IUIGA launches sexual wellness line
It may take several years to improve sex education in schools, whether we’re talking about America, India, or Singapore. This sort of change requires much wider cultural shifts which are not easy to bring about, and which governments often are reluctant to embrace. Private enterprise, however, sometimes can start to bear the responsibility on its own, and help drive good even as it seeks profits.
Jaslyn Chan, co-founder of runaway success brand IUIGA, tells me that she too feels that sex education in Singapore has room to improve – as a teenager receiving sex education, you are only taught abstinence.
Don’t get me wrong, the education system in Singapore is world-renowned, admired globally, we consistently produce the brightest minds. But perhaps we, an Asian country, still suffer from stigma and shame attached to sex, and are not able to curate a comprehensive, holistic sex education syllabus that is inclusive and diverse.
Founded three years ago, IUIGA made the headlines for providing transparent pricing, sourcing furnishings from manufacturers that produced goods for big brand names. Within three days of launching their website, they sold all their stock of suitcases, and raked in S$500,000 of revenue within the first three months. Since then, the brand has been synonymous with a minimalist, soothing aesthetic. Their new sexual wellness line is, thankfully, no different.
It was time
When I asked how she came to launch a sexual wellness line, Jaslyn tells me that IUIGA is known for doing the unexpected, the brand has launched diamond rings and mooncakes, not following the regular trajectory of a brand to stay within their lane. “I felt like it was time,” Jaslyn says.
IUIGA had just launched a furniture experience showroom in August, and Jaslyn was searching for a way to “elevate the home experience”. A year ago, IUIGA also polled their taking customers, asking their opinion on what the brand should launch next. Research and customer opinion led IUIGA to including sexual wellness products into their personal care range.
Though there is a swelling wave of sexual wellness awareness, the general public is still shy about the subject. “The customer experience doesn’t just end after the product is purchased,” says Jaslyn. Especially with a sensitive product, IUIGA wants to extend that customer experience into an educative one after the purchase is made. IUIGA is planning a series of talks with sexual wellness experts, to champion sexual wellness awareness, to empower a community, and to increase collaboration and bring about change to the perception that anything related to sex and sexuality is taboo.
I remark that it’s an applaudable move – for a big brand to take responsibility for educating the customer. Jaslyn brushes it off. I find her to be extremely humble; “we’re not big, I still see us as a small brand,”. She adds that she’s mindful of the general, albeit outdated, perception of sexual wellness products, and she’s conscious of positioning IUIGA as curating a safe, comfortable environment for a local audience – online and offline. The staff at IUIGA’s experience stores are also trained to answer questions on the sexual wellness range. At time of writing, because the initial launch stock of the new sexual wellness products are down to the final pieces, offline presence will have to wait a few months.
In IUIGA’s new sexual wellness range, Jaslyn did a poll on social media – she found that men preferred darker colours, and women lighter muted colours, hence the pale pink and cream tones for the female products. I’m curious to see what the men’s range will be like; I’m told that there is an app with the ability to synchronise to video. Yep, I thought that too. Hence, curious.
Will they really buy it?
Even after all her homework, and an almost sold out launch, Jaslyn said that she is still not confident the sexual wellness range will readily sell and that customers will take to it the way she has. The IUIGA business model is inventory heavy (they start with a small initial buy to test the market, then go on to increase in quantity), and when products fail to sell, she is stuck with dead inventory. She has taken this fear and flipped it, by making the fear her driving force.
At the end of the call, I ask Jaslyn to describe IUIGA with five words. Without skipping a beat, she said honest, transparent, and human. Perhaps the last word is where fear fits in, it keeps you on your toes, and it certainly keeps you human.
With a men’s and couple’s range launching in the first quarter of 2021, I’m excited to see how IUIGA transforms the purchasing process of adult products, and educates their audience on sexual wellness. I have high hopes, after all, her favourite brand in this space is Maude.