Eva Goicochea and Dina Epstein were fed up. As the co-founders of maude, a modern sex essentials company, they thought the industry was gendered and agist in an outdated way. So they launched a business committed to quality, inclusivity (for all ages and genders), and simplicity. Goicochea, who worked in the healthcare sector, social media, brand strategy, and was a first employee at Everlane before co-founding maude, says the company's mission is "to improve sexual health and happiness for everyone."
maude is also about disruption, says Epstein, the former Head of Product Development and Sex Toy Design at Kiki De Montparnasse. The company seeks to "encourage healthy conversations around sex," a radical notion in a world where talking about sexuality is still stigmatized and silenced.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Dina: I always wanted to be a designer. . . sometimes more of an artist, but always a creative. Subconsciously I was always an entrepreneur. My sister and I had the entire neighborhood mapped out as part of in our babysitting business by the time we were 12 and that energy only grew from there.
Eva: I wanted to be an architect because I wanted to be methodically creative. For my 7th birthday, I asked my mom if we could take the train from Detroit (where her family lives) to Albuquerque (home) making a pitstop in Chicago so I could see the Sears Tower. In my freetime, I would sit for hours on the computer. If “digital designer” was really a thing in the 80s, I probably would have said that. I loved building things—on a screen.
What inspired you to do the work that you do? What’s your favorite part of your day-to-day?
Dina: Sex is an important part of your everyday health. The current sex industry is based on an ideology that treats sex as a novelty or worse, a taboo. We are creating products and taking a wellness approach to making people feel comfortable about sex so they can integrate it into their daily lives. My favorite part of our day to-day is when we get to hear from customers about how happy our products make them and how their lives are better because of maude.
Eva: I’ve always believed that our culture could be better if the sexual wellness industry became the leaders for equity, equality, and a healthy perspective on sex which really permeates every aspect of who we are as people. It’s more than just products: It’s people’s sense of self, being lovable, feeling powerful or powerless, feeling equal. Like Dina, when people give us feedback of how we’ve made their lives better, it motivates us to keep moving.
What advice do you have for folks who want to unlearn bad or wrong information about sex?
Dina: Your pleasure matters. Having open communication with your partner(s) about your wants/needs and realizing that it's a conversation is so important. Reciprocity!
Eva: There are so many resources for quality information that is appropriate for your needs, life stage, etc. Sex is not just for the young and it’s not just for the fearless—it’s for everyone. How you decide to incorporate sex in your life is your business and I encourage you to find what works best for you.
How do you think information about sexual health and good sex can empower uterus owners?
Dina: Knowledge is power regardless of gender. Everyone go educate yourselves!
Eva: Sex is dynamic and a broad term so the questions or concerns you have, someone else has had, too. Never feel guilty for educating yourself at any stage of your life—it’s completely human to feel different things as your body and perspectives change and it’s an opportunity to know yourself.