Under The Hood: Éva from Maude
Maude is a modern sexual wellness brand created to simplify sex with body-safe essentials like vibrators, condoms, lubricants and other personal care goods.
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Under The Hood: Éva from Maude

eCommerce business insights from Éva Goicochea, founder of Maude: Sexual Wellness Essentials

Welcome Éva! What do you have on your mind for 2023?

For us, 2023 is all about going into retail. We are going to be going into a big major retailer as the first in our category, which is super exciting. And I think the ripple effect of that is that it will create an effect within mass beauty, wellness, and drug to change the thinking around the category, which is ultimately our goal.

So it's more than just saying, oh, now you can just buy us at your local X. It's actually about saying this is a real change for this industry.

That's super cool. What have the learnings been as an omnichannel brand? 

Before I launched Maude, I knew that it needed to be omnichannel. 

I understand that lots of businesses have been born in the past 5-10 years that are exclusively focused on DTC. But for me, from a category perspective, I always knew that it had to be omnichannel to create cultural change and conversational change around the category. 

So our launch in March 2022 in 264 doors across the country is a big deal. 

And that's really critical if we're ever gonna create gender parity and make a difference.

Maude has launched across the UK, EU, Canada, and Australia. What did that process look like to launch internationally? 

We work with class two medical devices: lubricants and condoms are regulated by the FDA, which means that every country we go into, we have to deal with their own regulatory body. And so as a small business, that takes a lot of work. 

Were there any hurdles shipping internationally? 

Yes, but we have a good partner called Passport. They deal with the last mile shipping, which is helpful. It is still expensive to the consumer, but we're starting to work with more distribution partners locally so that they don't have to pay for tariffs and fees. 

Let’s chat about community: Yours is so strong, how do you tap into it?

I’ve had this conversation with some founders where community for them is where there is two-way conversation and we don't see it that way. We're not on Discord or Facebook groups. 

And that’s to do with our category, and how much reverence and respect we have for people's personal lives - especially when discussing sex. That plus data collection is a real concern for us. 

We think of our community as an ecosystem, such as our email subscribers who open our content email that gets delivered every Sunday.

What kind of content is included in those Sunday emails that you see people engaging with?

We have a blog called the Maudern and we send three to four articles a week. Some of it, if not most of it, is recycled content because most of our articles are very timeless. But it’s about things like relationships, health, history, science. It's fun. Quick, easy reads. 

Let’s chat about subscription: Have you had any learnings or successes there? 

Subscription has never been our primary focus. 

Before we had ingestible products and even before we had body products, I thought that subscription was really antithetical to this idea that sex should not be associated with shame or guilt, right? The reality is that people don't have sex at such regular intervals that you would want to necessarily be on subscriptions. But more than that, do you want these products piled up reminding you that you don't have the sex life that you may want? 

So subscription was available, but it wasn't something we pushed. 

However, since launching our daily gummy, subscription has made a lot more sense - because it’s additive in helping your daily health around sleep, stress and all the things that can affect your sex life. 

And since that gummy is only available through subscription - our subscriber rate has shot up.  

That's a really thoughtful way of thinking about that. What have been the major factors contributing to Maude’s growth?

On the advertising and marketing side, We tested Facebook really early and we were able to get through by not talking about pleasure. There are loopholes with Facebook if you talk about condoms and lube from a health perspective that you're able to advertise. 

It was easier once we launched body products. The funny thing is people ask us, why do you have bath salt? To be honest, the point was that it helped us be visible.

Finally last year, following iOS changes, we turned off our Facebook ads because they were too expensive. We didn’t want to keep throwing money down the drain.

I will say that we turned off our Facebook ads last year following iOS changes. I don't think that it's always a qualified audience and they were too expensive, so we didn’t want to keep throwing money down the drain.

What other channels are you relying on right now since Facebook ads have been turned off?

We still invest in Google search because it's a very qualified audience of people looking for these search terms or they're looking for a brand affiliate influencer. 

That plus content and PR. We've invested a lot of energy into our PR relationships, which are essentially also affiliate relationships at this point. 

Last question: can you tell us what Maude's marketing stack is? 

We recently moved our subscription to Stay AI. We also use a post-purchase survey called Grapevine, which is really helpful. We are on Shopify Plus. We're also using a great data platform called Peel Insights (female founded), which we love. For email, we use Klayvio & last mile shipping is via Passport

This has been the year not only of expansion out in the world, it's also been the year of simplification behind the scenes so that we can really do our jobs well and not try to spread ourselves too thin. So our tech stack is not that complicated.