Inside Retail: How did the idea for Maude come about? Éva Goicochea: I think of sexual wellness as the foundation for how we feel about ourselves, it is a critical component of overall wellness, and yet it’s historically been shrouded in so much shame and exclusion. Having come from a background in both product development and public health, I was inspired to create a brand that served as a thoughtful, updated response, with beautiful, inclusive products at the forefront. IR: What have be
ave been the biggest highlights and setbacks you’ve experienced in building the business thus far? EG: The setbacks often lead to highlights. Raising capital while carving out space for ourselves in a legacy industry presented plenty of setbacks, but it prompted me to use big, future-facing language. The result of saying this is how sex should be, how these products should be, has been a real-time shift in sentiment. Sexual wellness is increasingly a more visible part of holistic health and you can shop for intimacy products in a more integrated way. IR: What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered along the way in growing the brand? EG: The speed at which we’ve resonated. I’ve had to advocate for the category to be understood in the beauty industry, but it is always validating to see how many consumers understand and value what we stand for. IR: In collaboration with actress and Maude’s co-creative director Dakota Johnson, you have curated an exhibit titled “Modern Sex: 100 Years of Design and Decency” at the Museum of Sex in Miami. The exhibit explores social and legal restrictions around sexual wellness dating back to the 1920s. Why was this project important for you to take on? EG: This exhibit captures the many lenses through which we view sex: political, social, and personal. Experiencing the scope of this history allows us to hold a mirror up to where we’ve been, and to say, factually, this is how the category came to be. It was important that we take on this project because it validates our existence and our future — it creates the opportunity for anyone to understand how the industry has brought us to our current moment, a time when we are still restricted and stigmatised. IR: In addition to loosened restrictions around advertising sexual wellness products, what other shifts do you feel need to take place in this industry? EG: Advertising restrictions mean that it is up to the consumer to demand, and pursue, better. As such, people need to be able to access complete, accurate information about their sexual health in order to feel empowered. This is not just about sexual wellness, or wellness alone, it is about the agency every person is entitled to. IR: What do you think are the current white spaces within the sexual wellness market? How may Maude plan to address these areas of opportunity? EG: We believe that intimacy is not just about sex — it is about playing with mood to develop an atmosphere, creating routines that motivate self-assuredness, spending time with yourself and using products that encourage a relationship with your body. There are so many white spaces because for too long people viewed sex as such a narrow category, but at Maude we see it as the center of a very wide-reaching network. IR: What are your top priorities/areas of focus for the brand over the next 12 months? EG: We are reimagining daily practices as intimate, and developing products to support you in areas of life beyond your bedroom. Our presence in-store at Sephora, such a major beauty retailer, sets a standard for pushing beyond the boundaries of retail for this category. IR: What is a piece of advice that you wish you would have been able to give to yourself when you were at the beginning of your business journey? EG: Meet customers everywhere — to find meaningful visibility it’s important to think across channels. Beyond that: find time to dream and be creative.