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The Millennial Mom Reimagining Women’s Health and Wellness

The Millennial Mom Reimagining Women’s Health and Wellness

When it comes to motherhood, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all—so why should your vitamins be? That’s what Alex Taylor, the co-founder of women’s wellness brand Perelel, set forth to solve. With years of experience in the fashion and wellness space, Alex is no stranger to products with purpose. But as she made her way into motherhood, Alex found herself in a cloud of prenatal vitamin confusion. Searching for a solution, she launched Perelel: a line of vitamins that meets you wherever you are on your journey as a mom. Read on for our thoughtful conversation with Alex on all things motherhood, and be sure to use code JK20 for 20% off your first month of Perelel.

Rip & Tan: Tell us the story of Perelel. How did your journey into motherhood inspire you to launch your own wellness brand?
Alex Taylor: After having my son, I felt as though I was suddenly relegated to this pink-washed “mama” category and brands no longer saw me as a “whole” woman with interests or pursuits outside of “being a mommy.” Everything felt very baby-centric or juvenile in tone. Why hadn’t anyone created a brand for moms that treated us as women first? This is what ultimately set me on my path to Perelel.

As I was exploring the landscape, I was fortunate enough to be connected with one of the smartest, most hard working women I’ve met in my career: Victoria “Tori” Thain Gioia. Like me, she too saw the dearth of brands resonating with millennial moms and together we began to explore ways to support women like us. Eventually, due to some developments in Tori’s personal life, we zeroed in on prenatal vitamins: a product we both found equally confusing and outdated in terms of the surrounding experience.

Tori’s second daughter was born with a cleft lip, which she later learned may have been caused by a folic acid deficiency. Despite the fact she had taken a prenatal vitamin with folic acid throughout her pregnancy, she later learned that up to 60% of women (herself included) have a common genetic mutation, known as the MTHFR variant, which prevents them from transforming folic acid into folate, the absorbable format of folic acid that our body actually uses. 

As she dug in further, she learned that the timing of nutrients is crucial. For example, a woman only needs increased levels of folate during the first 6-9 weeks of pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects, but less folate in the second or third trimester when more calcium and magnesium are needed to support skeletal growth. Tori canvassed the market and found that not one prenatal was addressing the market in this way by offering targeted nutrition for each trimester of pregnancy.

 
Rip & Tan: Tell us the story of Perelel. How did your journey into motherhood inspire you to launch your own wellness brand? (continued)
Alex Taylor: Tori realized there was an opportunity to innovate by bringing cleaner, higher-quality ingredients to the market and that timing specific nutrients was key. Meanwhile, I had a different gripe with prenatal vitamins: the experience. My OBGYN suggested that I piece together a variety of different vitamins since most prenatals “don’t cut it.” I was constantly pill sorting multiple bottles of pills and adjusting what I was taking throughout each trimester.

Together, we knew we needed to do something. As we dug into the prenatal vitamin category, we learned that nothing is standardized or regulated outside of the advertising claims you can use. Which is insane.

We also uncovered the sad truth that many leading prenatal vitamins strip down their formulations such that they are essentially ineffective (fun fact: in order to properly absorb many key nutrients, your body requires “supporting” ingredients to allow for absorption).

So, seeing as we weren’t doctors ourselves, we teamed up with a top OBGYN, Dr. Bayati, as a co-founder and pulled in a panel of leading doctors to create targeted daily vitamin packs formulated for: fertility, each individual trimester, and general motherhood.

Plus, while we were building the business we learned that 1 in 33 babies born in the US are born with birth defects, many of which are nutrition-related and entirely preventable. This obviously hit close to home for Tori and we felt compelled to do something. So, we made it our mission to create a world with more healthy babies and more healthy moms. For every subscription, we donate a supply of our vitamins to underserved women here in the USA.
Rip & Tan: From your work in brand development to leading one of the most recognizable names in digital media, your career has spanned countless facets of fashion, beauty, and wellness. How did your past experiences inform your approach with Perelel?
Alex Taylor: I’ve been fortunate enough to have a 360-perspective of the brand ecosystem, giving me insight into what works and what doesn’t. I’ve had the opportunity to build brands from the ground up and reinvent legacy names for today’s consumers. That said, I think my strength has always been rooted in storytelling and how brands can offer consumers a sense of identity, belonging, or place. 

I poured all of this into the brand development of Perelel and am proud of what we created: an inclusive, trustworthy brand by and for women that inspires connection, empathy, hope, and goodwill. A brand that stands against mom-shaming, offers facts and expertise, doesn’t perpetuate superwoman syndrome, and welcomes women and their varied experiences surrounding fertility, motherhood, and ultimately womanhood as all equally beautiful and worthy. We celebrate the imperfect because—let’s be real—everyone is.
Rip & Tan: Whether you’re a mom or mom-to-be, navigating the sea of prenatal vitamins isn’t always easy. How does Perelel aim to simplify and empower an approach to women’s wellness?
Alex Taylor: Today’s woman already has enough on her plate. She doesn’t have time to research vitamins, and if she does, I’m sure she’d rather be doing something else. With Perelel, our goal is to take out the guesswork when it comes to women’s health and nutrition. 

