This Female-Founded Company Is Bringing Privacy to Pregnancy Testing
Stix is sending home pregnancy tests straight to your door, cutting the need for uncomfortable, stigma-riddled trips to the drugstore.
Bumping into your partner’s mother while you’re out in public can be awkward. As you stand in the middle of the grocery store aisle, you’ll chit chat about the colder-than-normal weather and your weekend brunch plans for a few minutes before you part ways to pay for your dark chocolates and almond milk.
But when Cynthia Plotch ran into her boyfriend’s mom at her neighborhood drugstore, she wasn’t picking up cold medicine or skin-care products—she was purchasing a home pregnancy test.
After the blush-worthy encounter, she darted out of the store and tearfully called her friend and co-worker Jamie Norwood. They vented about the stigma women face while buying pregnancy tests, and soon enough, the two came to the realization that something was broken with the system, and they were the people who needed to fix it.
Their solution: Stix, a direct-to-consumer home pregnancy test company that launched in February 2019. For $13, the company will ship a two-pack of its FDA-approved pregnancy tests, which are more than 99-percent accurate (FWIW, that's the same reliability you can expect from Clearblue and First Response tests), right to your door. For those who are trying to get pregnant, have irregular periods, or would like to check their status on a regular basis, Stix offers a subscription service with automatic deliveries every two, four, eight, or 12 weeks. “Everything about Stix is designed to bring women peace of mind,” says Plotch. “Because no matter what outcome you’re looking for and no matter what outcome you get, this is a high-anxiety moment.” (ICYMI, you can have birth control delivered, too.)
The physician-backed tests themselves are just one part of the formula for creating a worry-free, judgment-free experience. The pregnancy tests are tucked into paper pouches colored with calming orange and rose hues and stamped with “take a deep breath", a small but meaningful gesture of support. Unlike other brands’ instructions, which Plotch and Norwood like to say are written for lawyers rather than everyday people, Stix’s four-step how-to guide is simple and jargon-free. And when they’re shipped out to customers, the tests are concealed in mail slot-sized envelopes free of return labels to ensure privacy. “Around the holidays, a woman told us that she was staying with her in-laws and she a Stix delivered there, and they had no idea what it was,” says Norwood. “That was the true test of discreet shipping.”
Though they’re on a mission to create better women’s products and experiences around them, Plotch and Norwood aspire for Stix to be more than an accessible, discreet pregnancy test brand. “At the core of what we’re doing, we want to make women feel more comfortable and safe when it comes to their health decisions,” says Norwood. (Related: These Women Hated All On-the-Go Meal Shake Options—So They Made Their Own)
To make that impact, the founders listen closely to (and are admittedly kind of obsessed with) their customers and actually act on their feedback: In February, Stix released a home ovulation test, fit with the same design and easy-to-grasp instructions as the original product. This launch was a direct response to consumer demand. Beyond the products, there's also the Stix Library, an educational space for women to learn about their sexual health, from conception and STDs to sex advice and birth control.
And after hearing just how valuable this resource has been for their customers, the founders are laying the groundwork to help women build relationships with one another and discuss any of these taboo topics. If the aftermath of Plotch’s uncomfortable experience at the drugstore proves anything, it’s that a pep talk from someone who's been in your shoes can be truly empowering.