Jhe mission is always the same: to encourage play and equip a playful sex life. Only now, like many entrepreneurs, it is crucial that we reflect on the impact of our mission on the environment and how it can help create positive change.
Keeping a playful spirit has always been a central theme in my life. The sex toy industry has proven to be the perfect place where fun and play come together. I’ve always thought that people rush into adulthood and can get so serious about anything. We forget to take the time to play, and to appreciate being present in the moment. This is why sex toys are so brilliant. They encourage us to be curious, to be playful and to discover. It was, and still is, the place where my instinctive need to create joy and playfulness comes to life.
Entering the sex toy industry 14 years ago never really felt like a “why” but more of a “why not”. I’ve learned a lot about people and consumers from the real estate and marketing industries I’ve worked in before, in terms of what people want and need and what motivates them. Understanding these needs gave me the tools to create Sinful, an award-winning online sex toy company, and now ohhcean, the world’s first line of sex toys made with ocean-bound plastic, which encourages a lifestyle more playful.
From the start of production, you think about impact. Or at least we did. You have the positive economic impact of creating workplaces for people, and then, of course, there’s the inevitability of resource-using production. We know, at least, that sex toys are very personal. And so, once you find the perfect toy for you, it stays with you for a long time. Sex toys are not a trend and they never go out of style.
Yet the sex toy industry is notoriously tied to plastic waste. And, like many other industries, the climate crisis is, or fast becoming, part of the agenda.
For us at Sinful, we develop an in-depth report on the impact of our business conduct in cooperation with The Footprint Firm and Global CSR to map every stage of our supply chain. We do this to know exactly where, how and what we can do differently.
What struck us as an immediate environmental crisis was the plastics emergency in the oceans. Considering the breadth of reporting on this topic, we were very surprised that no one in the sex toy industry is using their business to act on it. Ohhcean is the culmination of frustration, impatience and determination to believe that anything is possible. It was born from the desire to think differently and see things from a different angle. It’s a tribute to play, fun, and the ability to create change.
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When you’re the first to do something, patience is a virtue. You are the one who bears all the tests and trials. When I realized that no one else was creating sex toys from ocean plastic, I wanted to be the first to create a product – now! But this process was a real journey, and there were so many steps that we needed to be absolutely perfect. What type of plastic could we use? How would he react if he was put in a mold? How could we present it in a way that matches the vision? Finding the best team to work with was our top priority. It had to be a team that values honesty and transparency as much as we do, and that’s where #tide came in.
#tide uses plastic that already exists by removing it from inland and around the ocean. They take pride and effort in powering their process with renewable energy. This means that with ohhcean we do not need new plastic production and we recycle the plastic that has been left behind as waste.
In the ohhcean collection, there are only three toys – the magic wand, the G-spot vibrator and the body vibrator – and we are extremely happy with the results. We were confident in the decision to only create these three products because we wanted to make sure it was what our customers wanted before we produced more. Otherwise, it is only a product for production and it is not our purpose. The products are fully refillable and in environmentally friendly packaging.
We believe we have taken every possible step (on our side) to create a truly sustainable product. Yet we are still dependent on outside sources, and these outside sources are still improving themselves. We need the shipping process to be powered entirely by renewable energy. We would like delivery to be by electric cars, using only fuel from renewable sources.
For now, it’s time for us to continue to learn and grow, and find out what this collection means to our consumers. Does it instill the same sense of belonging and pride in participating in something good for them as it does for us? We hope. I am acutely aware that this is just a small drop in the ocean. But this is just the beginning, and I hope it will make waves and inspire.
Mathilde Mackowski is co-founder and CVO of Guiltyand founder of ohhceanthe world’s first sex toys made with ocean-bound plastic