The tale behind Memby is the classic story of entrepreneurship meets exhausted parents of four girls meets a growing body of research showing just how much almost every professional and technical field has underestimated the role of relationships in health and lifespan.
Co-Founder and CEO Memby
Sarah-Eva is an expert on emotional health and conflict.
My husband and I once founded Floracracy, a flower company named #1 by Business Insider for our ability to deliver stunning, customized florals across the US. Inside this company, we had a little letter-writing team that was trained to help our customers write more meaningful messages. When someone was trying to send sympathy flowers or a corporate gift but didn’t know what to say, they weren’t left with something awkward that felt impersonal. This team helped them figure out what to say, and we’d then include real letters with the florals.
After sending out thousands and doing some amazing things along the way, the feedback was really shocking. People would be getting hundreds of dollars worth of flowers (we were not cheap), but they didn’t talk about the flowers. They talked about getting a real letter. And they kept saying the same thing again and again: I wish I could read this every day for the rest of my life. Meanwhile, our family was facing a new problem on a near daily basis. We got the idea for Floracracy as newly weds. By the time we were looking at this data, we were parents of 3 little girls with a forth on the way. There in our new reality, we had found ourselves facing a daily problem. Our daughters were coming home with dozens of pieces of artwork and then a growing body of cards and homework where they were writing stories and making cute comments. Much of it wasn’t wall worthy, and that’s what made the pieces so important to us. In the margins of a math paper where no notes should have been, we saw the early signs of our budding comic. From week to week, we watched our math genius find her confidence. These papers told the stories of who each child was becoming, and they meant the world to us. We wanted to read them every single day. Instead, the filled cabinets and bins that drove up the clutter, left us feeling overwhelmed, and were never visited except for when we moved. Our problem as parents mirrored what we heard from customers. These words we saw made us feel amazing when we read them. We wanted to read them every single day, but we had no way to do so. And this fact was causing clutter that made us feel worse than if we hadn’t had them at all. Floracracy was always meant to be about communication. We were the only company that let people pick flowers about meaning, and the idea was always that this lived alongside a letter. During 2022, as our company started to respond to rising flower costs and shipping delays, we got to asking ourselves a really big question: Did we even need the flowers? We had many late nights and long hours working through the pros and cons of making this change. To those we first mentioned this rumbling in our minds and hearts, they often saw this as a change to an entirely different company. To us, it felt like coming home to what we always meant to build. We had always been driven by a vision of a world where people could live longer, happier lives not by something they do but by how they lived with each other.
It felt like every single day, we were running into new data that clarified why our letters were having the impact that they were having and we needed to make this change. Social psychologists were debunking the concept that our bodies respond to physical pain differently than emotional pain and joy. Most specifically, a study found that when people read positive words written down, their bodies change temperature to mimic human touch. It was this feeling of warmth, vital to health and the kind of physiological transformation we try to fake with cold showers, that our bodies automatically create when we feel love and intimacy through words in our relationships. In other studies, research was debunking the myth that we can fake our brain into something. Instead of the long held belief that the best way to stop being afraid is to act like you aren’t, new understandings of the brain showed that by naming a fear the brain is best able to address and solve for it. And then, the biggest of all, was the simple truth discovered by an 85 - year long study at Harvard, the longest study ever conducted on happiness. When it comes to living longer, the single most important factor was not what you ate or how you moved your body. It was the quality of your relationships. It all came down to love and if we felt it moving through our bodies. And the singular vehicle to deliver this life-giving force to the cells of our bodies was written language. In September of 2022, we decided that we would phase the flowers out, flip the company over, and live in our business a truth we’d seen so clearly in our lives: nothing matters more than the people we love, that love can literally save your life again and again, and that the little words spoken in a simple text or on a slip of paper is the vehicle to deliver this potion. We wanted individuals who felt lost or alone in care communities to feel it. We wanted children who wondered if they were loved by others to feel it. We wanted tired mothers worried they’d not done enough to see the evidence of their worthiness. We are so grateful to everything that brought our company to this place. The journey through flowers unlocked the soul of Memby. Our vision is to build a product that resolves what we believe is one of the most fundamental problems working against extending lifespan and happiness: the inherent conflict between the mental need to feel organized and the mental need to feel meaning. When our lives are cluttered, we cannot parent as well. We cannot relax. We cannot see patterns and solve problems. And when we throw away the letters and notes that drive that over-stimulation, whether that’s a literal tossing out or the throwing of everything into bins in a basement, we lose meaning. We lose what validates who we are and that we’re loved. We lose the evidence that weighs against human doubt and loneliness and depression, psychological states known now to cool the body and shorten lifespan to such a degree that they are now viewed as deadlier than cigarette smoking. We’re on a mission to extend lifespans, in blissful happiness, by helping us live organized lives full of meaning. Please join us! About Sarah-Eva Sarah-Eva holds an M.Litt. from University of St. Andrews and MA from King’s College London. She was the creator of a new theory of peacebuilding that focused on the role of narrative to resolve conflicts in post conflict zones and lives. She’s a mother of 4 little girls, ages 8, 6, 3, and 3 months and loves more than almost anything else to take a baby where they’ve never been seen before (check her out here in Forbes), because that’s how the barrier between work and family gets redefined.