Kimmy and LisaMarie Scotti
Company: Monthly Gift
Industry: Health, Wellness and Fitness
Kimmy and LisaMarie Scotti started Monthly Gift, because they were tired of all those late night tampon runs and pads made of toilet paper, overstocking and yet somehow always running out of supplies at just the “right” moment. Simply put, they were fed up of feeling like their periods owned them and they were sure there was an easier way for women today.
Their solution? A femme care subscription service powered by technology and empowering women to take control of their health. Catering to each member’s personal cycle, the Monthly Gift app monitors cycle patterns while their subscription service delivers a discreet package of customized tampons, pads and liners to your door before your period arrives. Their offering makes them the only brand in the market that is fully bespoke, offering their own brand of tampons, pads and liners in a single box for one low price.
Tell us a bit about Monthly Gift and what your business does.
Kimmy: Monthly Gift is a subscription based feminine-care delivery service and mobile app that helps you stay on top of your period by delivering the highest quality period products straight to your door, and by helping you track your cycle from your phone. Our mission is to change the conversation around women’s health and to make our lives significantly easier. We’re working hard to create pioneering technology, insanely convenient services, and top-notch content for the Monthly Gift community. Through our partnership with Days for Girls, every box of Monthly Gift products supplies a girl with a day of feminine care products.
LisaMarie: Monthly Gift is a femme care company devoted to helping women own their periods. We offer a subscription service to have your period products delivered each month (our own brand of tampons, pads, and liners, with emergency chocolate, of course) and a cycle tracking app to stay on top of your health every day. We are a platform for empowerment and education around issues of women’s reproductive health and we plan to expand into other areas and products in the near future.
In your own words, describe the professional journey you took to get where you are today with your career.
Kimmy: There hasn’t really been a time that I haven’t been thinking about how and why things work, and how to make them work better – that’s the thread that ties everything I do together. At 15, I was thinking about how I could turn the jewelry that I had been designing into a revenue-generating brand, and then later, why certain pieces were selling better than others. At ScriptRelief, I was building a product that would help 15 million uninsured people afford their medications.
The feminine care space was ripe for disruption. At 30 years old I was tired of my period being a surprise party every month. I also was so tired of being marketed to in this condescending tone by the big femme care brands, who had girls jogging in their white leggings. And I knew I wasn’t alone. I needed to build a product to make my period work better for me.
LisaMarie: I went to school for Interior Design because I had a real passion for building beautiful things. After college, I traveled around the country as part of the Design Team for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. We built 21 homes over the course of 18 months and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The show gave me the opportunity to explore parts of the country I would have never dreamed of visiting and I was able to really get to know the local communities throughout my journey. Once I moved on from EMHE, I transitioned to a more corporate position in the design industry working for Kohler Co. I started out in Management and Ops within one of their furniture divisions and then moved over to the plumbing side managing Global Hospitality Projects. Luckily for me, Kohler invested a lot of time and effort into growing their talent from within and I was elected to join a leadership program, giving me exposure to top executives at the company and really allowing me to shape my professional persona. I understood how fortunate I was to even be in the same room as these people, let alone have the opportunity to be mentored by them directly. In June of 2015 my sister, and now business partner, Kimmy, asked if I would leave Kohler to join her in building Monthly Gift. I loved my career, my clients, and my team but I adore my sister, and when she asked me to help her build this dream, I jumped on board. Kohler could not have been more gracious. They wished me luck and let me know that I will always have a home with them; that really helped give me the extra boost of confidence I needed to feel comfortable enough to leap into the unknown of the startup world.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when you started Monthly Gift?
Kimmy: Our chairman Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick has worked with her family a lot of her life. She told me that businesses started by families needed their own set of rules, and that we’re going to have to build in family time outside of business time, and ways to call a time out when we need our sister, not our business partner.
LisaMarie: The best piece of advice I was given was do not be afraid to fail. As a leader, you cannot operate from a place of fear. It’s essential that you embody the confidence and courage your team needs and deserves. Some of the best lessons I have learned have been from mistakes made along the way; they have made me smarter and stronger, which in turn has made me a better leader.
What was the biggest challenge that you faced in starting Monthly Gift?
Kimmy: Starting a business in a space that people don’t really want to talk about is really hard in general. So trying to educate male investors about feminine care and having to say the word “vagina” in a meeting a lot was a big challenge.
