The Cool Condoms: Making Safe Sex, Sexy!
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believe the b Condom packaging, which is sleek and cool, will compel younger African Americans to use condoms?

Yes! Here is one of the things I learned. Number one, you can’t sell people on gimmicks. And number two, what works with African Americans, and this is coming from a marketing perspective but it is still my opinion, is that your brand has to be luxury. What I wanted to do was normalize the condom discussion by coming out with a brand that was hot.

And look at the packaging. The packaging is hot.

Yeah, it looks good and it’s sexy. It’ sick. Platinum is the new Gold. Get your game right! 

And you create a positive trend too.

Exactly, because a lot of the profit that we make is re-invested back into the community. We are one of the true urban reinvestment models.

How have you two specifically married your entrepreneurial spirits with social activism?

So I will give you the perfect example. In October 2011,we bought Jim Jones and Melyssa Ford to a high school in Brooklyn and had a focus discussion around condom usage, HIV and AIDS and how it affects the Black community. Trojan isn’t doing that. Lifestyle is not doing that. No one is doing that. It needs to be done. This is how we create change, especially for future generations. And that’s how we are reinvesting. You know now, we may not be in a position where we can cut people checks. We aren’t there yet. But if you match what we have been able to do in one year, put our track record against any of the others, we’ll exceed. We make up 14% of the population and nearly 50 percent of the AIDS cases.  I don’t want to knock anybody down, but we’re the only ones saying lets change this. 

Besides being able to give back to the community, what other rewarding experiences do you receive from your job? 

One of the greatest things that I have seen is the parents and grandparents to look at me and say, “I just like you to do what you’re doing”.  They just like what we’re doing.

You’d be surprised at how many people actually want you to do well!

Yeah, and don’t get me wrong you will always have your roadblocks. And as a company we have had a lot of setbacks, it wasn’t always easy. Because we weren’t “condom” guys, we didn’t have 40 years of experience doing this. But we became experts in the process and we trusted ourselves and we said if we bring some smart people on and you work hard and you work smart, and you’re willing to learn and you recognize when you may not be doing something right, you can fix it. And that was our motto. We said, “we’ll learn as we go”.

Do you feel like you are speaking to our generation about really chasing something bigger than yourself?

Yes! This is beyond the product. And now is the time to do it. A lot of our street and promotional teams are made up of students from campuses that are working for free. It’s because they believe in it. Its not me, they want to be apart of these teams. People want to come and support in any way. If each one teaches one, we can all kind of move together as one. And rock out with it. We can get right, because this is how it is supposed to be.

What is next for b Condoms?

What I do think is we will be moving a way from the traditional public health field and into the retail side, so we want to make sure we do that right and that’s where the money is really.

What are some of your proudest moments of this journey?

We were invited to speak at the American Public Health Conference and we’ve spoken at Morehouse. We have gotten a lot of good press. We were on the Michael Eric Dyson show. We got a couple of early clients to believe in us. As a Black leader, you need to find early adapters who will say “I like what you are doing and not only will I support you but I will pay for it”.

You all are going down in history!

 I honestly think so. Our story has yet to be written in our own way. Here goes the thing, African Americans make up 22% of the condom market here in the U.S. If you add Latinos and combine that, we are nearly at 40 %. Why shouldn’t we have a condom that we own, that speaks to us? We’re young enough, we’re working enough, and we know what can be hot. And our goal is just getting it to that point.

Have you ever turned down a deal or partnership because they did not speak to your vision