Interview: How Men's Healthcare Startup hims Enables Convenient And Affordable Treatment
hims is an online-only personal care brand that combines low costs with FDA-approved and doctor-backed products that empower consumers to take care of their health from the privacy of their home
As the digital age continues to democratize access to information, consumers are increasingly eager to seek help for health issues that once may have been uncomfortable, or even taboo. hims, digital-native personal care startup for men, is taking accessibility to the next level, offering prescription and OTC treatments for issues like ED, hair loss, skin issues and more in a friendly and easy-to-order, subscription-based format.
In this interview, PSFK spoke to hims founder and CEO, Andrew Dudum, about how the brand is enabling men to take care of their health on their own terms, acting as a one-stop shop for trusted self-care solutions backed by its medical team and approved by the FDA. Here's how hims eliminates the waiting room, awkward conversations and cuts costs, empowering consumers to address their personal health concerns from the privacy of their home:
What are some of the broader trends you've noticed within personal care, and how does hims respond to them?
The industry is saturated with “masculine” stereotypes—dark color schemes, overly aggressive copywriting, etc. On a larger scale, men feel it’s not normal to experience very common pain points, and that it’s weird to want to take of themselves. The lack of conversation around men’s care has bred confusion and hesitation. Guys feel they can’t broach these conversations with doctors, friends or partners. Our goal is to create a platform around judgment-free access and education.
Were there any gaps in the market for male consumers you wanted to fill? What inspired or motivated you most to found the company?
What motivated me to launch hims was realizing that most men felt uncomfortable talking about perfectly normal and common personal care topics, like hair loss, sexual wellness and skincare. Most men were eager to learn about treatment options, but they hesitated to ask for help or were confused by information they found online. Historically, medication for hair loss and ED have been marketed to an older demographic, but in reality, these issues affect younger men too. 66% of men experience hair loss by the age of 35, and 40% of guys under the age of 40 experience ED. We want to normalize these aspects of men’s health and provide them with trusted resources and education.
We recently came across a stat about male consumers now spending more on certain goods, like for example luxury items, than female consumers—just one indication of shifting consumer behaviors. Could you speak a bit about your target consumers with hims, what today's younger, perhaps millennial, male consumers are looking for, and how hims fits into that?
We see the most engagement from men in their early twenties to early forties, but truthfully men of all ages struggle with these issues. Our goal is for men to turn to hims for access to care and education throughout their life. The network of doctors we work with encourages proactive, preventative care, especially amongst younger men, but ultimately there's no “type” of man that uses these products and no “hims” guy. It doesn't matter who you are—if you have a question about your wellbeing, you have options and we want to help.
Wellness has surpassed the trend stage, becoming an evergreen concept and influencing many different aspects of consumers' lifestyles and choices. Prevention, more holistic ideas of health and “health” care as opposed to “sick” care are also increasingly popular notions. Could you describe how these ideas intersect with hims' offering?
One of the pillars of our brand is prevention. Prior to starting hims, we found that men typically only reached out to their doctors when they were sick (that is, if they even had a primary care doctor). Since surveying our community, we’ve learned that 90% of hims’ customers are receiving treatment for concerns they’ve never approached a doctor about before, illustrating the need for this type of platform—one that is convenient and provides a comfortable setting for men to address their health concerns.
Certain topics that hims addresses could be considered sensitive for some people. Do you feel that consumers are more open to addressing health or wellness issues that may have gone undiscussed in the past?
There’s still a lot of stigma around hair loss and erectile dysfunction, and many guys suffer in silence because they feel uncomfortable broaching topics with others. We’ve always taken a direct but bold approach with our marketing, knowing that being discreet will only strengthen societal stigmas that exist around these topics. Our messaging and tone of voice is honest, but also direct, encouraging guys that it’s perfectly normal to take care of themselves. hims exists to start these important conversations, and to chip away at the shame as well.
In addition to your products for sale, you also have a blog and resource forum. Could you speak about these a bit, and the importance of supplementing or driving commerce with content?
hims’ goal is to be an all-encompassing wellness brand and our blog Savoir Faire supplements the work of the medical team by giving men a trusted place to access the information they’re hesitant to search online at 3am. Education is a crucial element of the brand: It gives guys peace of mind and allows them to make better decisions about their health.
We're very excited to hear about the recent launch of hers, the female counterpart to hims! Could you tell us a bit about it, and how it's been received so far?
hers was born out of the belief that women should be able to make the most informed choices around their well-being, without obstacles standing in their way. The brand helps women understand all of their options when it comes to preventative care and fixes today’s broken diagnosis process by giving women direct, immediate access to trusted physicians so they can find a reputable solution when they want (and need) it. We’re thrilled with the response to hers so far and look forward to expanding our offerings in 2019.
What's next for hims, and hers? Where do you see things going in the next 12-18 months?
We’ve seen incredible growth this year—launching new categories for hims, expanding the team and introducing hers last month. We understand it takes time to break down such stigmatized topics, but are excited to see the enthusiastic response and openness from customers to-date. Access to care still poses challenges for many people, and we’re making a point to listen to customer feedback and expand into areas where needs are not being met.