Female Disruptors: Colette Courtion is shaking up how society relates to women’s health issues
Never take “no” as an answer. Even when you are told time and again, NO, continue to persevere. Keep fighting until you find the best partner(s), secure the best investor(s), recruit the best employee(s), are marketing to your optimal audience(s) and selling to the right customers.
Colette Courtion is an award-winning consumer marketer and business leader based in Seattle. Armed with a BA in economics from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, she is the CEO of Joylux, Inc., a global femtech company that has developed a range of light-based devices and products that help with intimate health issues, including vFit and vFitPLUS in the US.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’ve spent more than 15 years working in beauty and with medical aesthetic technologies, but it was my personal experience of becoming a mother, that led me to start Joylux Inc., an innovative technology company that provides home-use solutions for women experiencing pelvic floor issues.
I partnered with OB/GYNs and launched Joylux in 2014 to bring to market the first and only home device to address women’s intimate wellness. Several home use innovations for women followed — vFit, vFit PLUS, vSculpt and vSculpt PRO — and are now leading the way in the femtech space.
Why did you found your company?
There are so many amazing, wonderful things about women. We’re strong, resourceful, and adaptable. But as incredible as it all may be, some unfortunate physical changes occur after we give birth, and even as we age. Most women learn to live with them, but they can lead to bigger problems that affect both us and our partners. The intersection of my background in beauty and medical aesthetic technologies and my becoming a mother was my impetus to build a team of remarkably smart people and start Joylux, a company dedicated to empowering women to improve their health and confidence. I can best relate, market, and sell to our target consumer because I am our target consumer.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
It’s conservatively estimated that pelvic floor disorders affect over 30 million women in the US (ironically Erectile Disfunction affects 18 million), but is a taboo topic that a majority of women are not even talking to their partners about, let alone share publicly. Until recently, many women kept their symptoms secret, despite the detrimental effects on their lifestyle, relationships, and overall confidence.
Joylux’s ultimate mission is to de-mystify women’s health issues and make them as mainstream as the struggles men experience. Women have been fighting intimate health issues alone. We want them to get comfortable talking about it and ultimately strive for personal care inside and out. Many products on the market today are focused on masking these problems; I want to solve them.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
I was lucky enough to work for Starbucks during the formative years of my career, and two individuals helped shape who I am today. The first was my boss, Anne Saunders. I spent the early part of my career in finance, and Anne pushed me into sales and marketing. Ultimately, this made me more well-rounded and positioned me to holistically manage my own business. I learned from Anne how to successfully connect on an emotional level with the consumer and how critical that was to any product. Numbers give you one perspective, but human insight and emotion tell a very different and important side of the story.
I had the privilege to begin to work for my second mentor, Howard Schultz directly when running the Starbucks Card and loyalty program. Howard’s conviction around building a business while also doing good was critical to everything he did and a model that I strongly believe in today. His overwhelming desire to be value-driven and to properly balance profit with human impact was reflected in the choices we made. With Joylux, we have a product that profoundly impacts women’s quality of life. The stories that we hear from them support our mission statement of empowering women to live their best lives through this advanced technology.
How are you going to shake things up next?
There is still so much to be done in intimate wellness. Getting women to talk about these prevalent issues and ensure they know it is ok to talk about them openly is a big goal for us. Women’s health is a huge opportunity and we have a full product pipeline with things that could be done to help women feel empowered and live their best lives. I also have a 3 year old who keeps things exciting and shakes up my world every day!
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
The best business advice I have received is advice I follow daily: never take “no” as an answer. Even when you are told time and again, NO, continue to persevere. Keep fighting until you find the best partner(s), secure the best investor(s), recruit the best employee(s), are marketing to your optimal audience(s) and selling to the right customers.
As a businesswoman, working in an industry that’s been marginalized by society in the past, marketing a product that addresses issues that are seen as taboo, it’s required that I be unwavering in my passion for our mission. Leaders don’t take no for an answer. Instead, they find creative ways to turn a “no” into a “yes”.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s all about perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. Although it’s a personal story, there are a lot of parallels to our business that involve shifting your perspective and overcoming the obstacles.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I’d love to sit down with Chelsea Handler. Not only would it be hilarious, but she’s a powerhouse who did not take no for an answer when breaking into the previously male-dominated late-night talk show world. She opened doors for countless female comics, and that’s what we are looking to do with the conversation on women’s intimate health.
How can our readers follow you on social media?