If you feel inspired by some of the great mom owned businesses out there, then you’ll really enjoy learning from the experiences of this Mother/Daughter owned one. They fill a unique niche for women that might not have previously been considered: fancy cases that resemble a compact and hide a condom within.
I’m especially amazed at the fact that these two women can taken on such a topic, together. It goes to show the amazing things the right team can do and it doesn’t get much better than a mom working with her daughter to fulfill an entrepreneurial dream.
It was Marsha, the mom within this business, that I had the opportunity to talk to about her interesting product and business.
What is Just In Case and what does it do?
JUST IN CASE is the first chic, discreet “Intimacy” compact that has a mirror and hidden compartment that holds condoms. It gives women a beautiful way to stay protected and feel confident. It is the first product that addresses the women’s market for sexual health.
We also have as our corporate model to give back a portion of our profits to AIDS and women’s Health Charities. We are now, in fact in partnership with YouthAIDS (www.YouthAIDS.org)
What inspired the creation of your product and business?
The idea for Just in CaseÂ® was born after a dinner conversation I had in the early 80’s with my former neighbor Dr. Carl Djerassi, a world renowned chemist whose research findings lead to the birth of “the pill” and revolutionized the way we view sexuality. He suggested that evening that the condom was still an excellent means for contraception but had a “bad image” and since I was in the Creative Arts, couldn’t I do something to change that?
Well, thought about it, I did. I came up with the JUST IN CASE condom compact for women in 1982. My idea was before its time.
HIV/AIDS was not in our awareness – and STD’s were not in the pulse of our social structure as they are today. Sadly, we now face these maladies in epidemic proportions. And women are especially at risk.
People laughed at my idea then and told me no woman would be carrying a condom – The idea haunted me for 20 years. I am a women – I know how women think – and I KNEW it was a great idea.
When did it officially launch and how long did it take to go from idea to final product? What was the process like?
In 2003 Just in Case, Inc. was formed and we began our research and development. I am in the voice-over and entertainment business and I had been fortunate enough to make some very good money doing it – enough to launch my idea.
My daughter Rachael, who has extensive experience in the cosmetic industry, joined the business and together we developed our Just in CaseÂ® line of socially conscious and high fashion compacts. She had always believed in the idea after so many years of “talking” about it…and we knew it was TIME.
Once we made the decision to go for it – things really fell into place. I had the “picture” of how our product would look – I had visualized so many of the details over the years – so we got our business in order – logo, filed for patents, trademarks, etc. and began our journey.
The process was unlike anything I had ever done. I had never manufactured anything before – so we started from scratch… and began researching contacts to begin manufacturing. The first couple of years were a lesson in patience. I could write a book. Dealing with the FDA, overseas manufacturing – having PR people ready to get us press – but, the shipments were delayed, product standards not excellent…etc. You name it – we experienced it – pitfalls I couldnt have imagined. One step forward, two steps back – until we finally had our product ready to sell.
But we kept our focus and intention..and believed in our product and mission. Working with my daughter proved to be such a great decision – we really helped one another through the process.
How many styles are available for purchase?
We have our Classic line of compacts – in 5 colors – Petulant Pink, Luscious Lime, Mystic Metallic, Goddess Gold and RendezVous Red all coated in sparkling clear acrylic.
The second style is our JIC II compact – the “Chanel-esque” compact – basic Black – sleek and timeless.
We have a new line that is being developed now, as well.
As a mother/daughter run business, how has it been working together in this business? Have you ever regretted going into business together, or do the two have one of those great relationships that other parents hope to have with their own children?
Working with Rachael has been such a rewarding experience! We talked about the pitfalls that may enter into our partnership before we started the business to see if we both felt it would be a good idea and agreed to stay conscious of those things..and when they would come up – we would pull back – reassess – and come back together with the intention that we had originally set for the company- – We both have very different areas of expertise, as well as cooperative creative skills – so it has been a great match.
