The hers behind hims
After launching hims exactly a year ago, today we launched hers! Built on hims’ telemedicine platform and trusted network of over 120 doctors, hers provides women access to the best solutions and education for mental and physical wellness.
Ask founder and CEO Andrew Dudum why the brand has seen such growth in less than a year, and he won’t tell you it’s because of his vision. He won’t tell you that it’s because men are hungry for products that help them lead better lives. (Though it is that, in part.) He’ll tell you that it’s because he hired a team largely made up of women.
With a female-dominant executive team, it’s no coincidence that the company is positioned perfectly to jump on the opportunity to help women take care of themselves.
We sat down with one of these executives, Hilary Coles, to hear more about her journey and the future of hims and hers.
First things first, how did you get started at Atomic?
I’d like to say that my plan all along was to join a startup studio and build a company to bring change to healthcare — but of course my path was a bit more fortuitous.
When I was finishing my MBA at Kellogg School of Management, a professor introduced me to Andrew, one of Atomic’s partners and now the CEO of hims. At that point, I was hungry for a chance to get into tech and blend my brand marketing expertise with my love for innovating on physical products. Andrew gave me an opportunity to work with one of the Atomic companies and then offered me a shot to be a “founder-in-residence.”
What was it like being a founder-in-residence?
My goal was to explore new ideas with Andrew and the partnership — understanding markets, identifying problems, and testing solutions. I actually started off originally focused on the wedding industry, but we realized quickly that was a challenging space. We then became really intrigued by the hair care and skincare markets, for both men and women. One of our early insights was that while women have plenty of options (and face other challenges — more on that in a sec), men are often challenged with a stigma around talking about their issues and then presented by a few select antiquated brands like Rogaine, which doesn’t feel like a modern brand for today’s guy. It was easy to get real-time feedback because to be honest, there were a ton of dudes at Atomic when I started — which to be fair, has dramatically changed the past few years!
A ton of dudes. What has been like to be a female executive in an industry well documented to be male-dominated?
I’m proud to share that women now make up 62% of our executive team, 75% of our operations team, and 50% of our customer service team.
Andrew has been such a huge advocate for me and has “walked the walk” in demonstrating the power of diverse teams and diversity of thought. We brought on incredible female leaders like Melissa Baird (COO) from Bonobos, Hayden Mills (Director, Customer Experience) from Dollar Shave Club, Emily Boschwitz (Director, Marketing) from Nest, and Ellen DaSilva (Director, Biz Dev) from Twitter who have been such powerful complements to the strong male perspectives and expertise on the team.
Atomic’s support system has also been key to leveling the playing field for me. The partners are available and eager to help when you need them and however you need them. The centralized Atomic team of specialists treat our company like its their own, from the HR team helping us close candidates into the late hours of the night to the legal team driving financing rounds at record speeds. Atomic isn’t as “VC” as other places — it’s a lot more agile and less “braggy.” For someone like me who just wants to build companies with great people, its been nice to just be able to do what we wanted to do and focus on growing this company.
hims turned 1 today and has experienced unparalleled growth. What’s next?
It’s been a crazy year, sort of like an “MBA 2.0” — we were able to build a multi-product portfolio, international supply chain, network of doctors, multi-channel brand campaigns, and more from scratch — and we were all learning on the fly. We’re beating our own records daily, weekly, but we’re really just getting started to be honest. There are so many guys out there, who with a little empathy and humor, we can break the ice and help them take care of themselves.
And of course, today we’re expanding with hers! Women face a different set of challenges than men. While men have been told for years that it’s weird to take of themselves, women are inundated with unrealistic expectations about our self-care needs. Our goal with hers is to help women make the most informed choices about their health at every stage of their life.
For example, women shouldn’t have to take time off work for a doctor’s appointment just to get a prescription for birth control pills that they may not want their co-workers or family to know about. Men know about the 26 options available to them to get hard, but there is literally only one FDA-approved option to help women increase their sex drive — which we’re now educating women about and offering through hers.
In a broken healthcare system, we are putting the power back in the hands of women by giving them direct, immediate access to trusted physicians and solutions.
Telemedicine is shifting the way that we all interact with the healthcare system, and we’re hoping to continue to provide more convenient and affordable access to all.