Understanding the Needs of Women: This Black Woman Founded a New Morning After Pill Brand
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Understanding the Needs of Women: This Black Woman Founded a Morning-After Pill Brand

Amanda E/J Morrison (Image courtesy of Daniel Vasquez)

Amanda E/J Morrison is changing the face and narrative of healthcare with her newest business endeavor Julie, a morning-after pill company.

Understanding the needs of women, Morrison co-founded Julie alongside Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick to create a more accessible morning pill. In addition, the brand strives to curate a space for conversations and education around emergency contraception.

 

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Morrison, who spoke at BE’s Small Business Summit last year, invited BLACK ENTERPRISE to join in on the conversation.

From Beauty to Health and Wellness

The former Mented Cosmetics co-founder said the Julie pill shares a similar mission to the beauty collection.

“I saw that women of color felt left out of the beauty industry and were playing chemist alone in their bathrooms to find the right shade,” Morrison tells BLACK ENTERPRISE in an email.

“No access to products that worked and no community to share with. In all areas of life it is critical to feel seen and heard and that connection is what most women crave. I saw this same void in access, education, and dignity within the emergency contraception space—and we want Julie to fill that,” she added.

Julie’s Morning After Pill

Discussions about Julie started in the fall of 2021, as a result of a decade-long hiatus of any innovation in this product’s market.

Julie’s pill is made with Levonorgestrel 1.5mg, an FDA-approved, progestin-only emergency contraceptive that is also found in other brands. The drug was first released in 1999 as an over-the-counter contraceptive. 

“What sets the brand apart is that there hasn’t been any innovation in this product market in more than a decade,” Morrison says. “Now, the conversation about what the pill is and how it works is in need of a refresh, with a perspective shifted toward a younger consumer. Julie is that refresh.”

Morrison says the company’s goal begins with educating women on what the morning-after pill is and the importance of making it completely accessible.

“Obviously, in a post-Roe world, we see the goal of Julie as even more important,” she shared. “It is not abortion, and it’s legal in all 50 states, without ID or a prescription.”

As women in some states have fewer options for family planning available to them, it’s more critical than ever that women are informed about all of their options when it comes to pregnancy prevention. 

Through Julie’s one-to-one program, the brand aims to be the largest emergency contraception donor, as it will collaborate with local and state partners to donate one pill for every pill purchased. 

Preventing Misinformation: Julie Helps De-Stigmatize Emergency Contraception

Julie challenges the stigmas associated with the morning-after pill by providing learning resources and pushing acceptance.

“Women often go through the experience of deciding to buy the morning-after pill alone. And yet, nearly everyone has either gone through it themselves or knows someone who has. So we want to help women realize this experience is actually a shared one. At Julie, we want to  provide people with products that are easy in every way: easy to find, easy to take, easy to relate to, and easy to understand.”

In addition, the brand seeks to spark open and informative conversations among younger generations about sex and the different options women have.

“Education about the morning-after pill is a key part of the refresh Julie is looking to bring. There is a huge misconception that the morning-after pill is the same as an abortion pill—and we found this to be true through our own research,” Morrison explains.

According to statistics provided by Morrison:

  • 61% of women 18-35 say emergency contraception (EC )prevents a pregnancy (with ~39% saying it ends a pregnancy, both prevents and ends, or were unsure)

  • 48% of women 36-45 say EC prevents a pregnancy (with 52% saying it ends a pregnancy, both prevents and ends, or was unsure)

“So, our goal is to educate more women about what the morning-after pill is and isn’t so that they can make more informed decisions—starting from once you see the product on shelves. The box has a QR code customers can scan to pull up an FAQ from our website that is honest and to the point. We’ve also brought on a fabulous medical board that we’ll be tapping into for social content and to help guide us on future moves,” she adds.

‘Everyone Knows a Julie’

The health and wellness professional revealed the inspiration behind the naming of the pill saying, “We knew we wanted it to be a woman’s name, and during focus groups, someone said, ‘Everyone knows a Julie. She’s friendly.’ And we thought that’s perfect!”

The company’s mission was for women to see the product as approachable, always leading with learning and acceptance.

“When I think of who Julie is, I think of the friend you can always talk to. She’s your older sister, best friend, your auntie who has been around the block and will tell you how it is without judgment.”

The Idea Behind Julie’s Vibrant Packaging

Morrison shared that specifics for Julie’s packaging and branding were very important during the production process.

“We heard from women that there is a second walk of shame when going to pick up the morning-after pill,’ she says. “There is that walk when you go to the aisle, and you pick up the national brand, and everybody now knows that one plan failed, and now you’re here to “correct” that mistake. There is so much shame inherent in that walk, and now you have to go to the cashier and potentially feel judged. And if you’re from the South or the Midwest or live in a small town where things are already difficult to talk about, now we’re adding another layer.

“What we’re trying to do is give you a little confidence in that walk. Let’s give you a box that’s as beautiful as the other personal care products you’re gonna pick up. It’s very impactful for people to feel like they have the confidence to go to the store and buy the thing they need, and they’re not gonna have some retribution from that.”

Women Need To Know This About Emergency Contraception

Morrison reiterated that the morning-after pill is not an abortion pill. However, it contains an FDA-approved medicine that helps prevent pregnancy. She believes women must understand that the pill is nothing to ashamed of. 

“At Julie, we want to give people the language to better understand what emergency contraception is so that they can have open and honest conversations and be more informed when making decisions,” she says.

Julie is exclusively available now at Walmart.

 

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Amanda E/J Morrison is the Co-Founder & President of Julie Products Inc. a modern women’s pharmaceutical company focused on empathy and education to help change the face and narrative of healthcare. Previously the Chief Marketing Officer at Underlining, a premium brand studio launching innovative brands across multiple beauty and wellness verticals. She is the co-founder and serves on the board of Mented Cosmetics, a pigment-first beauty brand celebrating women of all hues. A graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School, Amanda is excited to be an entrepreneur focused on digital strategy and brand building. With a myriad of experiences in finance, consumer marketing, Amanda is very involved in her community through involvement in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Junior League of New York, 25 Black Women in Beauty, and Howard Alumni Association.


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