Though emergency contraception (EC) within the type of levonorgestrel (aka the “morning-after capsule”) has been accessible over-the-counter since 2006 and with out an age restrict since 2013, the darkish cloud hovering over it hasn’t budged. For years, individuals have reported feeling disgrace and embarrassment when buying it, averting their gaze from cashiers and even pharmacists in locations the place the capsule is inappropriately stored behind a pharmacy counter. Now, as its very availability is named into query by claims wrongfully associating it with “early abortion,” there’s by no means been a extra essential time to banish its stigma—which is what Julie, a brand new EC capsule model, goals to attain.
Consisting of the identical energetic ingredient as many morning-after tablets already in the marketplace (1.5mg of levonorgestrel, an FDA-approved artificial progestin), Julie launched September 28 in 4,500 Walmart shops, in addition to on walmart.com and juliecare.co for $42, the place extra inventory might be accessible by the tip of the month. Its value level makes it dearer than generic choices, which begin as little as $11, however cheaper than most brand-name rivals, which clock in round $50. Its true innovation, although, is in its packaging, each actually and by way of the work that the model is doing to destigmatize purchasing for emergency contraception within the first place.
“So many individuals are shopping for emergency contraception daily, they usually’re experiencing this horrible buyer journey,” says Amanda Johnson, the co-creator of Mented Cosmetics who co-founded Julie with Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick, co-founders of skin-care model Starface. “You get up, you notice that you simply want it, so that you Google it and attempt to cobble collectively the data you discover, otherwise you go instantly to the pharmacy, after which there’s this stroll of disgrace. It’s like, ‘Everyone is aware of that my plans failed, and the pharmacist is judging me and the cashier is judging me, and I am unable to wait to get to the automotive and take this capsule already.’”
To listen to extra about Julie from Johnson herself, take heed to this episode of The Nicely+Good Podcast:
How the method of shopping for Julie was designed to take away disgrace and confusion
“We actually thought in regards to the buyer journey and requested ourselves, ‘What are the locations we will make it simpler?’” says Johnson of Julie’s intention to melt the customarily high-stress pathway to buying emergency contraception. “Our inner motto is, ‘We will’t make EC enjoyable, however we will make it suck much less.’”
“We got down to offer you a package deal that’s as lovely as anything in private care to assist take away the disgrace you would possibly really feel in choosing up one thing that appears so scientific.” —Amanda Johnson, Julie co-founder
To just do that, the Julie co-founders first reimagined the appear and feel of the product on the shelf. “We got down to offer you a package deal that’s as lovely as anything in private care that you simply would possibly choose up—a package deal that may assist take away the disgrace you would possibly really feel in choosing up one thing that appears so scientific,” says Johnson. “We thought, ‘What if it really appeared pleasant?’ As a result of what you actually need at that second is a good friend.”
Even the identify of the product was chosen to seize that low-stakes, pleasant ethos. Quite than reminding you that you simply’ve been compelled to show to a plan B, for instance, the identify “Julie” is supposed to be paying homage to a “large sister or a cool aunt,” says Johnson. “Perhaps she went to medical faculty, perhaps she’s a nurse, perhaps she’s simply been across the block. In any case, she’s somebody who simply will get it and is actually approachable.”
To that finish, Johnson can also be working to free Julie contraception from plastic lockboxes and pharmacy counters in as many Walmart areas as doable, although she caveats that sure shops should put guardrails round it largely as a result of “it’s a high-theft product,” she says. To be clear, nevertheless, you don’t want a prescription, ID, or to be of a sure age to buy Julie (or any emergency contraception) in any of the 50 states, irrespective of the way it’s bought.
As soon as in hand, Julie is designed to shorten the time it takes you to make an knowledgeable choice about whether or not to purchase it. A QR code on the package deal hyperlinks to its web site, which was constructed with an in-store buyer in thoughts, says Johnson. It clearly lists solutions to key questions in regards to the product (e.g., what it does, who ought to take it, and when) that you simply would possibly must know whereas standing within the aisle.
How Julie is working to strip emergency contraception of its stigma past the aisle
Along with bettering the in-store expertise, offering schooling round EC is core to Julie’s model intention. Largely, that is as a result of misinformation surrounding EC is rampant, and the stigma of it might hold individuals from searching for out appropriate data within the first place. For these causes, Julie has tapped its medical board of woman-identifying physicians to assist create content material that demystifies the capsule, each on its website and throughout social media, in order that it’s freely accessible and most probably to succeed in anybody who may have it.
“What emergency contraception does is assist stop being pregnant when taken inside 72 hours of unprotected intercourse,” says Johnson. (Particularly, the capsule stops or delays ovulation and due to this fact doesn’t and can’t intrude with any current being pregnant.) “We’re targeted on telling that straightforward narrative in the entire ways in which persons are going to course of and listen to it,” she says.
“We’ve got to be there digitally for the generations that we’re serving in a approach that’s palatable, shareable, and creates an actual sense of edu-tainment.” —Johnson
With most Julie shoppers being millennials or members of Era Z who work together with social media, that content material will embody TikTok campaigns about EC helmed by influencers and celebrities. “We’ve got to be there digitally for the generations that we’re serving in a approach that’s palatable, shareable, and creates an actual sense of edu-tainment,” says Johnson. “It’s not simply schooling, however how will we make it fascinating? How will we make you sit by means of the total Reel or TikTok, so that you really stroll away with the data you want? That’s the objective.”
Whereas social media is definitely not the one acceptable area for sexual-health recommendation, the fact is, it is a vacation spot the place persons are both searching for it or prepared to take it in. And this sort of approachable content material round such a traditionally shame-shrouded matter as contraception can democratize entry to data that individuals want with a view to make knowledgeable decisions for his or her our bodies.
Understanding that many individuals who come throughout this data on social media might not have the ability to afford Julie, the model has additionally launched a donation initiative: For each Julie field bought, one is donated by means of one of many model’s companions, which embody college-campus organizations, cell clinics, and well being facilities catering to victims of home violence. The rationale why has as a lot to do with the product because it does the second we’re dwelling by means of. “Particularly in sure states, proper now, EC is the final line of protection earlier than you might need to make a really troublesome choice,” says Johnson, “and if we may also help it, we’d quite individuals not have to do this.”
To study extra in regards to the inspiration behind Julie and the function that the corporate goals to play throughout the reproductive-health panorama, take heed to the total podcast episode right here.
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