Empowered Reproductive Care Products, Prioritizing Equality, Convenience, and Accessibility
Gone are the days of shamefully wrapping your pregnancy tests in toilet paper and stuffing them to the bottom of the waste bin, or spending an entire day’s salary on expensive, big box store ovulation test kits. We have officially entered the age of the waste conscious, equality and affordability seeking consumers, and Ovry is here to show us they’re all that – and more. Notable sat down with Ovry founder Jackie Rhind to get the lowdown on shaking up a space that has long been dominated by big box brands, and why empowerment and equality speak so loudly to 2022’s savvy consumer.
Please tell us about your journey to coming up with the concept for Ovry.
I’ve taken a lot of pregnancy tests in my life, each time hoping desperately that it was negative. I was peeing on a keto test-strip one day in 2019 and thought to myself, “they should really have these for pregnancy, so much less waste, so much easier to hide in the trash, and you could a bunch of tests in a pack to keep on-hand”. When I discovered how exorbitant markups were on pregnancy tests, I became upset with how brands were capitalizing on the distress of people with ovaries. That’s when I decided there was room for Ovry, an empowering brand of reproductive care products that prioritizes equality, convenience and accessibility.
Why did you choose the name Ovry and what does it mean to you and your brand?
We chose the name Ovry because it speaks to biology not gender, and inclusivity is incredibly important to us. Traditionally, these types of products have only ever been shown in one light: cisgender hetero couples trying to conceive, leaving out an enormous number of users that are trying to avoid pregnancy or that do not fit the narrow confines of the gender binary. We love that the name Ovry is simple but that it clearly defines the core group of people we want to serve.
What is Ovry’s mission?
Ovry exists to inspire equality by innovating solutions that empower all people to be proactive about their reproductive health.
Please tell us a bit about the logo – the two lines.
Our main logo is two pink lines inside a black circle. These two lines look like an equal sign that has been flipped vertically, which perfectly embodies our foundational values of equality and inclusivity. These two pink lines also mimic the two pink lines you would find on a positive pregnancy test.
Can you speak a little on the improvements your brand has made over the existing products in the marketplace?
Absolutely! Compared to the pregnancy and ovulation tests you would find at your local pharmacy, Ovry strip tests are just as quick and accurate, but less wasteful, more affordable and convenient. We use 90% less single-use plastic than a conventional test, our boxes include several strips per box, and we save offer quick discreet shipping (free for orders over $25). All our products are manufactured in Canada and a portion of every sale is donated to charities that support people with ovaries.
Why is “removing the judgment” out of purchasing a product like a pregnancy test so important?
When we stigmatize products, it creates barriers to access them. Pregnancy tests are essential for many people with ovaries, and no person should feel discouraged from buying a test for fear of being judged. While we would love to live in a world where no person feels shame accessing this type of product (and are actively working to dismantle the underlying narratives that perpetuate the stigmatization of buying pregnancy tests), we also understand that there exists some level of privacy that people may want when it comes to the details of their personal life and reproductive choices. To ensure that our products are as accessible as possible, we offer free, fast and discreet shipping.
Can you tell us a little about your male fertility test and why that was important for you to make?
Despite nearly 50% of difficulties getting pregnant being related to issues with sperm, men are often left out of the fertility conversations altogether, leaving women to carry that burden. Our newest product, the Male Fertility Test, is a simple test that can be performed entirely at-home. The test identifies lower than normal sperm concentration in semen, which is a leading indicator of male infertility. This product is intended to help identify barriers to conceiving early on and change the dialogue around preconception health to include people with sperm.
Do you feel the pandemic shifted anything in your market?
More than ever, people are comfortable buying things online (even things like a pregnancy test which most people would otherwise usually buy in-person at the pharmacy or grocery store). This shift has helped encourage people to give Ovry products a try. When it comes to the business of baby-making, the pandemic has definitely had an impact on people’s decisions about when and whether they want that, but since we launched in the middle of the pandemic we unfortunately don’t have any historical sales to compare or draw conclusions from.
Tell us about your “Give a Strip” Donations program?
The “Give a Strip” program works like this: people with unused tests that they no longer need (they got pregnant, decided to go on birth control, etc.) can send their sealed test pouches back to us free of charge. These tests are then donated to charities and individuals for whom cost can be a barrier to access. We launched the “Give a Strip” program to improve the accessibility of our product to those in need, and to reduce waste.
You mentioned you have an interest in working with research studies in the women’s health space – such as universities/clinical studies, can you share a bit about that and why and how that empowers your company?
Yes! Research in Women’s Health has been making some exciting strides in recent years but there still exists a large health gap from a history of gender inequality in medical research. Historically, women-specific health needs have been largely ignored, under-researched, and underfunded. Thankfully, this is changing but there is a long way to go. As a company that prides itself on our feminist values, we believe it is our responsibility to engage and support research in women’s health as much as we can.
Anything else you can share with us that you have coming down the pipeline?
We have some very exciting products in the works. Unfortunately, we can’t discuss them just yet but stay tuned!
Where do you see Ovry headed?
We’d like to become the leading brand of reproductive care products for all people. We plan on doing that by being radically committed to more than just great products. With the current state of our world, we believe businesses that exist simply to generate wealth are missing the point. Our problems are bigger than us, so our solutions have to be as well. By keeping our foundational values integral to every decision we make, we strive to inspire equality with innovations that improve the lived experience of people with ovaries.