Colette Courtion is the ultimate mompreneur. She took her experience of pregnancy and motherhood- specifically the often unspoken pelvic floor health consequences- and applied her background in both finance and as an entrepreneur working in medical aesthetics with laser and light therapies, to create vSculpt. One in three women suffers from pelvic floor issues, and Colette is on a mission to help improve the lives of millions of women by offering a safe and easy treatment solution.
Read on to find out how this inspiring business leader is tackling the underserved women’s intimate health category, tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, and her journey as a health innovator.
You are the creator of vSculpt. What is vSculpt, and how is it unique?
vSculpt is a Health Canada-approved, clinically backed, and professionally recommended medical device that improves women’s quality of life by restoring pelvic floor health. One in three women suffers from pelvic floor issues- that’s millions of Canadian women!
Pelvic floor issues can be brought on by pregnancy and aging. These issues affect women’s day-to-day lives- impacting everything from confidence, to relationships and exercise.
Unlike other solutions, vSculpt is non-surgical, non-invasive, and can be used in the comfort of your own home. Through a unique combination of therapeutic light, gentle heat and sonic vibration technology, vSculpt restores vaginal tissue and pelvic muscles with regular use. Our studies have shown that nine out of ten women who use vSculpt correctly experience positive results.
What was the “aha moment” that led you to create JoyLux?
The majority of my career has been centered around making a difference in women’s lives. When I began my journey of motherhood, I started to have really open conversations about female health with my girlfriends. I learned about many of the unspoken health consequences of pregnancy, childbirth and aging. I was inspired by the magnitude of the problem and the lack of effective, safe and non-surgical treatment options. I began to explore how I could use my years of experience working with laser and light therapies in medical aesthetics, and apply those same scientific principles to women’s pelvic floor health.
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs recognize a need and then meet that need. You recognized the gap in the market- what prompted you to take the next steps and find solution?
Once I realized how common these issues were, through anecdotal and first hand information, I began researching and learned that over 35 million women in the US and Canada struggle with pelvic floor disorders. That is a staggering number! Despite how widespread pelvic floor disorders seem, there is a huge lack of awareness, and also stigma, so women end up suffering in silence.
When you consider that 18 million men in the US suffer from erectile dysfunction, not only is it a more socially accepted conversation to have, but it has also become a tremendous financial success for the medical and pharma industry.
Given the gap in treatment options, the pervasiveness of the issue and potential market, I realized that not only was there an opportunity to create a new solution like vSculpt and improve the lives of women, but that there was a viable business opportunity as well.
Often, having the ability to recognize the opportunity, seeing the need to be addressed, is just as challenging as taking the steps to pursue it. What are your tips for cultivating this entrepreneurial mindset?
There are lots of ways to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, but my top tip is to notice day-to-day problems- big or small- that could use a solution. If you have these pain points, it’s likely that others will too, and you can start looking into the market potential of your idea. With vSculpt, I recognized the issue I was facing was one that so many people experience, and that there was an opportunity to find a better solution.
Many of the women’s health issues that vSculpt addresses are unspoken. What drove you to be a leader in this space?
Women’s intimate health is underserved. Many of these issues have been taboo, but we’ve seen men’s issues like ED that were previously very stigmatized become part of the common discourse. Childbirth and menopause can be very difficult on women’s bodies. Most women experience one, and even both, of these major health events during their lifetime. The effects- personal issues like dryness and bladder leakage- are things many women have a difficult time discussing, even with their doctor. But they are common, and nothing to be ashamed about.
Why should women have to go through their lives, being held back? I’d like to see the same level of awareness and understanding for these uniquely female health issues, bring the conversation into the mainstream, and inspire women to seek effective treatments that improve their quality of life.
You’re an innovator. Have you always had that streak, or was it something you developed throughout your career?
While I have learned a tremendous amount over the course of my career, I have always had the desire to innovate. It started at a very young age and never stopped. I have been so fortunate to work for companies that fostered this streak and encouraged my growth- all of which has contributed to vSculpt.
What has been your biggest challenge in the last year, and what did you learn from it?
Every small business experiences challenges. It is imperative to see past the obstacle and keep your eyes on the future. Whether it is finding the right talent to grow your team, sourcing strong vendor partners, or day-to-day business issues, it is important to remember that they are all small roadblocks and will make the business stronger in the long run. Things never move as quickly as we might like so it is also important to remain patient and maintain a sense of humor.
What learnings from your previous career have proven to be the most valuable in running your own business?
I’ve spent the past 10 years pioneering transformational beauty products and medical devices. I founded Calidora, a chain of upscale anti-aging skin clinics in the Northwest, and was the CEO of the skin care company JeNu. Prior to that, I worked as a financial analyst at Starbucks and Pepsi Co.
My financial background combined with my prior experience as an entrepreneur and experience in laser and light medical technologies has all been invaluable in founding JoyLux and developing vSculpt. From being able to put together a compelling business case for investors, to being prepared for the ups and downs of business ownership, to the industry experience with these types of technologies to develop a sound product, JoyLux and vSculpt represent a culmination of everything I’ve done before. My past experience is what has led me to this point.
If you could share one piece of advice with aspiring female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Persevere- don’t give up, or get discouraged!
You’ve successfully raised millions of dollars in investment. What is your advice for communicating your vision to stakeholders- whether big or small- and securing buy-in?
My top advice for communicating a vision to stakeholders is to make it relatable, and then back it up with sound facts, numbers and research. Without a compelling business case, your vision won’t translate to a bottom line.
A lot of our investors and potential investors are male, and so they don’t have first-hand experience with the issues vSculpt addresses. But, every single one of them is a son, father, brother, and/or husband, and likely has women in their life that do. Particularly for those whose wives have experienced pelvic floor issues, they know how much of a problem it is and how much of an impact the symptoms can have on quality of life.
And, the facts and figures back up both the problem, and the business opportunity. We’ve done a lot of research into the market potential, as well as a survey of over 2,300 women to delve into the specific issues, and the severity, to better understand the target customer and what they need.
Together, painting a picture that someone can relate to with an emotional understanding, and supporting it with evidence to create a rational understanding, is a winning combination.
Name a woman who inspires you and tell us why?
I feel inspired every day by the amazing women entrepreneurs I have the chance to meet and interact with. Women like Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Marissa Mayer, and Carly Fiorina have expanded our opportunities and I am beginning to see a shift in women CEO’s. For the first time in history, we could have a female president. Women leaders bring a unique vantage point and I believe the business community is beginning to realize this.
Where do you see yourself, and vSculpt, in 5 years?
Our mission is to empower women to live their best lives. It is my hope that vSculpt will have created this opportunity for millions of women through restored pelvic floor health. I would like vSculpt to be a household name and a brand that women trust and love.