The Founder and CEO of Poppy Seed Health Knows Exactly How to Pamper Herself
Simmone Taitt, the CEO and founder of the pregnancy and postpartum app Poppy Seed Health, ends her week with a hot shower, yummy Jamaican food, and extremely luxurious loungewear.
As temperatures drop and holiday stress rises, we’re getting back to the basics of what makes spending time inside so nice. So, in addition to hosting a series of virtual events called Inside Time, we reached out to several women in our community to find out how they spend their Friday nights. Next up is Simmone Taitt, the founder of Poppy Seed Health, taking us through her recipe for an unplugged evening in.
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Simmone Taitt puts you at ease the moment she greets you with her deeply welcoming presence. But beneath this warm exterior is a sharp, authentic leader—a quality she leans into as the founder and CEO of Poppy Seed Health, a health-tech platform focused on supporting women through the highs and lows of their fertility journey. She launched Poppy in 2019 following a series of miscarriages and an isolating experience with her doctor. Since then, she’s grown her team through the ups and downs of the pandemic and closed her pre-seed round, which includes high-profile investors like Chelsea Clinton and Alexis Ohanian. To balance out the madness of growing a start-up, she and her partner have been settling into their home they built together in New Jersey; in the Taitt-Bennett household, comfort is the ultimate priority on a Friday night.
Two years ago, the end of the work week would have heralded in multiple social engagements. These days, Friday looks a little different: Simmone does a Marie-Kondo-esque pass through her home to press reset. “I get a lot of thinking done when I’m putting things in their places. I can’t say that I have a container for everything, but I can say that everything has a place. During the weekend, I really want to be in a clean, lovely space that smells great.” For her, it’s a chance to process the week, thinking through the ups and downs while tidying up. Simmone’s space is also meticulously designed. After purchasing their condo, she and her partner remodeled it themselves, bringing in personal design elements and leaving plenty of space for mementos from road trips around the US.
After tidying up her house, Simmone does a personal refresh, as well. “Hydrotherapy has been a big part of my lifestyle for over a decade. I take a shower every night and every morning. I’m taking a shower as soon as I possibly can and getting into loungewear of some sort, whether that’s pajamas or shorts. I’m sad it took me this long to discover how great loungewear is.”
One reason it took her so long was Simmone’s previous way of thinking about her wardrobe, which—while highly organized—didn’t carve out a lot of space for casual pieces that still look put-together. “I grew up with three wardrobes: school clothes, house clothes, and church clothes. My parents were very strict about these demarcations. What you wore to school, you could not wear in the house. So as soon as I came home from school, I would get into my house clothes, and those house clothes never left the house. I very much admired women, including my own mother, who got into their work clothes to go to work. I knew what her work wardrobe was. Conceptually, that idea just kind of stayed with me throughout my life. At some point, every time I went to work, people would say, ‘Gosh, you’re so dressed up.’”
Now that Simmone understands the joy of cozy sets, she’s sharing this comfort with others, as well. Last year, everyone on the Poppy Seed team received an indulgent set of pajamas for Christmas, as does anyone in her social circle who is expecting a baby. “For those days after a baby’s arrival—when the mentality is ‘what is life and what are clothes?’—you should be in really nice, yummy pajamas that make you feel good when you put them on.”
But Simmone is also adopting more of a Power Casual style in her everyday life, wearing laid-back pieces that still look polished—and defy her childhood’s strict divisions between home clothes and work clothes. “To be honest with you, I don’t look great in sweats. Even my partner knows it just doesn’t work for me. So instead, I started to invest in more leggings that I feel comfortable in whether I’m home or going out.” And as for specifics on those leggings? She’s been reaching for these surprisingly soft vegan leather ones.
“The best thing to have happened with my classic work uniform was that I gave all that structure a rest! My blouses are what make appearances on a fairly consistent basis. As a proud, full-busted woman, I’ve found that blouse shopping can be tough. The ones that work for me will forever be a part of my wardrobe, because it takes so much effort to find the right fit. The other day, I put on a silk top and went outside, and it felt like I had arrived back in the world in some way.” Another favorite occasion outfit: a black miniskirt and the rich red Carrie top, which has just enough vibrance for a celebratory evening.
As for holidays, Simmone focuses hers around a favorite family heirloom. “Twelve years ago, for my birthday gift, my mother hand-wrote all of our family recipes and compiled them into a recipe box. I cried like a baby. It is the most priceless gift that I have. My mom is Jamaican, and my stepdad was a black man from the South. We always had the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, but there were also always our own cultural meals that we loved alongside. For Christmas Eve, I’ve gotten into this tradition where I try to make something from that recipe box that I’ve never made before. We’re going to have a Jamaican Christmas Eve. And then on Christmas, we can do whatever.”
But along with this cheer, she makes space for feeling and recognizing other emotions, as well. Poppy Seed Health focuses on supporting patients throughout their fertility journey, a path that often involves grief. Around celebratory times of year, acknowledging this grief with loved ones can be particularly delicate. “Statistically speaking, so many people may have experienced a loss. One in four people have experienced pregnancy loss, like I have. Especially during the holidays, they need to be seen, too. And if you are privileged enough to be in someone’s support circle, I think the number one thing to do to support them is acknowledging their grief. We don’t always know what to say, but the simplest thing that you can do for people is to say, ‘Hey, you know, I know that you’re navigating some tough things, and I love you.’” (For those seeking support beyond their normal circles, Poppy Seed connects expecting families and women with medical advocates—doulas, midwives, and nurses—including 24/7 support via text, phone and video. They’ve also crafted some impeccably organized guides with more detail on how to best support friends and family working through this journey.)
However you’re spending the holidays, there’s one lesson we can all learn from Simmone: Take care of yourself and others, and good things will follow.