Lexis Serot, a proud humanitarian, founded LittleWins, after her daughter—post birth— was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. When her daughter was undergoing treatments, Lexis spent five years navigating a frustratingly complex healthcare system while familiarizing herself with the many forms of care, therapies, and equipment that could help her daughter reach her fullest potential. More often than not, she felt isolated and alone.
To address the above problems of the healthcare system, Lexis started LittleWins, an online community dedicated to connecting “people” with disabilities to search, buy, sell, and donate durable medical equipment. It is a community built for supporting and sharing equipment among families, caregivers, and therapists of “people” with disabilities.
It is Lexis’ belief that access to proper medical equipment and care should be simple. Therefore, LittleWins fosters a supportive environment for anyone who deserves help while suffering from disabilities and empower them with the tools they need to thrive.
LittleWins was awarded for being one of the best companies by health 2.0 conf. Dubai in 2022 and was listed in the IFAH’s Top 100 Healthcare Visionaries and Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas in 2021 & 2022.
In an exclusive interview with The Business Berg, Lexis Serot shares her struggles and the innovations she came up with to overcome them.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please enlighten our readers about LitteWins highlighting its significance in the community.
LittleWins is a community marketplace where members can donate or sell their used medical equipment. We started LittleWins because there was no real community for people in need of affordable medical equipment. I talked to so many people. I shared my story, and they shared their story with me, and I saw so much commonality between our stories. People wanted so badly to open up and connect with someone who shared their experience, but they were hesitant. We are a marketplace, yes, but more than that, we are the place where people can go to be seen, heard, and helped.
Tell us about you and shed some light on your professional tenure in the industry.
My tenure in this industry is comparatively short, but that’s what makes me so effective as an innovator. It is because I have a fresh perspective on an industry that has long been set in its ways. LittleWin’s success comes from being able to approach industry problems with an outsider’s objectivity and unconventionality. While I am an elaborate thinker, I am able to identify simple and effective solutions to problems. I am constantly working on bridging the gaps in the processes and help in all ways that I can.
What inspired you to establish a medical equipment company in the modern industry?
My professional career in the industry began out of necessity, not a choice. When my daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, I knew there had to be a better way. I couldn’t believe how little advice was given to anyone facing such a difficult challenge. I knew I couldn’t be alone in this, so I started reaching out to others who were in the same situation.
I sought clarification and information by asking questions, and I soon concluded that everyone appeared to be experiencing the same things. When my focus was on people with disabilities specifically, when she began interviewing people, she became aware that there were three main commonalities in the issues people were having: either they had something they no longer needed, or they needed something, but it wasn’t enough to solve the problems.
What shocked me the most was that regardless of their socioeconomic status, access to care and equipment, or even diagnoses people felt alone, isolated, and occasionally even depressed. These realizations served as my impetus for starting LittleWins.
Tell us about the services that LittleWins provides to its users.
LittleWins is a community marketplace where users can donate or sell their used medical equipment directly to each other. Additionally, users can connect and support each other through the sharing of ideas and solutions. It’s extremely easy to use.
Anyone who has the equipment they no longer need and want to donate needs only go to the website, give some quick information on whatever equipment they are trying to donate and sell, and then post. Soon enough, people who need that item in the community will reach out.
There is something wonderful about the directness of the service LittleWins provides. With LittleWins, you know exactly who you are helping. Additionally, users have the option to message each other about posted items and even just ask questions and get help from other people with shared experiences. LittleWins is a community and an ideal that strives to constantly better itself and adapts to the needs of its users.
What were the initial challenges that your company had to overcome, and what are the challenges now?
When trying to disrupt an industry so large and set in its ways, you’re undoubtedly going to be met with friction. Our initial challenge was tuning out the naysayers and staying true to our mission. All of that became much easier when we saw how much of a need there actually was for the service we provided.
Like any fast-growing company, proper scaling was very important. Each new level of growth brought with it new obstacles that needed to be navigated. And while these were all good problems to have, our team’s ability to adapt and be dynamic was essential to our survival in the early days.
Another obstacle we faced while expanding was hiring the right personnel. We weren’t necessarily looking for the most efficient workers or the ones most qualified on paper, but rather the people who understood what we were trying to do and WHY we were trying to do it. Synergy is essential for any business, and finding highly motivated people for the job is more than just a nice-looking resume.
Under your staunch leadership, what is the vision and mission of LittleWins in the ever-evolving medical industry?
Our mission has always been a simple one: to help people. The unfortunate reality of the medical device industry is that it’s expensive, and it’s easy for anyone to feel alone and helpless.