She offers the youth perspective – and knows her end of the business so well – I find myself in awe when we are in meetings together and she is so well prepared and clear on her objectives – and commands such respect…
I am more of the PR and visionary side of JIC – and use my talents in the area of media, communication with my extensive experience in the entertainment field- and together we have such passion for our product and message – WE can have conversations with at-risk teens as a mother/daughter team and cover both sides of the issue – a “parental” perspective as well as a “Peer” perspective – and it really has been enlightening and productive.
I love it.
What are some of the obstacles the two of you have had to face as your business grew? How did you overcome them and what have you learned from those experiences?
Since I was personally funding the business I didnt have the luxury of the mistakes that befall so many start-ups that a fully funded business would be able to absorb. So, when things started happening with our overseas manufacturing company that I didnt see coming, it cost us greatly, in terms of initial $$$.
We could only learn about their inability to perform their promise of high quality goods through trial and error – and that cost us greatly in time and $$.
The prototypes were coming back with problems over and over – sub standard for my expectations – and this cost us both time and $$ to figure out if we have the correct company in charge of creating our compacts! They also brokered condoms for us – we initially wanted custom condoms for our compacts – with our name, logo, etc. so they looked like part of our package..- Although we had contracted a factory that was FDA approved – it turned out that half of the shipment didnt pass inspection here in the US – and caused us great delays – all the while our PR company had been promising compacts for events, etc. and now we were held up in customs!
And we are in the business of saving lives – so we had to work with the FDA and remove ALL of our custom condoms from the compacts and have them destroyed(100,000 condoms) before we could get the compacts to the warehouse to have them re-filled here in the US with new condoms – and ready to sell. We are currently offering Lifestyles condoms as complimentary condoms that come with our compacts. Its a brand that people trust and are familiar with.
This problem also meant we had to take our former broker/manufacturer to court when he wouldn’t reimburse us for the bad condoms.
So that was another new experience! Happily, we won the case –
We will be offering custom condoms for our next line of compacts, however. And have found the proper contacts for that.
What has running a business taught you that can be applied to everyday life?
This experience has taught me that no matter what you want to do in life – you must have a very strong intention – and belief in what you are doing – and that it must be right action -because it will be tested…over and over – and you will encounter obstacles you didn’t expect. But they are never as powerful as your belief in what you are doing if you stay the course.
I had a little saying I would post on my computer to look at everyday when things got stressful and scarey – “Rest…but, don’t quit.”
It has served me well.
I also had people around me who supported me – and urged me to continue when all seemed lost – Rachael was such a huge support – we helped each other up when we were limping along with our challenges.
Ask for help is another one…it has served us well.
Do you have any future plans for your Just In Case? Where do you see your business going in the next 5 or more years?
We have a great vision for the future of Just in Case – In the next 5 or more years we will be a part the beauty industry and part of every women’s regimen for beauty that includes sexual health. We have some gorgeous product in the works – so keep a look out.
Have you ever wanted to walk away from your business? What helps keep you motivated?
Yes. But, that feeling did not become larger than my intention to continue with the business –
What motivates me is our mission to help women reconnect with their value – and their bodies and to be safe from the ravages of AIDS and STD’s
Women in this country are in trouble – and this epidemic is changing the future of our young teens…
What we are hearing about HIV/AIDS statistics and STD’s (the CDC has reported that 1 in 4 teens has an STD…!) my heart breaks every time I think of their pain and the way these diseases will alter their futures – and possibly the ability to have a child.
And the beauty of what we offer at Just in Case, Inc. is that staying protected WILL and CAN change life for the positive.
We want every women who is sexually active to carry a JUST IN CASE compact in her purse.
WE want to shout from the rooftops to women every where to:
Love Well. Love Wisely.
What advice do you have for any other mother/daughter teams looking to start a business?
Have candid talks about each of your strengths and weakness upfront and figure out who is in charge of what aspect of the business.
Delegate tasks and stay out each others business area unless asked.
Check in with each other about how things are going with task at hand…and if you need assistance in an area -work together on it, or find out who can help you.
Creating boundaries is a very good method of operation.
Treat each other with respect.
Keep good humor.
Re-visit your goals – check on progress – and chart new territory.
As the business expands – you may need to find others with different expertise to help you grow –
Needs change – situations change –
Talk about them with each other.