Safe is sexy and we have proof: the first high fashion “must have” accessory for safe sex, created with a woman’s sensibility of style and discretion in mind.
We have the pleasure of knowing a socially conscious mother/daughter duo whose mission is to empower women to make safe sex a priority; to help women raise their personal requirements by offering them a beautiful reason to carry condoms. Together, Marsha Bartenetti and her daughter Rachael Sudul developed their award-winning JUST IN CASE® line of intimacy compacts, redefining personal care to include sexual health. And they bring a whole lot of sass and style to the cause.
Taking charge of your sexual health can be fashionable with a JUST IN CASE® accessory with mirror and hidden compartment for condoms. This little trend just might save a life.
INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDERS
What inspired JUST IN CASE®?
Marsha: It was back in 1980, believe it or not, before HIV/AIDS was known to us and STD’s became an epidemic that I first came up wit the idea for JUST IN CASE®. I was having dinner with my then neighbor in Northern California – Dr. Carl Djerassi. Carl is a renowned chemist who invented the birth control pill. We were discussing birth control – and the subject of condoms came up. He said they were still one of the best means of contraception – but that they just had a bad image – Since I was in the Entertainment Industry, he said, and was creative, I should come up with something to change that. And thought about it I did. In fact, it was directly after that dinner that I visualized the entire concept of a compact for women that held condoms. Women had historically been the ones responsible in birth control and it just made sense to me. But, remember, it was 1980 – so everyone I brought the idea to laughed at me and said, “No woman is going to carry a condom!”
No one knew the devastation of HIV/AIDS – and sexual protection was only thought of to keep from having an unplanned pregnancy – STD’s were not in society’s pulse of understanding, either.
The idea haunted me for years – I knew women would love this product. I, of course, had discussed it with my daughter over that time. Finally a few years back Rachael and I talked about it seriously again. She wanted to join me in getting it out there and believed it was time. We began our partnership – and research and development – I took $$ I had earned from doing voice-overs, Rachael cashed in some of her stocks and off we went!
And we have never looked back.
We are committed to this not only as a fabulous product for women – but as agents for change in what has become a dire situation women are facing in the area of sexual consciousness and health.
Mine was definitely an idea before its’ time. And now, 32 years later - having unprotected sex is like playing a game of Russian roulette. One’s life may actually be at stake. JUST IN CASE® is a product whose time has come – and we are proud to have created this product for women. Our company continues to evolve as do the customers we serve; with one thing in mind to: Love Well. Love Wisely.®
What’s your ideal customer?
Rachael: Our ideal customer is a woman who takes her education/information to the next level of pro-action. If she has decided to be sexually active, she takes an active role in her sexual health. She is not afraid to ask her partner questions about his health and share her own concerns. She is a woman who finds strength in discretion and courage in honesty. She is a strong woman even when she is at her most vulnerable place… and that strength gives her partner comfort to be vulnerable and honest with her as well.
The customer who inspires us is the woman who is just learning how important her sexual health is… and how boundaries and requirements don’t push partners away but rather teach them how she wants to be treated. We keep the conversation alive for her to join in so she may become our “ideal” customer.
How do the JUST IN CASE® intimacy compacts contribute to a sexually empowered culture?
Marsha: We believe in the power of education, no question about it. But, we also know the power of trend. Together, we have a huge potential for change – in a positive direction.
JUST IN CASE® products are the tool that creates confidence. And when a woman has inner confidence it radiates in all areas of her life. She will make better choices.
This is not a man/woman debate – this is the integration of honoring and love between a couple – raising the requirements from a woman’s part allows her man to see her in a whole new light – and will trigger an innate man’s desire to look after his woman and protect her - in a truly feminine sense – as a truly masculine man. If she has high regard for herself – and holds that before anyone else – and does it in a non-aggressive way – but, from within - which is a strength beyond the battle of the sexes – it is integrative and very powerful. And elevates the bar of behavior.