In no world should someone not be able to experience a basic quality of life simply because they cannot afford to. That’s why this community we’re creating is so important. The entire past, present, and future of our company is not what we offer but why we offer it. When you look at it like that, it opens up endless possibilities for LittleWins and what we can and will do.
Beyond medical equipment, there is so much more that can be done to improve the lives of people with disabilities. So, you can expect exciting things from us in the upcoming years, and we will never stop working to achieve our mission, which can never be achieved completely.
What are the necessary factors and aspects in the medical equipment industry, and how does LittleWins stand out as one of the leading companies in the industry?
As with all industries, profit is a priority. This isn’t to say that innovation isn’t high on the list or that manufacturers aren’t interested in making the best possible product, only that not everyone can afford access to these innovations. We aren’t here to undercut prices or even compete against medical device manufacturers. We’re simply creating a forum where used products can be donated or sold at a cheaper price to allow people of all socioeconomic backgrounds to have access to them.
That being said, we’re not a company focused on the bottom line. We measure our success based on our user satisfaction and the feedback we get from the people that have benefited from LittleWins. Like all companies in our space, we are always looking to satisfy the needs of present and future users. The industry is constantly changing, and being able to adapt to those needs is paramount.
Can you tell us about your leadership style and the approach you take to solve unforeseen challenges at the workplace?
Choosing the right personnel is essential to our success as a company. We ask very specific questions to anyone we interview to make sure their head (and their heart) are in the right place before they join our family. We say family because, in a lot of ways, that’s what we are. Synergy is huge at LittleWins, and when everyone can think like a team, there is no challenge we can’t overcome. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Like we’ve said earlier, our space is constantly changing and innovating, and I want my people not only to be able to adapt but also to be at the forefront of those innovations, specifically regarding accessibility. I want everyone who works at LittleWins to constantly keep an open mind. I want them to see from multiple perspectives and be empathetic. It’s important that my team understands that what we are doing is bigger than a single person or making a few dollars. We are making an important change.
Share your valuable opinions on how advanced automated technology is reshaping the medical equipment industry and how LittleWins is leveraging these technologies to enhance its service and operations.
Assistive technology devices, specifically eye-tracking technologies, are creating exciting new paths forward in accessibility. Giving someone a voice is something so intrinsic and profound. We consider the engineers of these technologies as first responders.
Now, during emergencies, people who previously had no voice can now be heard. It’s funny, this is another bare necessity that most people take for granted in their everyday life, but so many people don’t have access to it. Imagine not being able to understand your child; imagine needing something so badly and so clearly, but not being able to be understood. Eye-tracking technologies are so vital and should be a primary focus in assistive technology devices.
What do you think had the biggest impact on your career? What do you want to do in the future?
The interviews I had with people during the conceptual stages of LittleWins definitely had the biggest impact on my career. The dialogue we created with those who shared our experiences became a catalyst for the progress we would eventually make and a confirmation that what we were doing was important. I realized that people wanted to share their stories and they wanted to ask for help, but they were scared. They were hesitant to appear lost or alone, but when I shared my own similar feelings, they were much more willing.
I found a solution to the problem that I had by finding commonalities between the people I talked to and telling them about my story and my hurt, and opening up the door to them to let them know that it’s okay to talk. I think about each field that we’re in and how much of someone’s story we actually get when we’re interacting with them, doctor or patient. I had an epiphany that people have a fundamental need for community, and when it comes to healthcare, it’s no different. I will never forget the feeling I got when we started getting feedback from our first users.
What would you like to advise the budding aspirants who are thinking of venturing into this industry?
It’s a daunting industry, especially if you’re trying to disrupt it, but do not be discouraged. Believe in your concept, and don’t listen to outside naysayers. I had so many doubts when I started, but I soon realized that a lot of the doubt was brought on by surrounding voices and not my inner one. This is an industry with plenty of room for change and improvement, and people are hesitant to make waves, but it’s time that the smaller voices are heard. Your idea might be a game-changer, so stick with it.
How do you envision LittleWins eventually, and how do you plan to advance its operations and services concerning its future goals?
We have a lot of exciting plans for LittleWins, including expanding into accessible transportation and creating braille labels. The possibilities for growth and innovation are endless, and wherever we see discrepancies or opportunities for improvement in some facet of our society, we will rise to the occasion to remedy it. In the meantime, we will keep growing our community and raising awareness for the issues that matter to us. Our advancement and innovation stem from why we do and not what we do.