Maude Simplifies Sex With Its Gender-Inclusive Design
By: Theresa Christine
The sexual health industry has a lot of the same: condom boxes with graphics of masculine warriors, bright pink lube containers, and vibrators all shaped like phalluses. It can feel a little alienating, even if you do identify as a young, virile straight male or female—just imagine how it must feel if you don’t.
Instead of making all of these assumptions, Maude celebrates inclusion. And, you know, the whole “health” part in sexual health.
“I come from a branding and marketing background, and also creating products,” said Eva Goicochea, Co-Founder and CEO of Maude. “I asked myself why this landscape looks the way it does, or why we can only buy women’s products that look a certain way.” At that point, she approached Dina Epstein, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, to develop a brand which would ease pain points for everyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexual preference.
“We do have ideal customers,” explained Eva, “but the way that we view them is more in terms of their psychographics and how they perceive brands and products.”
Eva and Dina discovered three different personas through consumer testing. The first is what they like to call the “Educated Essentialist”—not in terms of their schooling, but more in regards to people who do their research and seek out items with a high value and quality. The “Digital Activist” audience relates to Maude since it’s inclusive of all genders. And the “Trendsetter” focuses a lot on the design, both packaging and branding.
“When we think of our consumers, it’s about their values and why they interact with the brand,” Eva added. “They vary in size shape, color, and age, but what binds them is their value set.”
Maude also aims to achieve ease of use for its consumers through its design. Their rise. condoms, for example, feature an easy-to-open buttercup packaging to minimize fumbling and confusion over which side is up. Their personal lubricant, shine., features a convenient pump bottle (perfect for the nightstand), and it comes in two options: silicone-based and organic. The vibrator, vibe., keeps things simple with three speeds and a minimalist design that almost makes it look like an abstract piece of decor.
“The first layer of the process was to make it easier to use,” mentioned Eva. “Then we wanted to make it universal, so you use it throughout your adult life. We want to be a brand that’s with you forever.”
The brand features a sleek, clean design which looks as masculine or feminine as you desire it to be. “Originally, Maude had packaging and an identity that was really colorful,” Eva said, “but we soon realized that when you have too many variations in packaging, it can make it expensive.”
They decided to go with a simpler look—one designed by their network of freelancers in what Eva called a very "all hands on deck” approach. This included a kit with 11 different symbols which aren’t necessarily overtly sexual. Are they breasts? Are they genitalia? What body parts could they represent? It’s up to the consumer to decide, and that’s precisely the point.
Although Maude only launched in April of this year, it’s already gained quite a lot of press. Eva said consumer response has been both touching and positive.
“We’ve found there are two clear camps,” she explained. “The one camp is all about the ease of use, and they’re super excited because they appreciate the design and how it doesn’t take away from your moment.
“The other camp is all about how it makes them feel. It has empowered them to feel like they can think about sex in a way that is safe and comfortable.” Maude is just as much for those young, virile straight couples as it is for that new parent who must fit intimacy into a newly-hectic lifestyle, for the LGBTQ community, or for that recently single 50-year-old who feels like no brand actually speaks to them.
“We’re a brand that really wants to, at the macro level, give you space and room and time to think about sex,” added Eva. “That’s what we wanted to do—to make simple products that people can incorporate into their lives.”
Theresa entered the world of design through The Dieline. With a background in writing and journalism, she has a passion for discovery and cultivating human connections. Her work for The Dieline is a constant journey to deeply understand all facets of the design process and to investigate what makes designers tick. Theresa's writing has taken her snorkeling in between the tectonic plates in Iceland, horseback riding through a rural Brazilian town, and riding an octopus art car at Burning Man with Susan Sarandon as part of a funeral procession for Timothy Leary (long story). When not writing, she is planning her next trip or taking too many pictures of her cat.