Éva: When You Start a Sexual Wellness Company In Your Basement

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Maude, a sexual wellness company and proud sponsor of Good Sex, is committed to inclusivity. Founder Éva Goicochea and her team design multipurpose, un-gendered products, but their mission doesn’t stop there. In this episode, Éva gives us an exclusive look at her favorite products and what to consider when picking out a device. Plus, she tells the story of how it all started in her home state of New Mexico, where she first noticed a profound lack of sexual education. Sexual wellness is for everyone, and Maude believes that the way we explain, enhance, and experience it should be, too.

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Eva  00:02

I love our vibe. It’s our classic. It’s a beautiful iconic shape, but also I have […]. sometimes I’ll just hold the vibe Hi, I’m Eva, I’m the CEO and founder of Maude, my pronouns are she/her/hers, and you’re listening to GOOD SEX. First of all, I didn’t grow up thinking that this is where I would be. I grew up in New Mexico. And if you know anything about the state, it’s like one of the worst states and condom usage and sex ed, it’s pretty disparate state. I am a great aunt like four or five times over, meaning I have many nieces who had babies quite young, etc. And my career was I was a legislative aide in healthcare. And then I went into startups in marketing, and it was in some really early stage startups. And I really was like this space, could be bettered, it could be de-stigmatized through design and taking this approach by coming from those backgrounds. So it all kind of converged to become mod. And, again, it was it was pretty serendipitous, but I am deeply rooted in the commitment to change this industry. So that it, it does help them promote sex ed, and better sex for everybody. The company has been launched since 2018. But it’s been quite a journey. It literally started in my basement in 2015. It was an idea. And then in 2016, I moved to New York, I sold my house, I picked up all my stuff, I flew with my cat, like the whole thing. And I got to New York and started building the company. I mean, I think first of all, we all probably want to wake up in the morning and do something that we care about. And I feel like this is probably one of the most impactful categories to be in. Obviously, we know that we’ve just been set back many, many years on the political front. I think from a health perspective, it is very much still and has not yet been solved. There’s like an access issue to education. And then I think culturally speaking, we feel like it’s still stigmatized. Of course, there are so many people that are really comfortable talking about this. But I think, ultimately, especially in the United States, like we’re still afraid. And so there’s all of these layers to this category. And I’m so excited to wake up in the morning and be a part of that change. How are sex toys designed? So we call them devices, there’s very mixed feelings about this. But the reason why we call them devices is not to discourage anyone from thinking of them as fun, they are completely right. But I think the idea is actually to create more equity and access and equality in the space, the way that we design them. So I’m married to a mechanical engineer, and him and I will think through this do a lot of research with the team. We have a product team here. And we basically design everything in house. So it is a process that starts here. And then I’m laughing because I’m sitting next to our 3D printers. So sometimes it’ll be going and suddenly something will just get spit out on the 3D printer. And then we start to prototype it and we’ll make prototypes that are workable, and then we start to send it away to get back a product that is a working product that we can then send to testers. So from start to finish, it’s a really funny and interesting process. A lot of stuff comes off of the 3D printer that I would never send to market that is so weird. But for the most part, it all looks like Brancusi. I think our internal joke is like we’re just making art. We’re just making sculpture.

Eva  03:50

How can I make sure something will work for my particular body? I think you really just have to figure out what are you looking for? Or what are you trying to solve for? Is it internal stimulation, external stimulation. Maude has great products that are like beginner products. Maybe it’s your first or your basic, and then you kind of figure it out and go from there. But that’s really where we sit is like trying to make products that can be your go to, but hopefully you can figure out what you like, and explore the world so much more. How do we approach designing products that people of all genders can use and enjoy either with partners or solo? So we definitely think of multipurpose. So there’s ergonomics that come into mind like how is this going to be held? Where on the body can this go? A lot of our products can be used in many, many places. It’s not just for like clitoral stimulation or you know, g-spot stimulation or P spot stimulate like we think about what is the how can they be as multipurpose as possible. So that’s one thing and then I definitely think the color palette. I understand we all have different opinions about color but I think we use a color palette that is pretty unique. originally agreed upon his is quite neutral, which is really helpful, we definitely say that gender and sex are not the same thing. They are related, but they are not the same thing. And wherever you fall on that spectrum is really your business. But you should anatomically feel like there’s a solution, or there’s something you can use that feels like it can fit in your life. And that’s really how we think is like making universal products. So we try to be as considerate as possible and not dictate what your gender should be based upon what tools you’re using. And our general mission is to basically make something that’s really accessible in its design made with really body safe products at a really great price point. I don’t know about you, but in the in the sex toy world, there are so many expensive toys, and not always are they made of materials that that really justify the price, which I think is subversively pretty sexist. So we’re like, we got to make accessible devices that anybody can use.

