This couple entrepreneur started a lifestyle and sexual wellness startup amidst COVID-19
When it comes to conversations around sexual health, there is one shared experience among all Indian households — awkwardness.
However, with changing times, society is trying to engage more in healthy conversations after realising that talking in hushed tones about sex-related topics does more harm than good.
Couple entrepreneurs Sahil and Anushka Gupta say most teenagers in India — as they begin to explore their sexualities — learn about sex from their friends and pornography rather than approaching trusted adults.
And the couple believes it is high time this changes.
In September 2020, the duo took the entrepreneurial plunge and founded— a Mumbai-based sexual wellness startup — which aims to change the conversation and experience around sexual intimacy by offering quality sexual wellness products.
The demand for sexual wellness products grew by 65 percent during the pandemic last year, according to India Uncovered: Insightful Analysis of Sex Products’ Trends in India — a report by ThatsPersonal.com.
Operating with a team of five full-time employees and several freelancers and interns, MyMuse is now eyeing to hire talent.
Navigating India’s sexual wellness market
An MBA graduate from Harvard Business School, Sahil saw the opportunity in India’s nascent sexual wellness industry. He teamed up with his wife Anushka, who graduated from Tufts University, with majors in psychology and entrepreneurship.
While the initial idea was to start a content-based platform and build a wide reach, several months of research showed the real pain point lies in availing of advanced sexual wellness and pleasure products.
“There are many strong and good players in the content space, and on the other hand, there is a whole D2C revolution happening in India,” the duo says.
In a country like India — which still has largely conservative mindsets — MyMuse seems to have aced balancing its position in the market because of individuals who are recently warming up to sexual wellness products.
The brand positions itself as a provider of “bedroom essentials.” It has also received a lot of love, acceptance, and positive feedback in the Indian market.
“To be honest, this was a conscious decision, using words like bedroom essentials. Speaking about intimacy and not just thinking about the sexual experience was very purposeful. We also didn't want to pigeonhole ourselves into being a brand that relies on the idea of selling sex,” Sahil explains.
The startup offers products like lubricants, vibrators, candles, and themed T-shirts, priced between Rs 899 and Rs 8,800. Besides its website, it also sells its products through select retail partners, including LeMill in Mumbai and Kosa Wellbeing in Pune. At present, it is expanding its channel of sales.
Anushka says sexual wellness products need to be as much a part of one’s self-care and wellness routine, just like skincare.
“The purpose is to make the brand approachable and not intimidating. We really felt helping people understand this as part of the overall wellness is more engaging and inviting,” she adds.
The co-founders say India has a lot of cultural sensitivities, and the brand’s goal is to never offend anybody but simply to create a great alternative for people looking for it.
Despite the positive rise of players in the sexual wellness market, the entrepreneurs believe MyMuse has pioneered in taking the gender-neutral and lifestyle-oriented approach toward sexual wellness.
“We don’t look at other brands as competition but as peers who are helping to grow and change the way sex is perceived in India. Social media and the creator revolution are further driving new conversations and reducing the stigma,” Anushka adds.
The duo is sure there is enough opportunity to tap into the sexual wellness market.
The road ahead
As a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, marking brand presence and awareness are some of the key challenges. Nonetheless, MyMuse was able to grow a community through word of mouth marketing.
Speaking of future plans, Sahil says, “We are still early in our journey and want to continue championing really good design, have our ears on the ground to the customer needs and requests, but we don't feel the pressure to move fast.”
Besides the ups and downs integral to entrepreneurship, the duo says receiving feedback on how their products started or changed the conversation at home keeps them going.
Bootstrapped so far, MyMuse is now looking to raise funds to grow the brand. It also hopes to have more collaborations in the creative and startup ecosystem.
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