By 2030, the sexual wellness market is set to be worth $112 billion. Brash brands seem to be cropping up across social channels and on shelves, with explicit messaging and double-entendre–laced packaging painted in bright colors. That’s not the world Maude, an almost-five-year-old intimate care brand, exists in. With $10 million raised to date, it’s not the one investors are buying into either.
In the case of Maude, perhaps a more relevant projection, that the skincare market is set to be worth $196.20 billion in 2032, is more apropos. The brand’s founder, Éva Goicochea, has long worked in consumer care—from marketing at Everlane to work as a legislative aide. And the consumer has needs that extend past sexual wellness into the category of body care.
“When people finally get that nobody questions why there are so many skincare brands, they’ll realize it should be the same within the category of sex. There have to be choices. We’re all different. We’re all sexual humans. It’s important.” Goicochea’s vision for Maude has always been ironclad and expansive. Burn—a soy massage candle, where intimacy and body originally overlapped—launched in 2018 with the company, and remains a bestseller. 2020 saw the launch of Oil, a four-ingredient, massage-aimed oil, alongside Wash, a clean body wash and bubble bath, which launched unscented and has since been developed into signature, woodsy scents.
As for 2023, the uncertain environment hardly phases Goicochea’s tight-knit team of 13. “We say, ‘We’re a little raft anyway,’” she jokes about the turbulent sea of CPG. The stressors of the category, supply chain issues—nothing’s new for Maude. Focusing on building strong, well-designed products keeps them from feeling distracted or overwhelmed by the landscape. “We don’t even talk about the macro effects because we’re seeing great growth. But our growth is really strong—and sustainable. We don’t want to get too close to the sun,” says Goicochea. The brand is available at a curated list of retailers—think Sephora, Nordstrom, Indigo, Bloomingdales, Urban Outfitters, and Saks. In the UK/EU, Maude is sold at Selfridges with pop-ups in two Paris-based retailers.
Continuing the skincare analogy, Maude sees itself positioned somewhere in flux. “We’re not totally luxe and we’re not really masstige yet, and we’re definitely not drug,” shares Goicochea. But if the proliferation of skincare has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes the magic is in the in-between, and that there’s room for more than we thought possible in the blurred categories of wellness, health, skincare, and sex.
With a brand that’s been “iterative from Day 1,” it’s easy to imagine endless possibilities of expansion. This year, Maude will continue its growth in the category they’re coining “intimate care” with new SKUs. Part of Goicochea’s confidence when it comes to confident steps forward comes from a candid connection to loyal customers whose opinions act as veritable sounding boards. “For three years of customer surveys, our consumer has been saying almost exactly the same thing,” she notes. This, paired with Maude’s instantly signature pared-back aesthetic, results in customers for life. In fact, the founder notes that the most popular purchase pattern online is a repurchase of the same product.
When it comes to other brands in the category of sexual wellness, Goicochea advises that, “It’s a huge category. Everybody has sex.” But when it comes to longevity, staying in your lane is essential for ownership of a long-term future. “In order to do that, you have to be clear as to who you are.”
Coming into its fifth year, Maude is just that—even on social, where high growth demands envelope-pushing stunts and explicit language. “Even when we branch out a little,” she says, “we still stay on brand, which lends itself to not getting flagged on social. We don’t pander. We’re not reeds in the wind on social for a bunch of followers.” Staking its claim in beauty and body, Maude is proof that intimate care may start with sexual wellness, but doesn’t end there.
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