Finally, A Wearable That Helps Track Your Period

Photo: Courtesy Bellabeat.
 Urška Sršen didn't originally set out to make wearable tech. Two years ago, her company, Bellabeat, was trying to develop remote patient-monitoring systems for prenatal care in Europe. As she learned how much women were overlooked in the health-tracking space, Sršen shifted gears. Bellabeat's latest is the limited-edition Leaf, nature-inspired smart jewelry that helps track activity, sleep, stress, and nutrition.

The $250 Leaf is made of 7,000-year-old dark marshwood and finished with 14k gold-leaf plating. It's waterproof and can be worn as a necklace, a bracelet, or clipped onto your collar or lapel. Inside, a replaceable battery keeps it charged for about six months. The device — which doesn't look or feel like it houses electronics at all — provides real-time health feedback, paired with its app. Notably, Leaf offers menstrual- and ovulation-cycle tracking (and information about how that impacts your overall wellness and activity over the month) — something conspicuously missing from other health apps and devices. 

We chatted with Sršen about how the Leaf is different from other wearables out there.

Your background is in design and sculpture — a bit different from Silicon Valley start-up culture. How are the two worlds similar?
"You’re fighting with all you’ve got to create something you love and believe in. It’s a very creative process that takes courage, self-discipline, and confidence."

The Leaf is pretty unique in the wearables space. Whom did you have in mind when you designed this product?
"The Bellabeat Leaf is for all women who want to change their lives for the healthier, without having to compromise their style — women who want to understand how their bodies work and be prepared, physically and psychologically, for the different challenges they face every day. Whether they are fitness enthusiasts, working professionals, moms of three, or trying to get pregnant, the Bellabeat Leaf is designed to provide them with the data that they need and advice tailored to their lifestyle."

Why is activity-tracking important for women? 
"By understanding their habits, women gain a complete picture of their physical and emotional health, which empowers them to improve their overall wellbeing. Unlike many other trackers, the Leaf system monitors stress (via the rise and fall of your breath when worn as a necklace) and women’s health (monthly cycles and ovulation via the app), as well as activity and sleep."

How are your products different from other wearables on the market?
"We adjusted not just the design of Bellabeat devices, but also the supporting software, to provide female users with relevant information and insights. Bellabeat’s approach to quantified self is holistic — where mind- and body-tracking are equally important. The Leaf tracks women’s activity, sleep, and depth of breathing, as well as menstrual and reproductive cycles, allowing them to better understand the relationships between all aspects of their health."
The device is made of marshwood, a really unusual choice for a wearable-tech device. How is this wood different? 
"The black bog oak used in the Limited Edition Leaf is oak wood that has been buried in bogs for 7,000 years and then dug out and preserved. It is a rare form of timber that is comparable to some of the world’s most expensive tropical hardwoods. It’s naturally tinted by tannins and has undergone the early stages of fossilization, which give it the characteristic, naturally formed, rich black color. Sites of bog oak are very rare and can be found mostly only in Croatia and Bosnia."
What are some ideas you live by as the co-founder of Bellabeat?
"Decide fast, execute well, and never make a backup plan."

More from Tech