What happens when your healthcare business becomes irrelevant just weeks before you’re set to open? You pivot and take advantage of the immediate shift toward online and telehealth services.
Lavender is an online therapy and psychiatry office founded in March 2020. When founders Brighid Gannon (DNP, PMHNP-BC) and Pritma Dhillon-Chattha (DNP, MHA, RN) met, they were completing doctoral degrees at Yale University. Both entrepreneurial by nature, Brighid and Pritma had noticed a lack of opportunity for their peers within the nursing community to start their own businesses. Although Brighid is located in New York City and Pritma lives in Calgary, CA, they knew they wanted to collaborate on a new project together.
“We had an idea to open a injectable cosmetic franchise for nurses because nurses do not become entrepreneurs and they don’t tend to start their own businesses. We were 4 weeks from signing our lease on our physical space and starting the build out.”
And then COVID-19 hit.
Given the newfound restrictions around non-essential businesses, Pritma and Brighid were forced to postpone their plans for the clinic. But as the pandemic grew more serious around the world, they began to hear a similar theme as they spoke to their friends and colleagues: the need for more accessible mental healthcare.
Brighid, who is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, is all too familiar with the hurdles to the challenges that come with accessing mental healthcare. She and Pritma saw that people’s needs today are not being met by outdated industry practices like expensive hourly rates and rigid scheduling of 60-minute weekly appointments. With Lavender, they would create a new model for psychological and psychiatric care, with flexible appointment frequency, shorter appointment times and more affordable treatment options. They also wanted to make sure they made this same level of care accessible to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the Coronavirus Pandemic who are facing unprecedented emotional and physical stress, so they decided to offer care at a steeply discounted rate to these providers.
Lavender was born out of the desire to provide affordable and accessible mental health services. Thanks to Fiverr, they were able to launch Lavender in just 45 days.
“We used [Fiverr] for nearly everything we needed to get off the ground– the logo, the website design, SEO optimization, website copy, and even animated explainer videos and custom illustrations based on the colors that our designer had chosen for us.”
Brighid and Pritma worked with Fiverr seller, mijalzagier on creating overall brand guidelines to not only make it clear what their business does, but also ensure their patients feel calm and welcome. It’s why they chose the name Lavender, a reference to the flower’s calming effects. Once those guidelines were in place, they were able to work with writer jeffereyspivey to create informative content about the conditions they treat and how. As a finishing touch, giselledekel created custom illustrations for Lavender to use on their site, on social media, and across all their marketing channels.
And, with a business like this, it’s crucial to ensure that your target audience can find your product. Once all the content was finalized, the Lavender team worked hard on improving the discoverability of their site. Seller zimamedia worked with Brighid and Pritma on optimizing the SEO of their site. He didn’t just tell the team what to do with their site; instead, he filmed a short video, walking them through their existing site and outlining all the changes that needed to be made. This way, Brighid and Pritma could get a hands-on understanding of their site’s performance.
“It’s been really really exciting. Our bookings are doubling every single week. And because we were able to launch so quickly, we were first to market with this kind of online psychiatry and therapy group.”
And the results speak for themselves.
“From May to June of 2020, Lavender saw a 400% growth in new users, a trend that we hoped would hold into the next month… In July, Lavender grew 500%. More and more patients are saying they found us online, so I think our SEO is starting to work.”
Pritma and Brighid know that there was no one secret ingredient to their success, but rather a combination of different initiatives and strategies.
“The one piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs who are shifting their business from offline to online is to really think outside the box. There’s always a way, and we’re proof of it.”