Q&A: Filling the digital gap in women’s healthcare services

This week, we speak to Nic Blair, founder of Youly. The online service offers users quick, convenient, and discreet access to women’s health treatments and prescriptions, including emergency contraception. Nic is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully launched businesses in different industries prior to going into the healthcare industry with Youly.

ISB: What motivated you to develop a women’s health service?

NB: When researching the area of telehealth and treatment delivery, there was no digital healthcare brand with a focus on women’s health that provided access to a complete range of prescriptions, medications and over-the-counter treatments. There were also still many barriers to obtaining medications that shouldn’t exist, one example being the process to purchase emergency contraception. We set out to solve this problem with Youly, the first brand we have launched under our new venture Midnight Health.

ISB: As someone who has successfully started businesses in different industries, what made the experience starting Youly a unique one for you?

NB: While I come from a digital background, this is a new industry for me. I invested a lot of time into research to understand the space, the audience, legal requirements and what was required to bring Youly to market. It took a few variations to the business model, as well as working with developers, GPs and pharmacists to pull it all together and build our Midnight Health platform. As a result, we now have a complete technology solution powering Youly that can handle a customer journey from their initial prescription request, right through to delivery. I’ve really enjoyed the process as I embark on this new challenge.

ISB: Given the stigma that continues to surround contraceptive products, how do you try to make women be more open to these products with Youly?

NB: It starts with the conversation that’s being had. If you find us on social media you’ll see that we’re “on a mission to #smashthetaboo” and normalise conversations around topics such as sexual health and reproduction. We aim to provide education, initiate conversation and become an advocate for women’s health that contributes to a positive change that goes beyond just the treatments we are providing access to. This message and voice combined with a platform that is the safest, most discreet way to obtain prescriptions and medications mean that we are creating the best possible environment for progression in women’s healthcare.

ISB: How has the reception been thus far with the pharmacies and the public?

NB: We’ve received an overwhelming amount of support through the press, our customers and some great Australian personalities such as Abbie Chatfield, Clementine Ford and Tully Smyth. Our customer feedback, in particular, has confirmed that there was a need for this type of service and it’s been great that we could bring it to market and already have such a positive impact on people’s lives. We’ve also had great support from our pharmacy partners coming on board for a new way to deliver treatments, with our network growing bigger every week.

ISB: What do you hope to achieve with the business within the next year or two?

NB: For Youly, our goal is to continue expanding the range of treatments that we’re offering which will be the main focus moving forward as we develop a complete healthcare solution. We’ve identified another seventeen treatment areas that we will be offering in the near future, with plenty more to come beyond this. For Midnight Health, the success of Youly has confirmed the need for better digital healthcare solutions in Australia and we have another four brands that we will be launching this year in other niche areas where we believe we can provide the best platform.

ISB: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in this business journey that fellow business owners can learn from as well?

NB: It’s important to spend time on research to understand your audience and the problems that need solving. If you do this, then you will naturally gain support for what you are doing through customers, media and your team that are on the journey with you. Just because something has always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be challenged and improved upon.