Tired of the status quo, activist Heather Smith was ready to dive into a new endeavor to help women regain control of personal healthcare decisions.
Smith, the regional executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming and the Dakotas, enrolled in an entrepreneurship essentials program at Central Wyoming College to help launch Juliet, her own company for pregnancy and ovulation test deliveries.
Through Juliet, women can get ovulation and pregnancy tests in a supportive, stigma-free way. Supplies are delivered in discreet packaging to the customer’s door and include messages of affirmation, power, confidence, and control.
“Every aspect and word of the packaging is designed to provide comfort to the person opening it—no matter where they’re at in their fertility journey,” Smith said.
Smith grew up in Idaho but has lived all over the world. She graduated from Charles Darwin University in 2004 and finished law school at Australia’s James Cook University in 2008.
She credits CWC for providing her with the skills she will need to launch Juliet in February.
“Taking the course gave me the tools I needed to put all the pieces together,” Smith said. “The instructors were remarkable and held regular office hours so we could dig into issues one-on-one.”
Though Smith had never built a business from the ground up before, she is no stranger to women’s rights.
“I’ve spent my career as a lawyer and nonprofit executive advocating for the rights of women, and after all my years of work, one thing is clear: women have had enough,” she said. “We’re tired of the politicization of our bodies, of feeling like we aren’t doing or being enough, and the guilt.”
Smith named her company after the heroine in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
“I wanted the company to be named after a strong, resolute woman that did things her own way,” Smith said. “Juliet went after what she wanted despite living in a society with very few choices for women.”
Smith wanted to use her company to provide a sense of empowerment to her customers.
“My company was made for the Juliets of the world,” she said. “The women who do things their own way, are tired of the status quo, and won’t play by the rules of the patriarchy for a single second longer.”
Motivated by her desire to help women regain control of personal healthcare decisions, Smith turned to the experts for a deep dive into business.
“Sandy Hessler is renowned for her entrepreneurship courses and I wanted to learn from one of the best,” she said. “I liked that the course was a once-off course, and that content that would typically be spread out across months was condensed in weeks.”
Smith still receives support from her CWC instructional team.
“I appreciate the ongoing mentorship I’ve received from all the lecturers as well,” she said. “We’ve kept in touch and they’ve been big supporters of Juliet.”
CWC Instructor of Business Kyle Trumble said ‘student’ doesn’t feel like the correct classification for Smith, because she taught and inspired him so much. Trumble described Smith as “curious and coachable,” and commended her ability to listen to feedback.
“She demonstrates both warmth and competence which serves her well in being the leader of her company,” he said.
Juliet received recognition outside of the college as well. In fall 2020, Juliet won the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker award for promoting a diverse economy and healthy environment.
The company relies on top of the line products. Tests are FDA approved and have 99% accuracy. Available at Meet-Juliet.com, package options include four pregnancy tests for $20, seven ovulation tests for $23, and bundles of both for $34. They have a three week delivery time.
Though the company won’t officially launch until mid-February 2021, Smith has had remarkable success with preorders.
“I actually sold out of tests in 12 hours on Monday,” she said. “We had a mini-viral moment.”
A dollar from each sale is donated to the reproductive justice and postpartum support organization, SisterSong.
The successful startup of Juliet is both a professional and personal victory for Smith.
“Launching Juliet is a major win for me in 2020/2021,” Smith said. “And of course the choice to have my daughter who’s now five. I worked really hard to start my family and I’m so proud.”