Cassidy: To My Networking Nut,
I write this from the plane as I jet away from our first honeymoon. Also known as our first business trip. Also known as the chapter in which Colorado College sponsors my flight back from South America for the weekend so we can convince alumni that the College is an excellent investment.
As honeymoons go, it was pretty damn good. Nothing gets me more excited than sharing our passion for Chica with others, and nothing is more validating than seeing that excitement reflected in the people we share it with. One of the best parts of starting a business that addresses an underserved and stigmatized need is the look on people’s faces when they realize it’s ok for them to talk about their cycle–there is so much emotion in every “let me tell you about my period” story. These interactions remind me why we started Chica in the first place.
But this letter is dedicated to our critics. Our critics, and our champions–who are simply disappointed that we haven’t created a line of chocolates for them as well. I want to address this because I was approached by several people at the event who were looking for a chocolate for men, or a chocolate for menopause; anything but a chocolate for periods. I want them to know we are listening, and that we value their feedback. But we’re not gonna change course–at least, not yet.
Chica, as an entryway to botanical medicine, is incredibly powerful in the sense that we’re introducing an incredibly old sphere of knowledge in a new form of packaging: chocolate. We’re the only ones using traditional Chinese medicine in this way, and I think that excites people. They see a lot of potential.
But Chica has a focused goal. We are targeting menstrual health for a reason–there are next to no hormone-supportive alternatives that address period symptoms on the market. Plus, we’re doing it because we can. Marco Lam, our consulting acupuncturist, likens our formula to an oil change: it’s a form of maintenance that is important for the overall system, and if this maintenance doesn’t take place regularly, greater problems can manifest that are harder to fix. Everyone who menstruates has a hormonal cycle, and nearly everyone who has a hormonal cycle is pretty lax about said maintenance. So, by focusing on hormonal imbalance and foundational health, we can address the varied symptoms that manifest on the surface.
Creating functional chocolate to address more specific purposes is difficult not only because there aren’t one-size-fits-all formulas for menopausal or prostate health, but also because we can’t print the information on our label that would get these products to the right people. Chica could grow to the point where we are offering every customer a chance to consult with an acupuncturist and design their own personal formula, but then it wouldn’t be Chica anymore.
If Chica doesn’t serve you as you are, we promise we haven’t forgotten you. But if you don’t get a period and want to buy our chocolates, why not get it as a gift? We’ll pay it forward.
Elise: To my Traveling Toosh,
I attended an angel investor conference on Tuesday, which is unfortunately a space heavily dominated by men. And, let me tell you, I was asked the same dumb questions we usually get asked by men such as, “Will I get a period?”, “Is this safe for me to eat?”, “Aren’t you planning for people to get tired of chocolate?”
The many dumb, pointless questions we have received from men are not worth addressing. However, I want to address the request we have received many times for menopause chocolates. I totally understand why people are asking for this – both periods and menopause are influenced by the hormones in our body, why can’t Chica balance the craziness that menopause causes for hormones?
It is important to understand that Chinese medicine treats an entire person, not just their symptoms. Chica, as you said, is a blend of herbs that perform basic maintenance for our menstrual cycles. Our menstrual cycles are so ignored and undernourished that this maintenance does the trick for many people struggling with their periods. Even here, though, Chica is not treating any single symptom. Instead, Chica focuses on the entire cycle, and we can attest that we’ve seen different experiences from each person eating Chica.
What this means for menopause is the most common symptom for American women, hot flashes, does not have a universal solution. The body is going through a period of strong transition, and thus there is no basic maintenance because, as far as we understand, there is no common transition. An acupuncturist must understand multiple factors in a person’s life, such as diet, exercise, pulse, you name it, before understanding the causes behind why someone may have excess heat in their body.
We’ve both been with our moms as they’ve gone through menopause, so we really do sympathize with the process of menopause even though we’re not close to going through it ourselves. After we establish Chica for periods, we’ll return to the menopause question. For now, visit your local acupuncturist! Menopause is completely treatable with your acupuncturist, there is just no one-size-fits all herbal formula that we feel comfortable selling as a solution. Menopause or no, acupuncture is a powerful, safe well to nourish your wellbeing, which is something we all need.
Bonus: Amina @ Call Your Girlfriend podcast recently had her uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes removed for Ovarian cancer treatment and she shares her experience of suddenly going through menopause. The episode is aptly named Believe Women’s Pain and it is a great listen.
Bonus: Kate Clancy of Period podcast talks about being undernourished during our menstruating years and gives some mention on the effects on menopause, listen here.
Image via Giorgisecchi