“This is a pregnancy test. It will not tell you whether you are good enough, worthy of love or on the right path. (YOU ARE). Love, Juliet.”
So reads the label on the pregnancy tests now available for delivery through Juliet, a new locally based company “designed to make women feel like super strong badasses,” according to CEO Heather Smith.
Inspired by her own experience purchasing fertility products, Smith set out to change the way women buy ovulation and pregnancy tests but also to build a support system of women empowering women. Juliet is working to transform the stigma around such products into confidence and positivity instead.
“Like most entrepreneurs it started with me experiencing a problem myself in the market and then wanting to design a better system,” Smith said. “I was just kind of struck by how much shame I felt about the idea of having to go and purchase these female health care products that I would need to grow my family.”
Smith was curious whether she was the only one. She asked several friends, and the overwhelming response was that they hated it too.
“We should have these products, but why do we have to go into the grocery store and kind of walk the gantlet of people you might run into and checkout clerks and people asking inappropriate questions?” she said.
Juliet is “the other way,” as Smith called it. Pregnancy and ovulation tests are shipped straight to customers’ homes accompanied by inspirational messages and affirmations.
Smith started working on Juliet in April 2020. She’d never built a business, but she is the executive director of the ACLU of South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming and has dealt with women’s rights for a majority of her career.
“I have run and scaled political and nonprofit organizations in my career, so taking a concept or an idea and making it happen is something that is, you know, it’s what I do,” she said. “Juliet was a big idea and I’ve just been focused on making it work.”
Juliet products, available at Meet-Juliet.com, include packs of four pregnancy tests ($20), packs of seven ovulation tests ($23) and a bundle of both ($34).
Though the company’s main innovation is that the tests are shipped to your door, Smith also found the best products available. The pregnancy tests are U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved and 99% accurate within three days of your expected period.
Last fall Smith and Juliet were part of Silicon Couloir’s Pitch Day, where she won the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award for best promoting “a diverse economy and healthy environment for current and future generations.” The award was accompanied by $2,500, six months of free use of The Cowork Space and an invitation to join TEAMS, Silicon Couloir’s mentoring program.
Since then she’s been preparing for Juliet’s official launch in February, perfecting packaging and building a marketing plan, all while listening to feedback from women.
“The initial concept was informed by actual women’s needs and what they were saying they wanted in the product and the company,” she said. “Since then it’s constantly going back to women and bringing more women into the fold to say, “‘What does this feel like?’ Right down to the colors of the company. ‘Does this resonate with you? Does this feel warm?’”
It was also important for Smith to give back to women. She will donate $1 of every sale to SisterSong, an organization that promotes reproductive justice and funds prenatal birth and postpartum support for women.
“The reason I love this organization and just everything around it is because I think women helping women and just creating a more powerful, resolute community of women who are watching out for each other feels so good,” she said.
Smith is creating not only a company but a community with Juliet, as it also offers advice and support through a free “Fertility Manifesto for the Waiting Mama,” Instagram posts (@meetjuliet) and blog posts offering fertility affirmations or tips on increasing egg health.
“The purpose of the company is to provide a safe and supportive place for women to exist, to connect with each other, to share information, to share tears and joy and anger and all of those emotions,” she said, “and just feel like they’ve kind of arrived home because they found a company who really sees them for who they are.”