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This week’s episode of the Zero to a Million Podcast with Zach Rego features Aneela Idnani, Co-Founder at HabitAware. The reality of Trichotillomania was, for a very long time, kept under wraps by those afflicted by it. This hair-pulling disorder is commonly met with shame and hushed tones and the road to healing was never really apparent.

Once Aneela discovered exactly what her condition was, she and her husband embarked on a journey to create a wearable device that acts as an alarm system to alert the user of the hair-pulling. 

As Trichotillomania is described as unconscious and done in a trance-like state, the alert system is effective in empowering the user to become aware and cease the behavior which is the cause of so much distress. Now HabitAware elevates the quality of life of tens of thousands of people across 70+ nations and also provides peer coaching calls.  

You can connect with Aneela in the links below: 


00:40 Founding HabitAware as a personal need living with Trichotillomania

04:45 Growing up unaware of Trichotillomania and learning to heal

08:16 HabitAware product development and meeting technical co-founders

13:28 Marketing HabitAware without outing people to their condition

16:08 Scaling: Education, word of mouth, outreach, and 3rd party consultants

22:13 Converting peer coaching to an online course and testing 

25:59 Updates to iOS have made tracking numbers difficult 

27:50 HabitAware's growth is aimed at supporting the community


03:48 "That's one of my triggers, just sitting and doing nothing. And that boredom, and I was pulling. And he just gently grabbed my hand and that was the aha moment of oh, if I just had something that notified me, could it help me?"

06:27 "I was so focused on hiding it and concealing, on making sure no one found out that it didn't ever really even occur to me could I switch and try to focus on healing."

12:31 "Typically when you say preorder campaign, you think of Indiegogo or Kickstarter, because there was so much shame and there still is so much shame about these conditions, we actually did the preorder campaign on our own website. We just didn't want to out people."

16:41 "They would share it with their psychologist and we started doing outreach to psychologists. So then it was sort of a two-way street of either a patient was telling their psychologist or psychologist was telling their patient. So that word of mouth is really strong for us." 

20:31 "Really, email has been our number one method, I think, in terms of that we've been focusing on in terms of nurturing people through, nurturing that relationship. And then Google Ads as well, search ads."

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