Launched in 2018, Jonny condoms was created by three friends who wanted to remove the stigma – and awkwardness – out of buying condoms (particularly for women).
A condom brand created by women – for women.
The idea might seem more obvious now. We don’t know many women who don’t want to take control of well, everything! But when Jonny launched, condoms were made by men, for men, which made it even more taboo for women to buy, and supply partners, with the nifty little things.
We chatted to co-founder, Bec Park, on empowering women to take ownership of their sexual health.
Pic: Jonny co-founders Bec Park, Samantha Eades and Bec Villanti.
How did the Jonny brand come about?
Well, funnily enough, Sami, Bec and myself were chatting over a glass of wine…or two about our loves won, lost, lusts etc and we all realised we had very similar experiences when it came to having sex and the difficulty of the ‘condom’ talk…despite the age difference amongst us. It was at that point, and a few bottles in that we realised we had to do something about this shame and awkwardness that still existed. From there Jonny was ‘born’ and we haven’t looked back. It’s been one amazing ride so far!
So, let’s talk vegan condoms. We (perhaps naively) assumed they all were vegan! Can you explain this one a little more?
Don’t worry – it was new to us too and something we uncovered in our product research. We were keen to find the most non-toxic yet still reliable product we could find, and it was then that we discovered most brands use casein in the lubrication of the latex during the manufacturing process – ours doesn’t! Caesin is a milk derivative. So when we found out this we were pretty excited about the market opportunity for Jonny.
When we were growing up, many women (ourselves included) felt ashamed or embarrassed to carry condoms, or felt as though it wasn’t their responsibility. How do you think attitudes have changed and what’s been the driving force behind it?
I know right!!! And I could talk for hours on this topic alone…but I won’t ;)
When we started to create Jonny, the #metoo movement hadn’t even started…so we were a little early to the market with our take on the crazy shame and embarrassment that existed. But then, the market caught up super-fast. It was like people were ready and relieved to finally be talking about this exact topic - not only about condom carrying/usage but about sex in general. I would say that the ‘me-too’ movement helped accelerate the conversation, and then you add in consumer awareness of brands like Jonny, Sextech etc and suddenly communication starts to open up a little. We still have a way to go but we are a lot further along the conversation than we were just 4 years ago. It is incredibly exciting to see.
How does it feel to be part of this movement? And what role do you want Jonny to play in the conversation?
It is seriously bloody exciting! I get goosebumps when I think about it. We want Jonny to play a very big part in accelerating the conversation, in a respectful manner. This is the whole reason we started Jonny. We always said, imagine if you can influence just .01% of young people in the way they approach consensual protected sex…that alone impacts generations of people. It is time we all came out from under the covers and start talking about sex in a really open, honest and respectful way. And I emphasise respectful as this is at the core where things have gone astray. But again – that is another huge topic to cover another day!
What does sexual empowerment mean to you?
Being able to speak your truth, without shame, embarrassment or care of judgement.
As well as being vegan, we know Jonny has a strong focus on sustainability. In what ways is the brand sustainable and why is this important to you?
Sustainability – and how we can minimise our impact – was something we were focussed very early on in the creation of Jonny. Infact it formed the basis of our mantra; Be good to self; be good to others; be good to mother nature!
We were also very mindful of viewing ‘sustainability’ through the 3 pillars – Environment, Economic, Social – each can be addressed on their own or together, or, being sustainable via one pillar is sometimes needed at the expense of the others.
For example, latex condoms degrade – but no one knows how long it takes….if we look at the use of this form of contraception from a social and even economical point of view – they are more sustainable. If manufactured as naturally as possible there are less toxins in your body, less health risks, less risk of pregnancy or STI transmission, are less expensive and so on – all which can have massive sustainable impacts socially and economically.
We also looked at how we can prevent the disposing of condoms down the loo – yes this happens! The devastation this causes to our waterways and marine life is horrible. This is how we came across FabLittleBag - a biodegradable, plant based small bag that is opaque and completely seals – just add Jonny and dispose of in a bin near you!
Then we also look to be as environmentally friendly as possible everywhere else; our packaging uses recycled stock and can be recycled; and we keep looking for ways to continue to reduce our footprint. It is just top of mind for us at all times.
Pic: The Little Fab bag
What are the benefits of using Jonny alongside other forms of contraception, like the Pill or UDI?
When using condoms with the Pill or UDI the main benefit is the reduced risk of STI transmission. Unfortunately STI’s like syphilis, chlamydia, and even HIV are on the rise again – with syphilis at an all-time high in Australia right now. So it isn’t just about protecting against untimely pregnancy, but also about looking after your own health and that of your partner(s).
Working in such an intimate category, you must have heard all sorts of stories. Do you have any tips or advice?
Ha! So many funny stories – but they aren’t mine to share so I will keep them quiet.
There are 2 tips….start the conversation with those you trust. It will feel awkward at first but very quickly the awkwardness gives way to relief and humour and moments of “ohhh it isn’t just me that feels/thinks/see’s it that way!” If you have a partner, open up the conversation and be respectful of their needs and boundaries and discover each other together. You can learn so much about yourself, and your ‘intimate other’.
And the 2nd tip – just have FUN! Don’t get too serious, have a laugh in the moment and outside the moment.
Talking intimates more broadly, what’s your most memorable lingerie moment?
My beautiful Grandma told me when I was about 12 years old….always buy beautiful lingerie, for no-one else but yourself. You will always feel wonderfully confident if you are wearing beautiful lingerie! I still think about that moment today & especially when I am pulling on daggy cotton undies ;)
We’ve spotted Jonny at some of our favourite Aussie hotels, like The Calile Hotel. Where else does Jonny like to go?
Jonny is definitely getting around! We are fortunate that a few hotels and resorts have embraced Jonny. The Calile, Notel (Melbourne), The Ville Resort, The Fleming (Hong Kong) to name a few. And Jonny is also travelling around the world with distribution in USA, UK, NZ, and more.
What’s next for Jonny?
More ‘travel’! We would like to see Jonny getting around Australia more, and then hopefully introduce a larger sized Jonny soon too. We recently launched our ‘Lets Dance’ bulk pack and that is going a little crazy. Exciting times ahead.
Discover Jonny here.
For more information on sexual transmitted infections and how you can protect yourself and others visit Better Health here.