It’s Sexual Health week. We caught up with our friends at sexual wellness brand, HANX, to discuss how they’re turning an industry typically dominated by men on its head.
Empowering, comfortable and sustainable are just a few of the things you might associate with us and our collections, so who better to team up with this Sexual Health week then our like-minded friends at HANX. We catch up with the founders, Farah and Sarah, to talk about their range of vegan products and how they are using their platform to eradicate the sexual stereotypes that still exist today.
Your brand is a breath of fresh air in a market usually geared towards men. Tell us how your idea of creating HANX came about?
Farah: My school friend Sarah and I set up the brand after chatting about the infamous condom aisle experience… I think we all know the one: garish packaging, the institutionalised shame you feel from being seen buying condoms, just negative feelings all round! Sex is supposed to be positive and fun, yet the connotations around condoms and condom carrying are the opposite. There’s still a stigma around the only safe and non-hormonal form of contraception that protects from STIs and we set out to challenge that.
We felt that there was a lot to change in the condom itself, especially from a woman’s perspective. The tacky, unmistakable smell, the ingredients and sustainability aspects, the need for vegan options, the way they are sold and look in your bag/bedside table/ bathroom shelf, and ultimately the mission of the company you are buying from.
That’s a long list of objectives! Did you know much about this industry before creating the brand?
Sarah: My background is in medicine and I worked in obstetrics, gynaecology and also in sexual health clinics. So, as a result I know a lot about vaginal health, sexual health and contraception. I was seeing lots of patients choosing to come off hormonal contraception such as the pill, due to unwanted side effects, paired with the rise of difficult to treat STIs and negative effects caused by ingredients in condoms and lubricant.
Farah and I are also female consumers ourselves, and care about what goes on and in our bodies. There was no brand out there speaking to us, that we felt genuinely proud to carry and use. I was very aware of the lack of transparency in the ingredients of sexual wellness products, and the education around them. We did a whole load of research into the industry (both still working full-time) and after a heap of manufacturer visits, we took the leap to quit our day jobs and go full-time on HANX, launching officially in September 2017. We’ve not looked back since!
It is so empowering and inspiring to see a female led company changing the perception of sexual wellness. What do you think sets HANX apart from the other brands out there?
Farah: Thank you! We are super proud to be making waves in the sexual wellness industry and opening the conversation around positive sexual health. Sarah and I are passionate about what we do, and we believe that our products are both kind to our bodies, as well as being kind to the planet. Every aspect of our product designs was thought of in detail, from the ingredients, how they are sourced and the packaging look, feel and the purpose they serve.
HANX condoms are made from all natural and fair-traded latex which is vegan certified. Our natural, water-based lubricant is also vegan certified, and pH balanced so as not to disrupt the vaginal flora. We’re building a community proud to be open and honest about sexual wellness and intimate health. Keep your eyes peeled for another exciting announcement on our website this week.
We love that as well creating sustainable products, you’re also a hub of information and encourage open conversation around topics within sexual wellness. Was that always the plan?
Sarah: In order to truly empower people to own their sexuality and sexual wellness, they need to be well informed. We felt that there was much more access to real and relatable information for other aspects within the wellness industry, such as diet exercise and mental health. Yet, although sexual wellness encompasses so much of our overall wellbeing, including our physical psychological and emotional health, there was little good education out there. We’re here to change that and have fun while we do it!
We launched our HANX Life forum, which is a no holds barred area, to talk about everything and anything; from relationships, sex, intimate health and much more. We want to open the conversation, educate and ensure people can lead happier and healthier sex lives in years to come.
What do you most want to achieve as a brand?
Farah: We would love to see HANX as a household brand name, that mothers recommend to their daughters, sisters share with each other, and friends from all backgrounds go to. As Sarah says, we want people to have happy and healthy sex lives.
If you could go back time, what do you think you’d tell your younger self about sexual wellbeing?
Sarah: Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with yourself and your partners.
What issues do you think exist within sexual wellness and how do you think they can be resolved?
Farah: Unfortunately, sexual wellness is still taboo, so importantly we need to open the conversation as well as improve sex education in schools. This is definitely getting better but is far from where it needs to be. Sex education should be holistic and include topics such as consent, relationships, and pleasure. Brands like HANX can play a huge part in this positive conversation.
When it comes to women’s wellness, the future is open, honest and on our terms. We want to educate and empower people to have positive sexual health. This includes sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive choices, what we put on, and in our bodies and the positive use of lube during sex.
What can we expect to see coming up from HANX for the rest of the year?
Sarah: As Farah mentions above, we have an exciting launch this week… think intimate wellness, that’s continent, credible and as with everything we do, smashing taboos. Watch this space! We are always listening to our community and what they need, so please drop us a line if there is any thing you’d love to see from HANX.