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How do you make the perfect vibrator? I asked the founder of Australian sexual wellness brand Rosewell

IMAGE VIA ROSEWELL

WORDS BY GENEVIEVE PHELAN

Research, really good intentions and a reimagining of intimacy. 

You might have seen it here on FJ, there on Instagram, or over at your mate’s house. Rosewell is an Australian-based sexual wellness brand and community redefining what it means to be intimate. While my bedroom contains its Bean vibrator, on our kitchen bench sits Dinner Parties, a deck of cards designed to ignite conversational intimacy over food and (lots of) wine. 

Since my friends and I moved in together, we’ve played Dinner Parties a good dozen times with various houseguests, exploring sex, desire, fear and friendship. Between the tools, the social storytelling, the open dialogues and the card convo games, Rosewell has moved from strength to strength since its inception in lockdown last year. 


Want to stay in the loop with our latest sexual health stories? Head on over to our Life section.


Founder Alisha Williams and I have become good long-distance friends, and the quality of company she keeps in her nimble, all-female team is testament to the brilliance of this more-than-a-brand brand. 

With every man and their dog jumping on the sexual wellness bandwagon lately, I wondered how exactly Alisha designed vibrators for women that would actually be loved by women. How did she custom-build, design and trial products that would take priority of place in the bedroom? Products that we’d want to flaunt and fervently recommend to friends?

 

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Alisha caught up with me for a case study on just that, dissecting the curves, contours and not so obvious considerations made for changing the ways we experience intimacy with ourselves and others. 

What I love about Alisha is that she embraces like-minded female-run businesses and up-and-coming small sexual wellness names (like Figr, who recently collaborated with Rosewell). After all, there’s enough space in the industry for so many more women (and maybe that’s you) to follow suit. 

What prerequisites did you have in mind when making a vibrator? 

Our design standards are guided by three principles: safety, efficacy and responsible practice. Safety relates to the quality of the materials – high-quality, non-porous silicone – but also to less tangible elements like our product guides. Efficacy relates to our mission, to make intimacy and sexual wellness as natural and normal as skincare. This guided elements like the packaging experience, and the ultra-quiet motor. 

Our sustainability measures, including eliminating plastic from the supply chain, designing for longevity, and using recyclable packaging materials all fall under responsible practice. We spent almost a year searching for a manufacturing partner who was willing to work with us on these principles.

Talk us through the two intimacy tools you’ve made. Why not just one?

It’s so important that Rosewell caters to the diversity of preferences. The launch collection of Bean and Bend were curated for their versatility, as will our future collections! Bean fits in the palm of your hand and is designed for external use – either partnered or solo. Whereas Bend, like its namesake, is longer, slimmer, and designed to curve to your body for internal or external use. 

 

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How is Rosewell different to other vibrators, mechanically and physically speaking?

In general, Rosewell takes a pared-back approach compared to other brands. Our products are small, with soft contours, and in neutral tones. The intent is for Rosewell to slot seamlessly into your experience, not the other way around.

How is it different in more intangible ways? 

Our emphasis has always been on making space for all types of intimacy in our lives. So while our current line is largely focused on sexual wellness, it’s the recognition that sexual wellness is one part of a broader experience of deeper intimacy. It’s a much more holistic focus.

How much trial and error did production take? 

We went through a long sampling process with manufacturing partners. Once we had landed on design, there was some degree of trial and error to edit the experience.

How did you conduct that experiential ‘market research’ before landing on your final designs? Who trialled the prototypes?

Our market research was the basis of developing our principles. We started with conversations among our close circles and then branched out to anonymous surveys of over 200 people. The conversations began to expand to friends of friends, acquaintances and anyone who was willing. Prototypes were trialled among a small group selected for their diversity of opinions.

Where do you think other sex toy brands can go wrong in the product design phase?

Following with tradition, because it’s the way it’s ‘always been done’, or falling into stereotypes.

Keen to check out Rosewell’s range? Head here.

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