Lovability, a company founded by one of my entrepreneurship students at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC, was profiled today by Denise Restauri who writes for Forbes covering "the emerging voices of girls and women". Her piece entitled The Entrepreneur Making Condoms Chic Enough For Women To Buy tells the story of Tiffany Gaines who is on a mission to empower women to take control of their sexual health. Being completely dependent on male partners to provide the necessary protection is a mistake in this day and age. Tiffany's goal is to combat the stigma that women feel even talking about, much less buying, condoms by making them available in places where women feel comfortable shopping such as boutiques, lingerie, beauty supply and department stores as well as on the web. She believes that condoms in tasteful carrying cases in individual foil topped "butter packs", designed by women for women, belong in a woman's purse along with their lipstick, eye-liner, perfume and other beauty aids. The global market for condoms drives production of 15 billion annually. It is clearly a very large market ripe for change since the focus of the marketing spend has been been almost exclusively targeted to men who only represent half of the population that benefit from the product. Tiffany recognized that the balance has to change. She has taken it upon herself to make sure it does.
I thank Denise Restauri for writing the story so Forbes could publish it. This is an important topic.
Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts about the projects of the students in my entrepreneurship course at SVA. It is half of a course that also includes instruction in collaborative leadership overlaid on the startup efforts by Karen Proctor. The students are earning an MFA in Design for Social Innovation. 20 students have split up into 6 teams to build startups based on the Lean Startup method. As we break for the holidays they are all still in the customer validation phase proving that they have a viable approach to solving a problem or filling a need for an identifiable customer segment. Stay tuned for more posts before graduation in May 2014.