The subscription-based women's health brand aims to enable a future of accessible and affordable on-demand care, offering tailored regimens and personal telehealth sessions

From personalized vitamins to mobile dentists, healthcare has proven itself successful as a direct-to-consumer candidate. In order to stand out in a crowded playing field, wellness DTC startups must offer unique products and services that answer a specific consumer demand.

For BINTO, a subscription-based personalized supplement retailer, that distinction comes in the form of women's health. At two and a half years old, BINTO has defined itself in the DTC healthcare industry by focusing on customer education and assistance in OB/GYN-related services. Highlights include personalized supplements, on-demand nurses and an extensive research library.

Suzie Welsh.

PSFK spoke with Founder Suzie Welsh about DTC strategies, the importance of customer education for digital-first brands and how her background in nursing has aided her success.

PSFK: Could you describe the broader trends that you're seeing in retail today, and that you've been leveraging in your work?

Suzie: Obviously, one of the largest trends that we're after is the direct‑to‑consumer space, and that's primarily how we operate. We are all‑online, except for marketing. We realize that people are still going out and shopping IRL, so we wanted to leverage that market.

We teamed up with Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, and a few other smaller boutique wellness shops. We've created a BINTO starter kit. It's a great way for women to see the product in person, feel it, try it out and then convert to the subscription.

Could you explain what BINTO is, and what led you to found it?

We are a women's health company. We operate direct‑to‑consumer on a subscription basis. Our mission is to get every woman access to safe and effective over‑the‑counter products, alongside access to a healthcare professional, like a licensed nurse, all for an attainable price point.

For us, it's really about opening up the OB/GYN market space, and making it more accessible. Then, to go a level deeper, all of the products, like the supplements, are personalized to match each woman's unique health needs. We really believe in individualized or personalized medicine, especially when it comes to women's health.

How do you match consumers with the right products, educate them about health and help them use their products?

Matching [consumers to products] happens online. Customers first fill out a medical intake survey. That's how we collect data points on their health needs. Then the algorithm populates the supplements that we recommend they take every month.

There's also an option, if they didn't want to take the survey or if they have some more specific questions, to chat directly or schedule a call with a nurse. For those who want to go a bit deeper or have a complex medical history, we can address their needs that way. We're accommodating the people who want less as well as the people who want more.

Once they subscribe, they get full access to a nurse. Instead of Googling things, they can come right to their BINTO nurse and ask them questions, and we can educate them directly that way.

We have a whole knowledge library full of free, downloadable ebooks, we have our blog, we have a weekly newsletter campaign on various topics. We have a YouTube channel with different videos. We do a lot on Instagram, which is where most of our customers end up following the conversation. It's about constantly touching each woman with content every day to keep her educated and informed.

How do you create trust and transparency in a category that's full of hype?

One of the biggest advantages that we have here at BINTO is that I am a women's health nurse. I have my master's degree in nursing. We are founded by licensed medical professionals, which is pretty rare in this wellness industry, especially when it comes to supplements.

We're very transparent. Everything is out and available for customers on our site. It's not just a bot. If they want to see more info on our supplements, or they want to find out more about our lab, our facility has full 24/7 video footage of its manufacturing.

We're very open. If something's not on our site for some reason and customers want more information, we're more than happy to deliver it.

How does the telehealth component enable BINTO to offer better service to consumers?

BINTO is about two-and-a-half years old. When I started this, I didn't realize how huge a role my background as a nurse was going to play at the company. I didn't really want to be the face of it, but it turns out everyone wanted to talk to me because I was someone that they could trust and ask medical advice or questions. We quickly realized that this service was going to be a huge component of what we're offering.

Not just in coastal cities, but specifically in areas where you may only have access to your family medicine doctor, and it may be hard to get access to a GYN or a reproductive endocrinologist. We're really filling the gap for women, not for those life‑threatening situations, but with those smaller issues—maybe someone has recurring UTIs or yeast infections, or her cycle is irregular and she just wants to talk to someone about why that might be. Maybe someone has a diet question. These consumer issues are not life-threatening, but they are high-value.

We want to fill in the gap and be that go‑to resource for women, instead of having to google or wait six weeks to three months to get an appointment.

How does the subscription program work and add value to your offer?

It's included with the supplements. Subscribers get a monthly check-in email, because the supplements work over time in the body. We can adjust their pack as needs change. They can also set up one‑on‑one phone calls or email directly, and each person is paired with a dedicated nurse who is their go-to contact person every time.

How is BINTO building long-term relationships with its consumers?

We have an incredibly low turn rate. A lot of subscription‑based companies or supplement‑based companies can have a higher turn. There are a couple of things that we're doing that are different. One is the way that we're packaged: It's really easy and accessible.

It's like a little gift to yourself that you can do every day to support your health. It just makes it easy. We're able to cut down on time, so you as the consumer don't have to go to Whole Foods or Walgreens and stare at the shelf and figure out which supplement you should be taking.

Then there's the factor that we can adapt with you. We have women who get married and want to switch to a fertility track, where we can get them the supplements they need to help them when they're trying to get pregnant, carry them through pregnancy, post‑partum and beyond.

It's our ability to look at the full spectrum of women's health rather than one segment of it that gives us an edge.

Could you talk about your direct‑to‑consumer strategy and why you decided to focus on that route?

Millennials want things that are easy. A lot of us want to take control over certain aspects of our life and decision‑making. It was really important to me to reach consumers directly and speak to their needs. I think that's where a lot of supplement companies and physician practices—our healthcare system in general—is missing the mark.

It made sense for us to go the direct‑to‑consumer route. The other thing that's nice about the subscription is that we're able to collect a lot of data on our subscribers, so that we can match their needs more directly rather than working wholesale.

It’s about being able to grow with consumers over time and constantly be on top of their needs. We are able able to iterate in a relatively quick fashion.

How do you think consumers needs have changed over time when it comes to health and wellness? 

It's become much more important. We're finally starting to talk about preventative health. Having worked for several health systems here in the U.S. as a nurse and being on the inside, I realized that we focus so much today on sick care.

I was trying to rack my brain and understand why aren't we focusing more on preventative medicine and using over‑the‑counter as first‑line treatment options, which will then lower healthcare costs overall. That's what my vision is for health.

What's in store for BINTO over the next three to five years?

Digital health and telehealth is huge, and it's only going to continue to grow. As our society's needs change, and our lives continue to become busier, there's definitely a shortage of physicians. There's also a shortage of people specializing. Access to care is going to be critical. Personalized care will continue to expand and become more accessible.

It's just absurd today, the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, and what people have to dole out. We're for every woman, no matter her salary. That was very important to us from the get-go.

Binto is working to enable a future of on-demand, accessible and personalized healthcare. For more form similar innovative brands, see PSFK's reports and newsletters