preferred way to support their own personal experiences when it came to periods, and share those with a wider community of menstruators. Hummingway guides you to the knowledge, tools and support you need to leave behind harmful quick fixes and create rituals of powerful and purposeful self-care through all of your life’s periods, seasons and cycles.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Ashley — For starters, Olivia and I are sisters-in-law! A few years back, I came off hormonal birth control and my body was experiencing an array of issues I did not know how to handle. Olivia was lucky enough to grow up with a homeopath for a mother and we began discussing why we are taught so little about our bodies, and why there weren’t any viable solutions for the issues we experience as menstruators.

Olivia — Exactly — I was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) three years ago and had to find ways to manage my symptoms holistically through herbs, CBD and adaptogens. That’s why Ashley and I decided to launch Hummingway — we wanted to share these experiences with a wider community and give people natural solutions and the education they need to thrive, both during their periods and throughout the entire cycle.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Ashley — The most interesting thing to happen since the start of my entrepreneurial career is seeing how it has begun to help better shape me personally. A startup is full of dreams, fears, failures and successes that happen on a daily basis, so learning how to navigate that has been both challenging and rewarding. It has also been extremely interesting navigating investor pitches, you come across many who don’t see your vision at all, and thirty minutes later, you come across someone who is ready to jump on board and support your mission.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ashley — The biggest mistake I’ve made thus far is paying for or putting faith in someone because they seem like they have the experience or the clout to do a better job than Olivia. And when this is your dream on the line, you’d be surprised how quickly you can learn things and apply that knowledge. Have faith in yourself and find people who genuinely align with your company mission and you’ll go further than you imagine.

Olivia — Mistakes are an unavoidable reality of launching a startup. No matter where a new contact comes from, it’s important to vet everyone. You have to be selective of people, not just in hiring and investments but every aspect of your business. Take your time when it comes to deciding who you want by your side on this journey.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Hummingway is dedicated to providing natural solutions — and education — to menstruators everywhere. So many of us have previously been in the dark about our bodies and cycles, and we’re rewriting the script by introducing what we call Whole Cycle Wellness™. With Hummingway, we’re ensuring every moment, stage and phase of your cycle is accounted for by addressing the root issues. Our medical advisory board is made up of four extremely qualified and renowned doctors, nutritionists and scientists, which ensures our approach to the latest research and product innovation is of a high quality. Our debut product, The Cycle Soother, is a set of patches that help offset monthly discomfort with a blend of essential oils and hemp-derived CBD. The Regular is our editorial platform dedicated to serving our community with informative yet easy-to-follow content — we know this will help make a bigger impact and ensure people have the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Track your cycle & plan your schedule accordingly. Different phases of your cycle can have an effect on your energy level and mood — by tracking your cycle and knowing what phase you’re in, you can better plan when to workout, socialize, what to eat and more. For example, you may experience breakouts during the luteal phase, so that could be a great time to treat yourself to an oil-reducing face mask!
  2. Give yourself time to rest and relax. With the nature of the world, we are constantly on-the-go. Giving yourself moments of rest and relaxation, like taking a nap or going to a yoga class, are vital in curating a self care routine.
  3. Find health care professionals that you trust and have your best interests in mind. Having someone who understands you is one thing, but having someone who truly gets you from the inside out can completely change the way you look at things. Our medical advisor Dr. Jolene Brighten says it best in that she’s “pro-education.”
  4. The more educated you are on your body, the more at ease you’ll be. We’ve all felt lost at some point or another when it comes to what’s going on with our bodies, but we’ve found that the more you know about your own body (and the more you talk about it), the more empowering it can be! How are you supposed to address and reset something you have very limited knowledge of? We’re much more at ease now that we have a grasp on our own bodies.
  5. Proper nourishment can work wonders. Gentle practices like restorative yoga or swapping out coffee for herbal tea can help drastically reduce anxiety or stress. Limiting refined sugar and dairy can help someone suffering from hormonal acne. By giving your body the nourishment it needs, you’re building a better foundation to produce a better overall wellbeing.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Ashley — The movement promoting Whole Cycle Wellness™. Statistics show that nearly 50% of women experience hormonal imbalances. And a majority of people feel in the dark about their reproductive health as a whole. This is in part due to social stigmas and partly due to the gender data gap. Working to eradicate the stigma, create a dialogue around reproductive health that is easy to digest but accurate and working to help close that gender data gap is extremely important and a movement we’re proud to be a part of.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

If it’s a case of before we started the company, I feel lucky that we’re surrounded by a lot of experienced people and I called on them often. I DO have a list of advice I was given that holds true.

  1. ALWAYS be ready to pivot. You will more than likely have to pivot multiple times.
  2. No one will love your company as much as you do.
  3. In the startup and investment world, women are chomping at the bit to help one another. There is a great community there.
  4. Getting opinions and advice from trusted advisors is great but at the end of the day, always trust your gut. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like everyone else knows better than you, but no one knows your company better than you.
  5. Raise more than you think you need — there will be curveballs.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is dearest to us and our mission for Hummingway, but ultimately they all go hand-in-hand with our philosophy of nurturing what we already have — within us and the tools we have to use. Cycle-related pain and disorders can cause a lot of mental stress, and we’re hoping to help alleviate some of that with our products and The Regular education platform. Mental health can often have a stigma tied to it — in recent years, it has been improving, but we still have a long way to go. We’re thrilled to be partnering with organizations like O-p-e-n, a mindfulness brand, to further spread our mission.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Follow along with Hummingway’s latest on our website, Instagram & Facebook!

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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