Eva  06:04

What should people consider when choosing a sex based product, they should definitely consider how safe it is for the body. So like in devices, for instance, it’s not a really regulated industry. And so you can find a lot of porous plastic, you can find materials you probably shouldn’t use internally. And so consider the quality of the materials. If it’s lubricant, it’s the same thing like making sure that something’s really body safe, pH balance, not fragranced, super gentle, and also appropriate for usage. So we have two lubricants, one’s organic Aloe base. And the other one is silicone and silicone is really meant to be used anally or in the shower or in water, because it doesn’t, it doesn’t wash off easily. So when we think about inclusivity, it’s that also like, where are you going to use this? And what’s the most appropriate thing and everyone wants to grab organic, but that’s not always the one you should use. So it’s considering, like, what are your needs? And how gentle do you need the products to be and think about your own sensitivities, which I think often we go into the sexual wellness shelf, and we like assume that these brands have thought about that for us. But often you find things that are super novel, and I’m not sure that you should be putting some of those products anywhere. So you’ve got to think about that. If I had to choose two products for Maude collection to single out, what would they be and why? I mean, I really like wash, so washes our body wash, that’s also a bubble bath. I don’t think that we like highlight enough how playful that can be. And it’s, it’s a really fun product. We also make it in unscented, so it’s pretty gentle to use everywhere. Whereas we make also sent in and that can be used externally. Don’t put anything internal, but just in terms of where on the body you should be using it. And then I think the unsung hero is definitely oil. It’s a massage oil, but it’s also a moisturizer. So in the winter, it’s like a good excuse to ask someone to give you a massage. How can sprays candles and other aroma therapeutic items enhance the sensual experience. So what’s interesting about scent is sent is so closely tied to memory. We’ve all been there Right? Like we’re walking the streets of New York, you smell something and you’re like yep, that’s a New York summer. Like for better or worse. I think we like to say that creating these scents that can be connected back to intimate moments means that it’s really special and it’s easier for you to get into that mindset. And we have an ingestible product called libido which is a daily gummy and we always think like actually the way that you think of a daily gummy and something sort of happening to you is how you should think about scent it can really change your mood if you’re in like a garbage filled Street in the summer of New York like you’re not It’s not great but if you are in a spa and you smell lavender it kind of puts you in a different mind space right, so scent is really powerful.

Eva  08:59

How has Maude set themselves apart from other sexual wellness focus brands? I’m not gonna name names but sometimes I’m like, if Maude is Aesop other brands feel like Axe body spray like and like sure there’s a time […] right? But Maude tries to be a little bit more elevated and I would say more than elevated. It’s actually about inclusivity of age and gender. So our category has really been it’s been highly gendered, but it’s also been really ageist and we are like you have sex your whole adult life or you should feel like you could and so we want to create a brand that feels that way and that’s what sets us apart is that constant you know, paying attention to inclusivity and our customers’ needs over their demographics. Part of Maude’s mission is equitable sex education. Do I think sex ed ever ends? You know, when I was five, my mom basically gave us gave me our bodies ourselves. And she talks about this in like a really normal dinner conversation kind of way. And I think it empowered me when you’re five, you don’t know what’s empowering. But I think over time, I was like, Oh, this is just, this is where babies come from. And this is what’s going to happen to my body. And it really is so critical in someone’s journey of becoming a happy, healthy person is like, understanding that they are one understanding their body, but to understanding what does a healthy relationship look like? What does a healthy relationship with sex look like? So I find that the lack of sex ed, across the country, and it’s really bad. I mean, there are places that they don’t need, they don’t have to have any sex, there are places where it doesn’t have to be inclusive at all. It can be medically inaccurate, it can just be about, you know, abstinence, which definitely doesn’t work. How, how much does that mess up people’s sense of self, and their sense of wholeness, right, and feeling really comfortable. So I think of this is like, it’s mission critical, not only to the individual, but to our culture and our like society, to really have a much better understanding of sex and, uh, not only the biological foundation of it, but like, understanding what the implications are for how that affects our sense of self and our happiness.

