Julie Launches To Destigmatize Emergency Contraception


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Even although emergency contraception (EC) within the type of levonorgestrel (aka the “morning-after tablet”) has been out there 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 tablet is inappropriately saved behind a pharmacy counter. Now, as its very availability is known as into query by claims wrongfully associating it with “early abortion,” there’s maybe by no means been a extra vital time to banish that stigma—which is what Julie, a brand new emergency contraceptive tablet model, goals to attain.

Consisting of the identical lively ingredient as many morning-after capsules 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 will probably be out there 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 opponents, which clock in round $50. Its true innovation, although, is in its packaging, each actually and when it comes to 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 day by day, 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 understand that you just want it, so that you Google it and attempt to cobble collectively the knowledge 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 can not wait to get to the automobile and take this tablet already.’”

How the method of shopping for Julie was designed to take away disgrace and confusion

“We actually thought concerning the buyer journey and requested ourselves, ‘What are the locations we will make it simpler?’” says Johnson of Julie’s intention to melt the usually high-stress pathway to buying emergency contraception. “Our inside 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 stunning as the rest in private care to assist take away the disgrace you would possibly really feel in selecting 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 stunning as the rest in private care that you just would possibly choose up—a package deal that may assist take away the disgrace you would possibly really feel in selecting up one thing that appears so scientific,” says Johnson. “We thought, ‘What if it really seemed pleasant?’ As a result of what you really want at that second is a good friend.”

Even the identify of the product was chosen to seize that low-stakes, pleasant ethos. Reasonably than reminding you that you just’ve been pressured to show to a plan B, for instance, the identify “Julie” is supposed to be harking back to a “large sister or a cool aunt,” says Johnson. “Possibly she went to medical college, 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 de facto approachable.”

To that finish, Johnson can be working to free Julie contraception from plastic lockboxes and pharmacy counters in as many Walmart places 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 resolution about whether or not to purchase it. A QR code on the package deal hyperlinks to its web site, which was constructed with this in-store buyer in thoughts, says Johnson. It lists solutions to key questions concerning the product (what it does, who ought to take it, and when) that you just 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 training is core to Julie’s model intention. A lot misinformation surrounding EC exists, and the stigma of it will probably preserve individuals from looking 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 tablet, each on its web site and throughout social media, in order that it’s freely accessible and more than likely to achieve anybody who might have it.

“What emergency contraception does is assist forestall being pregnant when taken inside 72 hours of unprotected intercourse,” says Johnson. (Particularly, the tablet stops or delays ovulation and due to this fact doesn’t and can’t intervene with any present being pregnant.) “We’re targeted on telling that easy narrative in the entire ways in which individuals are going to course of and listen to it,” she says.

“We now have to be there digitally for the generations that we’re serving in a method that’s palatable, shareable, and creates an actual sense of edu-tainment.” —Johnson

With most Julie customers being millennials or members of Technology Z who work together with social media, that content material will embrace TikTok campaigns about EC helmed by influencers and celebrities. “We now have to be there digitally for the generations that we’re serving in a method that’s palatable, shareable, and creates an actual sense of edu-tainment,” says Johnson. “It’s not simply training, however how can we make it attention-grabbing? How can we make you sit by the complete Reel or TikTok, so that you really stroll away with the knowledge you want? That’s the objective.”

Whereas social media is definitely not the one acceptable area for sexual-health recommendation, the truth is, it is a vacation spot the place individuals are both searching for it or prepared to take it in. And this sort of approachable content material round such traditionally shame-shrouded matters as contraception can democratize entry to data that folks want as a way to make knowledgeable decisions for his or her our bodies.

Understanding that many individuals who come throughout this data on social media could not be capable to afford Julie, the model has additionally launched a donation initiative: For each Julie field bought, one is donated by one of many model’s companions, which embrace 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 residing by. “Particularly in sure states, proper now, EC is the final line of protection earlier than you might need to make a really troublesome resolution,” says Johnson, “and if we can assist it, we’d somewhat individuals not have to do this.”

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