The at-home beauty device market grew 14% in 2014, according to a Kline & Co. LED-enabled products with price points between $30 and $500 have helped the category build mass appeal, including with wearable mask devices.
Now, Colette Courtion, founder and CEO of Joylux, is looking to drive the technology into the female personal care device market for at-home vaginal rejuvenation. Courtion was previously CEO and president of JeNu, a high-tech beauty device reportedly “proven to triple the absorption of leading skin care ingredients, making products work better and faster.”
In this exclusive Q&A, Courtion discusses the technology's background, the results of consumer testing and her hope to bring vaginal rejuvenation to the beauty aisle.
Skin is skin. And if we are rebuilding collagen and elastin “down there”, just like devices rebuild collagen and elastin on your face, why can’t we be on the shelves next to beauty products?
GCI: Can you please talk a bit about your background?
CC: I have always been an entrepreneur, risk taker and innovator, looking to bring products to market that create the best experiences for consumers. I began my beauty career when I launched Calidora in 2005.
My own dissatisfaction with finding an effective skincare program led me to create a customer-centric approach to medical skin care. With eight skin clinics and more than 250,000 treatments performed, I built a trusted retail brand that stood for high quality treatments and products delivered with outstanding customer service.
I furthered my career when I joined JeNu as the president and chief beauty innovator. I took my industry expertise and merged it with technology and skincare science with the first-of-its-kind, JeNu Active-Youth Skincare System, an at-home Ultrasound Wand paired with proprietary, anti-aging creams.
Prior to JeNu and Calidora, I was a marketing executive at Starbucks, responsible for creating (and patenting) the Duetto Card, named by Business Week as the Best Product of the Year 2003, while running the largest and most successful retail store value card and loyalty program in the US, the Starbucks Card. I have also held careers in finance at PepsiCo and Maveron (a Seattle venture capital firm).
GCI: Tell us about the product and what it’s designed to do.
CC: vSculpt is an at-home, non-invasive medical device that uniquely blends therapeutic light therapy with gentle heat to excite vaginal tissue cells into increasing their natural production of collagen and elastin. This process increases blood flow at the cellular level to induce a healing response that helps repair nerve damage, improve vaginal sensation and boost natural hydration.
Additionally, the vibrational massage and the specially formulated Photonic Geltm help increase comfort and sensation during intercourse, improve muscle tone to combat urinary incontinence, and enhance the rejuvenation process.
GCI: What inspired you to create vSculpt?
CC: My friends, many of whom are moms like me, inspired me to explore new ways to help women address some less-than-positive physical changes they were going through. There are so many amazing, wonderful things about being a woman, and being a mother, but as incredible as it is, let’s be honest: some unfortunate physical changes occur after we give birth, and as we age.
Most of us learn to live with them (after all, we have amazing children to love and the wisdom of our years), but they can lead to bigger problems that affect not only us, but our partners, too. My background in beauty and technology inspired me to team up with some incredibly smart people to start JoyLux, which is dedicated to helping all women improve their vaginal health, self-confidence, and satisfaction.
GCI: What steps did you take to understand the potential market for this client?
CC: Most great ideas come from a quick “aha” moment of clarity. It started while listening to my girlfriends share their post-pregnancy stories.
Since the tissue on our face is the same as the tissue “down-there," I thought of ways in which I could tone and tighten a women’s pelvic floor. After doing research online and finding out this was a problem affecting many women, I engaged The Benchmarking Company to do a formal, in-depth online survey of more than 2,300 U.S. women.
We asked these women extremely personal questions regarding their experiences giving birth, whether or not they sometimes or always experienced urinary incontinence, the degree to which intercourse is either pleasurable or painful for them, their past purchases of devices to enhance arousal, you name it – it was all on the table!
We also asked them whether the vSculpt concept was appealing to them, and exactly which parts of the product’s benefits were most appealing, as well as purchase intent questions. We were then able to cross tabulate the responses by age range, primary vaginal issues they reported having, and purchase intent.
The feedback was extraordinary, with 98% of women surveyed saying they were somewhat to extremely interested in buying a product like this for themselves. Women really see a need for this type of device to solve issues that they have been dealing with in private.
Women hands-down understand the physical downsides after childbirth and as we all age, and are seeking a solution for vaginal issues as much as they are looking for an anti-aging face cream.
GCI: Testing a concept is one thing, but have you had a panel of women actually use the device? Does it work?
CC: I am thrilled to say that, yes, it works. We engaged The Benchmarking Company to enlist dozens of women who met a very strict criteria, to test the product over the course of 60 days.
We had a very structured protocol for the women to follow, and each woman was presented with a very detailed user guide. At selected intervals, we asked the women questions about their state of sexual arousal, about instances of urinary incontinence and the differences they were feeling within themselves as they progressed throughout the study timeframe.
We even asked questions of the panelists’ husbands/partners, asking them if they noticed changes in the degree of vaginal toning during intercourse with their wives. It was enlightening to say the least! We were absolutely thrilled by the results of the study.
We’re in the process of creating the right messaging that will attract women and start a conversation about personal care inside and out.
Female participants who used vSculpt reported these following results, among many others:
- 90% had less urinary incontinence
- 95% felt improved vaginal tightness
- 95% reported that pelvic floor muscles felt tighter
- 91% no longer experienced uncomfortable vaginal dryness with sex
The open-ended testimonials and comments from both the participants and their husbands were mind-blowing as well. These results were very positive from the start and allowed us prepare to launch vSculpt into the market with confidence.
GCI: With research results in hand, how did investors and other key shareholders react to the concept of this device?
CC: Given the intimate nature of the product, it was indeed a challenge to attract investors, especially men. But, with our homework through extensive research and testing with TBC that proves the product not only as something that women want, but that it actually works – we were able to find those investors.
GCI: What are your launch plans for vSculpt?
CC: We’re in the process of creating the right messaging that will attract women and start a conversation about personal care inside and out. We want to empower women to feel comfortable about their bodies and educate them on the products that will keep them feeling more beautiful and stronger everyday.
We’ll focus on carrying this conversation through social channels, public relations and influencer relations and engage a powerful community of women that care intimately about their health and well-being.
We plan on launching in physician offices (OBGYNs), as well as online with drugstore and specialty e-tailers. Additionally, we’ve entered into a national retail partnership with a company that provides sexual health and wellness products under the brand name Lovers.
Eventually, I’d like this product to be mainstream in retail stores that sell beauty products. Skin is skin. And if we are rebuilding collagen and elastin “down there,” just like devices rebuild collagen and elastin on your face, why can’t we be on the shelves next to beauty products?
GCI: What’s next for Joylux after vSculpt?
CC: We have a pipeline of LED-focused health products that are for both men and women. As a global consumer health and wellness company, our goal is to launch products that bring joy to the lives of our customers, and empower them to care for themselves.