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Feb. 11, 2022 12:00 PM PST

In our new column, My Life’s Work, we ask tech founders and executives how their unique life experiences influenced their careers. Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

When Hilary Coles co-founded Hims in 2017, the company focused on two key areas: men’s hair loss and erectile dysfunction, offering telehealth solutions and tongue-in-cheek millennial branding (who could forget those cactus subway ads?). Since then, the company has expanded into a separate platform, Hers, offering birth control and other women’s health solutions. It also sells products over the counter in stores including Walmart and Target and has partnerships with Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez. Though Coles is now at the helm of the company, her path there was anything but linear.

Raised by a single mother, and with two younger sisters to care for, Coles was forced to become self-reliant from an early age.
My mom always worked [her parents split when she was 8], and I have two younger sisters that I had to take care of. I was the one picking them up from school and baking stuff for the bake sale and helping with their homework and all of that. And my mom was like, “You’ve got to figure it out—I’m doing my best to support you guys.” So I was always like, I can figure it out. I can make ends meet.

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