A series that spotlights the inspiring women who are building inspiring things.
Ash Spivak is the co-creator of CYCLES + SEX, a digital platform and IRL events to teach people about their reproductive and sexual health. She and her co-founder Natalia Hailes are also birth doulas & educators with @ourbrilliantbodies. Follow along with them at here!
Why did you start CYCLES+SEX?
CYCLES+SEX was born because we saw a major gap within the reproductive health space. So often when we hear "reproductive health" if we aren't thinking of having children, we believe it doesn't apply to us. But hormonal, menstrual and sexual health are all part of our reproductive health; they influence one another, pleasure is part of the equation, and it applies to all of us! As a birth doula, I saw the impact of this lack of education play out over and over again and, with my partner Natalia Hailes, was always trying to think of ways to reach people prior to pregnancy so that they actually had time to sit with themselves and get real with what choices would be best for them as individuals. CYCLES+SEX stemmed from this. We wanted to create an ecosystem of education and tools that highlight the interconnectedness of these fields while authentically speaking to a millennial audience. And, with the political climate as is, the timing couldn't be more vital.
What was your most exciting day as a founder? What happened? Why was it the best?
April 30th, 2017! This was the day of our first event. And it exceeded all of our expectations. 850 people showed up; All genders, many ages. It just further showed us that people are starving for this essential information.
What is your biggest struggle in the hustle? (Be honest!)
Well, in putting the first event together, it was definitely the fear. I had never done anything like this before, and the concept was unique so there were no other models to pull from. That little voice inside my head "No one is going to come" "The mics won't work" "The vendors will be underwhelmed" "What was I thinking?!" was incessant. Finding the trust in the process was very hard for me. And when we did our L.A event in Nov. some of those fears were definitely still there, but constantly returning to the heart of why I am doing this helps a lot. And now we are in the process of re-doing our website so that people have continued access to these tools and education. So lots of new challenges lie ahead for sure!
What is the item on your to do list that you wish you never had to do?
Catching up on emails.
If there was a brand/marketing/PR genie that would hand you one achievement, what would it be?
We are always trying to organically grow our community of people ready to start taking control of their own wellbeing. So maybe gathering all those people for us so we can give them the education and tools they are looking for.
What is your favorite Instagram feed right now?
I'm going to go ahead and give a shout out to our own Instagram and our team (Sam Sharon, Janielle Bryan and Jade Bell) who help. We use Instagram as a platform for people to actually get excited to learn about their bodies, build autonomy and to be a resource for what is going on politically and historically when it comes to our reproductive health. I think we are finally starting to get there! We are very proud of it. Check it out @cyclesandsex.
What is an article you read / podcast you listened to recently that felt like the writer/host was in your brain?
I listen to a lot of How I Built This on NPR. I don't know that Guy Raz is in my brain, but I think he's a really skilled interviewer. I also love Tim Ferris a lot. I learn a lot by listening to how he interviews people.
Let's end on a non-work note! Favorite place you have ever been?’
Oh man! So many! I am going to go with my partner's ranch in Tom Miner Basin, Montana though. Most other places I've been I don't get to return to, and I feel so fortunate that I will have the opportunity to really get to know this place over the years to come.
CEO & Founder of Tactile