Remember – at the time you are about to have sex – the brain is not in charge – so what you “know” won’t necessarily kick in - in a matter of seconds you could make a poor choice that might affect your life forever – This is usually when the pleas to God begin…hoping you aren’t pregnant, have an STD..or HIV/AIDS. Having your own protection will spark something in a matter of seconds that will trigger a good choice. You will actually have what you need to protect you –with you - and take an active step to be in charge of your future.
We are creating a bridge between beauty and sexual health.
And our trend is to honor women – to honor their sensibility for style and discretion – and to honor themselves when it comes to sexual health choices. And what a beautiful way to look after yourself and carry protection!
Remember - we are all about the pretty! And look for our new products to come out in early 2010. We are over the moon excited about what’s next!
In addition to offering really great products what sorts of community efforts/ philanthropic projects does Just in Case, Inc. support?
Rachael: We support a large number of philanthropic efforts because that has always been a core element of our business model, but of course there have been a few that really stood out for us. We have been a sponsor for Macy’s Passport, a phenomenal fashion show event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars that directly impact community AIDS organizations and AIDS research. We also held a contest across the US where people could nominate their local women’s non-profit clinic or organization. We chose one clinic per state entered and sent them a case of our Classic JUST IN CASE® Compacts to use at their discretion. The winning clinics used the compacts for outreach events, and to give to clients. We had a nurse from one of the winning clinics write us an email about the impact the compacts had on some of her clients. She gives a class on STDs and sexual health to women who are about to be released from prison. She said she is usually met with very blank stares during these courses but once she introduced the compacts, the tone in the class was shifted and there was a little excitement... they were given something beautiful that reminded them that they are beautiful women and that they are worth taking care of. Our hope is that those women remembered that beyond their class and taught the girls and women around them the same thing, that we are all beautiful and worth the tremendous effort to keep ourselves healthy and strong in all aspects of our lives.
My mom and I also had the privilege of speaking to a class of high school girls during a health class. In the beginning the girls were guarded and “tough”… with a defensiveness of “I don’t need a talk from you; I know what I’m doing.” When they saw the compacts, the girls opened up to us and it gave them a feeling that we weren’t there to dictate to them what they were going to do with their lives, but have a conversation with them about how to make the right decisions for themselves. Questions they will want to have answered when the time is right, and requirements they will have for all of their partners whether or not they choose to be sexually active.
Sex is a morally charged issue, and when we talk about sex the conversation can get clouded with mores, guilt, misinformation, and blame… when we can talk factually without pointing fingers we can get so much more accomplished. Sex is a profound and deep way to communicate and bond with your partner; it can also bring incredible distress and consequences when it isn’t treated with the respect and understanding it requires. We will continue to work with women’s groups in the US and abroad to keep the conversation alive.
If you could do anything other than the work that you do what would it be?
Marsha: We have so much work to do at JUST IN CASE® - We’ve just gotten started. And we are so excited about where our company is headed. We also want to start a foundation.
Outside of JUST IN CASE - I am an artist – my roots are in singing/acting/writing – I would get back on stage and sing – and get my screenplay in production. And there is always the element of the message I want to impart – and that is –to re-connect with who you are – know the power of truly knowing yourself – and the beauty of that in the larger scheme of life. I believe it’s all about remembering what we already really know – and have forgotten.
That we matter – and that we have something wonderful to contribute while we are here on earth - And I will be a voice for that no matter what the genre happens to be.
You do so much for others, what do you do to take care of you?
Rachael: I have two small children so I “take care of myself” in little tid bits! I read when I can (LOVE my Kindle!!) I exercise, and I take the time (sometimes it’s only 10 minutes) to look around at all I have to be grateful for. On those more challenging days I am grateful for the basics…my family’s health, the roof over my head, and the opportunity to share my thoughts and gifts with so many women through a product that I am tremendously proud of. Being grateful fills me when I feel overwhelmed, then I’m able to reach out even further.