LisaMarie: One of the biggest challenges we faced was finding the right manufacturing partner for Monthly Gift. It may come as a surprise (maybe not), but the feminine hygiene business in the US is an Old Boys Club. We searched far and wide before we found what we were looking for; we were never going to settle for anything less than perfect. That’s because, for us, our partners are more than business associates, they all believe in the bigger picture of what we are doing and that is crucial. It’s so much more than just a transaction; we truly want to make women’s lives better.
How do you unplug at the end of the workday or workweek?
Kimmy: Expressing my creativity is super important to me. Not only is it meditative, but I actually think that keeping my creative juices flowing is good for my work – it helps me think outside the box when solving problems. I always have a project or two that I’m working on. Right now I’m covering my beloved green army jacket in super personal patches. I love a good DIY project.
LisaMarie: Netflix, what else? No, but seriously, I spend quality time with my husband, my family and my dogs. Yes, I am a crazy dog person. And proud of it. Right now we have four dogs and I love every minute with them (even when they swallow my diamond earrings – yes, that happened). When I’m with them, I try to be completely in the moment and let them know how important they are to me. Although I’m 30, I’m still super attached to my parents and I’m not afraid to admit it. My siblings joke about my parents being my best friends, and they really are! I spend a lot of time with them, and it helps keep me grounded.
In moments of uncertainty or doubt, how do you build yourself back up?
Kimmy: I get dressed. I put on my “big girl” clothes, do my hair and makeup, and show up for myself. Then I remind myself of two things. (1) no one knows what they’re doing, and we’re making it up as we go along and (2) your experience is one factor for how you move forward, but most often the best answer isn’t how you’ve done it before. I find those two things to be strangely comforting.
LisaMarie: Instead of ignoring any doubts I have, I bring them up to the surface and put them into perspective with the rest of my life. I face the uncertainty head-on in order to move beyond it. I size up feelings of doubt against the great things I have going on in my life and no matter what, those negative and insecure thoughts wither in comparison. I know that regardless of what happens, I will be okay, because I have failed before and I have survived, and because I have love in my life.
Is there a woman (or women) past or present that you admire or look up to for inspiration and motivation?
Kimmy: Our grandmother moved to this country with basically the clothes on her back, with three young children, and worked in a sweatshop in order to give them an education and a solid upbringing. She is a fearless hustler. In my moments of real desperation, I remind myself that I’m not 25 moving 5000 miles away with no money and three mouths to feed so I should probably stop being such a baby.
LisaMarie: My Grandma is the most incredible human being; I admire her beyond words. Although she’s had a really tough life, she gives selflessly. She has an open mind, and shows unconditional love for us all. She’s dedicated her entire life to her children and grandchildren and always has a smile on her face. Here’s the short version of her insanely inspiring bio: she was only educated through the first grade in rural southern Italy, fell in love and married when she was 17. She had three children before the age of 23 at which point she became a widow due to a very tragic accident. She migrated, alone, to the United States working in factories as a seamstress for the better part of her life. I could write an entire book on the woman and it still wouldn’t do her justice. Today, she owns her home, has three successful children and 15 grandchildren whom she dotes on, never forgetting to call each with her very endearing broken-english “Happy Birthday” every year.
Kimmy and LisaMarie’s App Recommendations
What’s your favorite thing about your workspace
Kimmy: Our neon pink uterus, duh!! It’s so big and bright that you can see it from the street outside Grand Central Station.
LisaMarie: We are part of an incubator called Grand Central Tech where there are 16 other startups, all of whom were selected through an application process to be part of the GCT class. The other companies here are doing incredible things and it’s super stimulating to be around such innovative thinkers and warmhearted people.
If you were given 3 more hours per day – how would you use them?
Kimmy: Making stuff! My creative time is my most treasured. And spending more time Eash (my nickname for LisaMarie), whom I’m obsessed with. There is no such thing as too much time with her.
LisaMarie: I would probably use the hours to exercise, cook real meals, and play more with my dogs! When I get home after work I have so little time, I basically put my head on the pillow and try to get enough sleep in before doing it all again the next day. That said, I do love the startup hustle!
What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to other female entrepreneurs?
Kimmy: (1) Being present is way more important than being “balanced” (remember, balance is bullshit). (2) You are the only person who gets to decide your value. (3) Don’t be afraid to tackle big problems.
LisaMarie: (1) You can’t be friends with everyone. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, and you’ve got to be the person to make them. (2) It’s OK to make mistakes. Everyone makes them. There is no successful business out there that didn’t have their fair share of lessons to learn before becoming the mega business they are today. (3) Don’t lose yourself in this process. Never forget where you started.
Want to learn more about Monthly Gift? Follow Kimmy and LisaMarie’s company at the links below.