CosmeticsDesign spoke with Joylux CEO Colette Courtion about the concept behind the brand, the white space it fills and what the beauty industry can learn from the intimate health company.
Can you tell me a little bit about your brand?
We are the leading women's health brand focused on intimate health. We are targeting women that are going through menopause. Menopause has three stages, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause, but it can start for women as early as their 30s and go through the rest of their life. We target what we'd call more mature women, rather than younger millennial women.
Where did the concept for the brand come from?
It came from my own personal experience, having spent a good portion of my career working in the field of esthetics, specifically with advanced technologies like laser and light therapies for anti-aging purposes.
When I had my son and went through the physical challenges that happened with childbirth, and then ultimately through menopause, I realized that there was a whole demographic and needs state that was being ignored by the beauty world. That was women as they're aging in their intimate health.
I had this ah-ha moment and said to myself that there's a real need for products that address these intimate health issues, which are very similar to skincare issues on your face, they just happen to your intimate health tissues, your vagina, your pelvic floor health, things like that.
How has the brand done in the market?
We are the pioneers in this space. We launched over four years ago, which was incredibly challenging because this historically has been a very taboo topic. Women don't talk about their intimate health, they don't talk about what's going on with their vagina, or their sex lives or anything.
Usually, they may discuss it with their partners, or their doctors, maybe sometimes with their girlfriends. We were trying to raise visibility around the importance of taking care of your body down there, just like you take care of your body everywhere else.
We ran into a lot of resistance from social platforms like Facebook, Google and Instagram because we were talking about the vagina. It is a body part no different than an arm or a leg. Because it's the vagina, it's automatically deemed inappropriate and adult.
We were often shut down and prohibited from talking about this topic. Ironically, the topic of male intimate health issues like erectile dysfunction is totally okay to talk about and has been discussed on national television since the 1990s. There are definitely inequalities between men's health and women's health.
It took us a couple of years to get our name and our brand out there. But then COVID came, and COVID actually was a real blessing for this whole whitespace because all of a sudden women were at home and they had nothing to do.
They start asked questions, going online and Googling these health issues that they experienced, whether it's pain with sex or vaginal dryness or accidental bladder leakage, all these issues that they deal with.
The whole notion of “self-care down there” started to explode. We saw this surge of startups in this space as people caught on that women are looking for products and information regarding these problems. Now all of a sudden the large retailers are now taking notice and we are seeing a wonderful response to our products.
Aside from sales, how are you measuring success with the brand?
Success to me is knowing that we're making a difference in women's lives and that we're changing their lives for the better. We get calls, emails and handwritten letters from our customers telling us how our product has changed their lives.
I couldn't be more proud because I know we're giving women hope for their health, their vaginal health, their intimate health. They are no longer suffering and they can do the things that they've wanted to do, whether that's being intimate with their partner and not worry about pain, or not worry about peeing their pants in an exercise class and being embarrassed.
Giving women that confidence to do what they love to do, hands down, is what motivates me and the team. We know that we are doing the right thing.
What are the benefits and challenges to working in a white space that's not only underserved, but has not been talked about or addressed in the past?
The first thing is helping women identify that yes, in fact, they do have a problem and that yes, there are now solutions to help them. When you go through childbirth and then into menopause, when you go through these life changes, doctors don’t talk to you about what's going on.
When your body physically changes, we just think it's part of the act of childbirth, or it's part of the act of menopause. We just suck it up or say it's the badge of honor of being a mom or it's the badge of honor of growing older.
The first thing we have to do is educate women and say yes, many women, pee their pants, but it doesn't have to be the way that you live your life. That's number one, just acknowledging that there are issues that can be treated and then saying “here's how we can treat them.”
For menopause, a great example is pain with intercourse. This usually happens as women age, and they start to experience pain. There are physical reasons for it because we lose estrogen and then the estrogen affects our lubrication. That causes dryness and inflammation of the tissue.
What we try to do in this white space is say, yes, your body is going through changes. While they are normal changes, they are changes you don't need to accept there are now products to help you. Let us give you the information and the products to get you through this stage of your life.
How do you, as a brand, deal with the pressure of filling in a little bit of the medical gaps as well with aging for women?
It's very tough because the vagina, just like any part of your body, is a multifaceted organ and it's unique. What one person may be going through is not the same as someone else. It's very important that we never get into the position of trying to diagnose consumers or say there's a one size fits all solution.
As a brand that's focused on intimate health, we spend a lot of time educating women on all the options out there, not just what our product offers, but other things out there that they may try. Then we always say, most importantly, talk to your doctor about what you're going through, and let them help you decide which solution is best for you.
What's the next step for your brand?
We have been tackling intimate health and vaginal health for aging women, there's a whole void for the younger consumer or younger women going through childbirth.
There are really old, antiquated products called postpartum products that are what our grandmothers and our grandmothers before them used. There is an opportunity to totally innovate in this space.
Like what we did in vaginal health and menopausal health, we're reinventing postpartum care. We are launching with a new brand and a totally innovative new product Q1 of next year.
What can beauty professionals broadly learn from your brand?
People want to disassociate intimate health from beauty when the fact is it's so incredibly important to being a whole woman. It's not just what we see on the surface, but it's in our entire body. It's being healthy and beautiful from head to toe, and how you define beauty is unique to you.
But taking care of yourself, like we take care of our skin, is important. Let's take care of our intimate health. You may not look at it and see it, but it's essential and important to who you are as a woman. After all, that's what makes us a woman.
Let's embrace it and take care of it. From the beauty perspective, that woman who's investing in her face is willing to invest in products for her intimate health. You just need to present the opportunities to her.