Eva  11:40

Partnering with these organizations that focus on sex ed in schools, and age appropriate education, whether through like, elementary school all the way through college, is critical. We can’t be those education providers, and we can’t be those organizations, but we can support the hell out of them. So I’ve gone to Washington with them, we’ve we make donations, we work with them as much as we can to amplify their voice. So that’s on one side. And then I think we take care of our audience and try to create content that makes adults feel like it’s something that they can wrap their heads around something that is really easy to access. And so it’s almost like a lifelong learning ecosystem. And we don’t want to take the sexiness out of it. We don’t want to be clinical. So like our site experience, and the modern, which is our blog, is really about like intimacy and design and like science and health and some pretty funny history articles and things like that. But that’s so as adults, we feel like we’re understanding how this permeates all of our life. So that’s how I think about it, it’s like, basically, from the time you can start talking about this all the way until you leave the planet, wherever you go. You should be able to feel like you can talk about this subject in a way that’s really comfortable. What would I say is the biggest misconception about sex toys and sexual wellness companies. Sex toys, to me sometimes feels synonymous with people that are really comfortable with sex. And that’s not the case, like 70% of people with a clitoris need external stimulation, to orgasm. Now, it’s not all about orgasm. But this idea that you, you basically feel uncomfortable, if you have to go find this in some dark corner is not okay, like, we should be able to have products that serve every audience.

Eva  13:27

So that’s one of the things that I think is important to recognize that that we are in an exciting time. And obviously, there are like the leaders that have built this way before us like good vibrations, and all of the sort of heroes of our category. So I will give thanks to them, but like, definitely, it’s for everybody. And there are brands that are popping up that are serving lots of audiences. And then I think just in being in this space, I’m a pretty private person, I’ve been married 13 years, I’m totally comfortable with the subject. But I tend to just be private. And so I’m excited to work for our company that can kind of be for somebody who’s completely loud, completely quiet, you know, old, young, whatever it is. That brings me joy to know that people can participate in that way. And so that’s the stigma is, you walk into a room, and sometimes I think people think you’re going to talk about your own life. And I’m like, nope, we’re not going to talk about that. Besides married life, you know, this many years later. What am I going to say? So, and then I think the other thing is being a female everybody thinks that you’re going to create only a company for women. And that’s not the case. We’re here for all people. The last thing I’ll say that sets me apart is that there are so few founders of color. And so few women founders and being a Latina founder. You know, there are times when I look around and I don’t see anyone that looks like me, and that’s, I hope that changes. So I’m excited to be in this landscape but I do hope, we start to see more diversity of founders. I mean, to be quite frank with you, it’s been watching an industry that’s led by hetero, you know, cis White males who are telling us all what sex should look like. And I think it is a category I sort of say like, it’s like food. You know, right. Food is for everybody. Nobody owns food. And so it’s critical that we have diversity at the table so that sex isn’t owned by one perspective. It’s for everyone.

Eva  15:33

Thank you so much for listening to GOOD SEX. You can find us at getmaude.com and on all of our social channels at @getmaude.

CREDITS  15:47

GOOD SEX is a Lemonada Media Original. The show was produced by Kegan Zema and Dani Matias our supervising producer is Xorje Olivares. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Music is by Dan Molad and APM music. If you like GOOD SEX, please rate and review us. Listen and follow for new episodes each week, wherever you’re listening right now. And if you want more good sex, subscribe to Lemonada Premium for some quickies additional conversations between our guests only on Apple podcasts.

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