Skip to main content

Maude Founder Éva Goicochea on the Modern Sexual Wellness Space

She explained how the intimacy brand is advocating for sex education and reinventing the self care category.

Éva Goicochea, founder of sexual wellness brand Maude, has never viewed sex as a taboo subject. What was more shocking to the entrepreneur was the lack of conversation around it within the wellness category, she told WWD’s Kathryn Hopkins. That insight led Goicochea to create Maude, a brand that now sells devices, lubricants, condoms and other intimate accessories.   

Back in 2018, Goicochea realized that the beauty category was talked about in a more holistic way and emphasized as a form of wellness. “Sexual wellness, which is arguably even more emotional, even more connected to our well-being, was not spoken about that way,” she said. “I didn’t look at this as taboo. I was like, actually we need to bring this into the now and say this is just as much of our well-being as any other category.” With that insight, she set out to create Maude, a design-forward brand that aims to modernize the sexual wellness category.

Related Galleries

Previously, Goicochea had worked in start-ups and health legislation, and creating Maude enabled her to combine all of her passions and skills. “All of those things converged to create what was my mission: to basically change the category, to have social impact, cultural impact, health impact,” she said.

Goicochea went on to fundraise for the brand, a process she referred to as “impossible.” During pitch meetings, Goicochea joked that she would talk about the products as if they were commonplace items like toothpaste. She wanted to set the precedent that intimate products are essential to the wellness category. Similar to her own persona, these conversations were straightforward, and allowed her to discuss sex in a matter-of-fact way, trying to do away with the idea that it is taboo. 

Providing health education and destigmatizing sexual wellness were Goicochea’s main goals from the beginning, as both are essential in modernizing the category. To achieve this, Maude has several initiatives and commitments in place to give back to partners who work in advocacy, education and access. “It’s informed how we build the brand and what we really believe we stand for and why we should exist. This is about cultural change,” she said. 

This cultural shift can be seen through Maude’s continued partnerships with online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Brick-and-mortar accounts for 20 percent of the brand’s sales, though Goicochea’s goal is to reach 50 percent. Most recently, the brand launched with Sephora. It is one of two sexual wellness brands at the retailer and the only one geared toward all genders. Goicochea said the launch in Sephora was a direct result of consumer demand, as Sephora’s research showed sexual wellness as a top category search.

While this data aligned with Goicochea’s overall mission, marketing Maude is still challenging, as there are digital advertising restrictions on sexual wellness products. Specifically, Maude can only really present ads for its body products, including bath soaks and cleansers. Devices and condoms are nearly impossible to market, as digital ads cannot refer to pleasure Goicochea explained. 

While Maude continues to make waves in the space, there is still a long way to go in regulating the intimates industry, providing access to sexual health education and modernizing the category overall. Goicochea has continued her mission with Maude with the same belief since the beginning. “Let’s talk about this the way we want to. Let’s pretend that the world agrees on this…and speak about sex in a smart, caring, empathetic way,” she said.