Eva-lution: An Interview with the Makers of Eva, The First Hands-Free Vibrator

E chats pleasure gaps, 3D printing, crowdsourcing and more with the women behind 2015’s most enjoyable grown-up toy.

The Eva in lavender.

The Eva in lavender.

When I first read about the two women who’d crowdsourced to make a new sex toy, I was intrigued. When I found out it was a hands-free vibrator designed to make sex especially pleasurable for women, I felt like Christmas (albeit steamy, adults-only Christmas, #mistletoe) had come early. In brief, the Eva (pictured above) is designed to provide women more clitoral stimulation during sex. It’s unique design features flexible wings that allow women to comfortably wear the vibrator, hands-free, as they engage in intercourse with their partner.

The more I read about the Eva, the more I knew I had to learn more. While a few minutes of googling answered some of my most immediate questions (who are the elves behind this divine product? (CEO Alexandra Fine and CTO Janet Lieberman); where is their workshop? (Dame Products, in Brooklyn)), the most pressing one remained: would the brilliant minds behind Eva be willing to chat with me?

As it turns out, they were. Though their celebrity is very much on the rise, Alexandra and Janet were more than happy to talk, which speaks to their commitment to reach out to their customers and women writ large. Over the course of our conversation, I learned that they couldn’t be more friendly, or better suited for what they’re doing. By the end of the chat, something else was brazenly clear: these are precisely the people I want designing my sex toys.  Readers, I know you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did–dare I say you’ll get off on it?

Thanks for the chat, Janet and Alexandra!

We’ve heard you refer in interviews to the “pleasure gap.” Could you speak a bit more about what the pleasure gap is and how Eva addresses that issue?
AF: Traditionally during sex, it can be difficult or awkward for a woman to get this clitoral stimulation during vaginal intercourse, and most options for facilitating this end up being intrusive and putting something in between you and your partner. In fact, two of the most important factors of pleasure for women : touching, kissing, and physical contact and clitoral stimulation (70% of women require it).
 
JL: Our goal with Eva was to create a product that allowed women to receive, what is often their favorite kind of stimulation, clitoral stimulation, during sex. For a lot of couples, sex gets split into “my time” and “your time”– the idea behind Eva is to make it easier to have “our time”. Our product attempts to do one simple thing – provide clitoral stimulation – without adding any other complications to the experience.

What’s been the greatest challenge for you so far in creating Eva and/or bringing it to market?
AF: The most difficult part – I think – has been marketing. 
JL:  It’s a really complex and personal subject, where almost everyone in your audience comes to the table with their own loaded expectations and experiences. For example, it’s really easy to claim “this product will make you orgasm more” but is orgasm really the goal? You can orgasm without really enjoying yourself, and you can be having really fulfilling sex without orgasming.  An overly-goal oriented view of sex (where it ends when the man comes no matter what), is probably part of the problem. 

Your Indiegogo campaign is incredibly impressive–TO date, it’s raised nearly $730,000! Any tips for young entrepreneurs looking to fundraise through crowdsourcing?
AF: Aside from having a great product and introducing it at a time that I feel society was ready to accept it –  I believe that a crucial component of our success was that Janet and I are approachable. We are the consumer. So not only were we able to develop a product that we’re passionate about, but I think that people truly feel they can relate to us – so we’re able to connect closely with the community. If you’re going to crowd fund, I would recommend finding a strong way to relate to your audience.

If we’re not mistaken, Eva is the first personal toy to be 3D printed (!!) Could you explain why you chose this method and what the process was like?
JL: The final product was not actually 3D printed, only the prototypes were.
Because we’re self-funded we took a pretty lean model to development.  The feature that became the “wings” was going to be the most challenging aspect, so we developed that separately to start.    Material properties were going to be crucial to function for the wings, so we knew that ordering machined versions (one of the easiest ways to prototype in production materials) was going to be expensive.  That’s where 3D printing comes in – we probably went through 30-40 3D printed versions of that part alone, and then we only had to order the most likely candidates in material. We could then use the same machined wings with different 3d printed bodies, which let us do function tests while also exploring different industrial design directions.  Although we’ve gotten some informal feedback throughout the process, we’ve had 5 more official rounds of testing with outside subjects evaluating, and we still have a couple of variables that we’re testing out.  

Thanks again, Alexandra and Janet. It’s refreshing to talk sex toys from a female perspective. I especially like your point that always seeing orgasm as the goal can be pernicious, and even counterproductive to a great sexual experience.
And readers, I’m closing with the most crucial detail: you can buy Eva here! She comes in a range of chic colors (I’m partial to the lavender shown above) and is only $105. Has there ever been a more perfect springtime gadget?
xox E

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s