We brought on a team of top doctors and practitioners, called the Perelel Panel, who not only formulate and review all of our products, but also co-create all of our content. This way, our customers can rest assured that every touchpoint of our brand experience—from our products to content—is coming from the nation’s most authoritative leaders. 

We’re also just super convenient: We’re a subscription so you can set-it-and-forget-it and know that each month we’ll make sure you get what you need, when you need it.

“We’re a brand that stands against mom-shaming, offers facts and expertise, doesn’t perpetuate superwoman syndrome, and welcomes women and their varied experiences surrounding fertility, motherhood, and ultimately womanhood as all equally beautiful and worthy. We celebrate the imperfect because—let's be real—everyone is.”

Rip & Tan: What makes Perelel different from other prenatal vitamin and supplement brands out there?
Alex Taylor: We are the first and only OBGYN-founded prenatal vitamin brand offering not only prenatal vitamins, but also bundled vitamin regimens for fertility and general motherhood. We are exclusively focused on women’s health, too. Rather than branching into every category, we are determined to be the absolute best-in-class vitamin source for women. 

The biggest differentiator is that while every other brand offers the same vitamin for every stage of pregnancy (including fertility), we have packs specifically formulated to support the unique nutritional needs of each stage: We have a 1st Trimester Pack, a 2nd Trimester Pack, and a 3rd Trimester Pack. We also have Fertility Support Pack, which was formulated by a top reproductive endocrinologist in partnership with our founding OBGYN, along with packs for general Motherhood, called our Mom Multi Support Pack. Our Mom Multi is perfect for any pre-menopausal mom as it has a great multivitamin with added iron, and a beauty and anti-stress blend). 

Each daily pack of Perelel contains two full-spectrum multivitamins, an omega DHA + EPA, and two targeted supplements for each phase.

"I felt like my life went from black and white to technicolor after having my children. And while it’s crazy and wild and can be totally chaotic, it’s so deeply wonderful and fulfilling."

Rip & Tan: Where did the idea for the Perelel Panel stem from? How did you curate your collective of experts?
Alex Taylor: Before we even launched Perelel, Tori and I constantly found ourselves searching for information around fertility, pregnancy, and even postpartum. Nine times out of ten, we were led to a forum where just about anyone from anywhere could answer questions about pre and postnatal health with zero credentials. Again: insane. Seeing as I have a deep background in publishing and creating trustworthy content from leading subject matter experts was a no-brainer. 

We first pulled together a team of the leading doctors to run point on our production formulation—from highly-respected obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine doctors to the reproductive endocrinologists to the stars (looking at you, Dr. Andy Huang!). And since we already had them involved in the brand, we realized we could also tap them to be the voice of all of our resource content, and so the Perelel Panel was born.

We eventually expanded the panel beyond doctors by adding other interdisciplinary experts in the pre and postnatal field since approaching women’s health in a holistic way is a core pillar of our philosophy. We have an incredible reproductive psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah Oreck, who covers topics such as fertility mindset and loss. Allison Oswald, a physical therapist who leads the national conversation around pelvic floor health. We also have Rachel Nicks, a prenatal fitness and Mirror trainer, in addition to a doula, a pregnancy nutritionist and registered dietician named Stephanie Lauri, and many more. For us, it was vital that everyone be currently practicing and the best in their respective disciple because trust is key to our brand.
Rip & Tan: From personal priorities to your overarching worldview, how has motherhood changed you? 
Alex Taylor: I could go on and on about this… But frankly, motherhood has made me a better person in all respects. I’ve learned to let go of my ego, approach the world with a greater sense of compassion and ease, and be more present. To me, there is nothing more meditative than quietly watching the little people I created with a sense of awe and wonder. Just wow.
Rip & Tan: What’s one thing you wish you knew before becoming a mother? Any words of wisdom for women trying to start families of their own?
Alex Taylor: Life will never be the same and it won’t be easy, but it’s the most rewarding job in the world. I felt like my life went from black and white to technicolor after having my children. And while it’s crazy and wild and can be totally chaotic, it’s so deeply wonderful and fulfilling.

As for advice, be kind to yourself and be kind to others on their motherhood journey. It’s tough and there will be many twists and turns, ups and downs. It’s imperative that we as women stick together and support one another with grace.
Rip & Tan: What does living well mean to you?
Alex Taylor: Being present and rooted in what is. To me, nothing feels better than being wholly in the moment with my family—that is the ultimate gift of life and the secret to living well: the now.
Photos by Kate Berry