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Revolve is a digital fashion and beauty retailer that quickly gained a large Gen Z and Millennial customer base through significant influencer marketing and a strong social media presence. Recently, Revolve’s best-selling product in its beauty department wasn’t a highlighter or face mask, it was a vibrator. The fin ($ 75), a small silicone button, is meant to be held between two fingers, alone or with a removable clip. It’s still on pre-order, but people are clearly anxious to get their hands on it.
“Literally the day [Fin] launched [at Revolve], they placed another order ”, explains Alexandra Fine, co-founder of Lady, who makes the Fin and another vibrator called Eva. It is Dame’s first truly mainstream fashion retailer, although it also sells on Goop, the site that brought the jade yoni eggs in our collective consciousness. Dame is also currently in talks with other fashion and beauty retailers to sell her products. This potentially marks the beginning of the end of the stigma associated with buying sex toys, or at least a step in that direction.
You can find Fin on Revolve when you click the beauty tab, then go to The well-being, a place to sell a vibrator makes a lot of sense. The lines are already blurred between beauty and well-being, with products now on a continuum: Moisturizing, yes. Hmm, how about an aromatherapy facial mist? Ooh, yeah, one neckline mask! Huh, maybe I need Fur oil for grooming pubic hair. Wow, a clitoral vibrator. *Add to Cart*
Since most fashion retailers are probably not ready to have a tab marked “SEX TOYS”, this also provides an easy way to sell these products without being too blunt about it.
“We all know the benefits of a healthy sex life for our overall well-being. The wellness movement is huge. We see it in our sportswear sales and in our wellness within beauty category, and part of that conversation has shifted to female sexuality, ”said Kandice Hansen, buyer at Revolve, in a comment. e-mail to Racked. “There has always been a stigma surrounding it and we see that changing and want to be part of the movement to normalize it.”
Hansen also cited statistics that more than 50% of women own a vibrator, and of those who don’t, two-thirds want to try one. It is a smart decision to sell them on a site that women already trust and buy. She says Revolve will expand the “intimate care category” with more products in the coming months.
“Revolve contacted us and it was just an amazing opportunity. It’s so exciting for people to see us holistically in personal care, ”Fine said. “They already have a connection with an audience, and then when they support a brand like ours, they also tell their consumers that their sexual pleasure is okay. It’s a very subtly powerful thing.
Fine had studied to become a sex therapist, and her business partner, Janet Lieberman, is an MIT-trained mechanical engineer. They were both trying to start a sex toy business when they met and combined their efforts. Dame launched her first product, the Eva, in 2014. The Fin arrived in 2016, and an update to the Eva, which is a hands-free vibrator that looks like an insect and is meant to be tucked into the vulva during penetration. sex, late 2017. (The designs were partially inspired by Oxo housewares, according to Ad age.)
Obtain funding for sex technology is still not easy, because sex in general, and female orgasms in particular, are still taboo. Dame landed $ 575,000 in funding in 45 days on Indiegogo for the first iteration of Eva. A few years later, Fin was the first sex toy ever released on Kickstarter. Fine and Lieberman got to know some Kickstarter employees on the Brooklyn “hardware maker scene”, and eventually convinced them to license their product on the crowdfunding site.
Social media is the next hurdle for businesses like Dame. For businesses led by and geared towards the millennium, Dame should find customers on Instagram and Facebook. But he has to face draconian rules on these platforms regarding the sale of sex products. The guideline of Facebook states that condoms can be promoted if advertisements focus only on contraception. “Sexual pleasure or sexual enhancement” cannot be mentioned at all. Or, as Fine says, “You can sell condoms, but not if they are ribbed for her pleasure.”
This was a problem when Dame tried to pay for promotional posts on Facebook and Instagram, a place full of bra ads. Fine bought advertisements to increase exposure for their products, only to get them removed by platforms even though Lady’s designs aren’t phallic and don’t read “sex toy” at all. She even tried workarounds. When the New York Times made a story about the brand, she paid to promote it on her personal page. It was still taken apart. “An article written by the New York Times is just too sexual in nature, I guess. I mean, this article literally refers to the vagina as the “lower regions,” she laughs.
This frustrates Fine because Facebook’s algorithm lately isn’t exactly promoting organic business posts. “The way most people found out about Casper wasn’t an organic post; it was an advertisement, ”she says. “Just because it’s about sex doesn’t mean it’s sexual or our ad is necessarily sexual, even though all the other ads are sexual, so it’s like, I don’t know why we don’t. can’t be! “
She has a good point. Another sex tech company called Unbound (which sells its own products as well as other brands, including Dame) just tried to buy ads on the New York subway, but the MTA turned down the ads for “offensive sexual material,” according to the statement. the company. Instagram. The collage-like cartoon images are so colorful and psychedelic that you really have to hunt to see the sex toys inside. Unbound juxtaposed their rejected ads alongside a racy image of two naked bodies pressed together for the Museum of Sex and an ad, currently all over the MTA, for a new digital service against dysfunction. erectile dysfunction that reads: “Erectile Dysfunction Medications Prescribed Online, delivered to your ‘friend’s’ door.
Remind that Thinx menstrual underwear almost had the same problem before the MTA finally approved these ads, which featured the word “menstruation” and fruits that look like external female genitalia. Advertising has a long and rich history of using sex to sell things, but you apparently can’t yet sell sexual pleasure itself openly – at least female-focused sexual pleasure.
“We have all these commercials that have brainwashed us to think of all this really shitty stuff about the male-female dynamic in sex,” Fine says.
But this retail partnership with Revolve and the futures that will emerge can help normalize it. Maybe one day you can walk into a J. Crew and buy a dildo. Fine is optimistic about seeing more sex toys in your local store. “People are just starting to see it as a non-embarrassing object in itself,” she says.