#BEYOUROWN MEETS SINEAD O’HARE & GENEVIEVE DE ROHAN
Launched in October 2018, The Sway is a revolutionary subscription service that aims to empower women in relationships to explore and enjoy their sex lives. Subscribers receive bi-monthly themed pleasure packages of innovative prompts and products to awaken and arouse all delivered to their doorstep with the utmost discretion.
In the midst of a cultural shift that sees women more vocal than ever – demanding equality in all aspects of their lives – a staggering 80%* of women across the globe admit they are unsatisfied with their sex lives. The good news is that over 60% are open to trying new things in the bedroom and that’s where The Sway comes in.
“We felt that there was a need to normalise a wrongly tabooed subject by empowering women to feel comfortable enough in the bedroom (or in any other room for that matter) to ask for what they want, when they want it, and how they want it” Sinead O’Hare, The Sway Founder.
The Sway is not aimed at the erotica connoisseur who already knows her rampant rabbit from her reverse cowgirl. Instead it aims to give the millions of women in relationships something to take the awkwardness out of suggesting they could do with a little help to mix things up in the bedroom.
“Relationships evolve over time – often growing deeper and more profound – however the same can’t always be said for the sex, which often ends up taking the backseat in our busy lives.The Sway acknowledges that although women like the idea of ‘mixing it up’ it’s not always as easy as it may sound.” Genevieve De Rohan Willner, The Sway Founder.
Sway boxes are cleverly designed and curated in such a way that questions are asked on behalf of both partners, teasing out facts about each other you may never have known, it’s that little voice that prompts “hey, this could be fun, let’s try it out…”
“Our Mission? To go beyond missionary. We want to make sex fun by introducing new and exciting themes – that may tickle your fancy – but that you may otherwise not have dared to venture into for fear of the unknown.” Sinead O’Hare, The Sway Founder.
The Sway is for women, by women, however they are far from being anti men. This is about enabling women to take ownership of their own sexual fulfilment by asking for what they want in the bedroom.
“Many are quick to condemn men for not knowing how to pleasure women – thats not what we’re about – we want to start a conversation around women taking charge of their own sexual fulfilment by giving them the tools to ask for what they want and how they want it.” Genevieve De Rohan Willner, The Sway Founder.
But not everyone knows exactly how they want it, and that’s why every Sway box is accompanied by an element of educational content to help inspire and initiate, ensuring no customers are left bewildered by a box of products they can’t name let alone use.
Most products included are designed to last the month, so couples can play around and discover what really gets them going and if they find something they love, they can find full sized quantities of most products on The Sway’s e-commerce shop.
As well as their subscription service, The Sway will offer uniquely themed one of a kind bumper boxes. Anniversary weekend? Getting back into things post birth? or newly single and want to concentrate on self love? The Sway’s got you covered.
Hey Sinead and Gen, can you introduce yourself to us?
We are founders of The Sway – the pleasure package subscription service putting the sex, in sexual empowerment. We’re on a mission to empower women to explore and enjoy their sex lives with our bi-monthly, themed pleasure packages.
As with many good partnerships, we were friends before becoming business partners, but an extra ‘fun’ build is that we actually met because Sinead is my brothers, partner. Take a moment to work that out. Then take another moment to imagine our product testing discussions!
Moving swiftly backwards to June last year, Sinead and I found ourselves three bottle of wine down discussing our sex lives at a tapas bar in London Bridge were we realised that in the midst of our ever busy lives, connecting with our partners was taking a serious backseat.
Between the facials, yoga sessions and green juices we were purchasing to ‘look after ourselves’ neither of us was lifting a finger to keep our sex lives alive and kicking. That little shift in our minds that sex was something we should actively ‘work’ on was where The Sway was really born.
Now although we knew our sex lives needed a pick me up neither of us felt there was an accessible way to do this – a way which didn’t require us having to head down to the nearest sex shop or getting caught up and confused in a whirlwind of online shopping – we wanted to create a product that did the hard work for us. And so we did, and so here we are!
Can you take us through both of your journeys to where you are now as the founders of The Sway?
We both come from an advertising background and both still work full time within the industry.
Sinead grew up in Northern Ireland, studied Business Management at university and now works in operations – overseeing the creative, production and delivery phases on projects for clients including Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota. She now brings those very same skills to The Sway, managing our logistics and finances as well as dealing with all our product and supplier management.
Whilst I, Gen, went to art school, starting out my career as a Graphic Designer and am now one half of a creative duo responsible for some of the advertising output of brands such as H&M, John Lewis, GHD and now The Sway – where I manage all the creative assets from our visual identity and tone of voice to all of our content creation across our boxes and social channels.
The long and short of it (literally) is if we were a hairdo we’d be a mullet – Sinead would be the business up front and Gen would be the party out the back!
How would you say TheSway is competing in the market against some supergiants in the industry such as Harmony, OhMiBod, LELO, Dame, Ann Summers?
With sex toys becoming more mainstream than ever, it’s a very exciting time for pleasure and the sex toy industry as a whole. There are amazing brands popping up everyday – selling products that are better made, better looking and built off the back of more insight than ever before and although we curate and sell a lot of these fantastic products what we are really selling is the experience – therefore it can be a little had to compare.
We are selling a way of life in which we look after our sex lives – just as we do our bodies and our mental health. It’s like a gym membership for your relationship. Our boxes promote exploration, discovery and communication.
Whilst a lot of the brands named above make truly fantastic products, often you need to know what you are looking for and for those who are new to this world they may not know what that is yet and that’s where we come in.
We’re like a pick a mix for pleasure, encouraging people to dig in and try things out – we find most people are surprised by what strikes their fancy.
Can you explore your subscription based model with us, and did you do a A/B test to this concept prior to launching The Sway?
We chose the subscription model due to the optimal balance of value it provides to both us at The Sway and the customer.
Our model means we are able to give our customers the very best exploratory experience – allowing them to try a range of different themes and therefore products throughout the year. All with a flat rate every two months and the convenience and discretion of our product being delivered right to your door.
As a business, the subscription model allows us to easily calculate the LTV of a customer, manage inventory and offer simple pricing. Because a high percentage of the revenue of a subscription-based business is recurring, its value will be up to eight times that of a comparable business with very little recurring revenue.
How much research did you do in the market before the initial start-up process begun?
We carried out an existing competitive audit specifically looking at how competitors’ position and structure their brands, whilst also identifying any relevant best practice or out-of-category beacon brands to inform our recommendations.
We then reviewed any existing and past marketing campaigns around the subject including digital, print, TV and radio in order to identify any pitfalls or opportunities.
And finally we tested hundreds of products from various suppliers – inspecting the experience as a whole – from checking out to delivery, unboxing, packaging, appearance, quality and of course their effectiveness as well as after care and customer service.
Once we had done this we knew there was a space for The Sway in the market and started to build the brand off the back of what we had learnt.
Where can you see yourself within the next 5 years and what plans do you have in place to expand and further develop the growth of The Sway?
We see our bi-monthly subscription service blossoming and The Sway building out a larger range of one off boxes into its offering.
One off boxes that tackle broader aspects in the world sex – for example we are currently working on a postnatal box – in collaboration with &Breathe founder Clio Wood – which we are very excited about.
This is something we want to keep doing, both collaborating with exciting like minded brands and creating one off boxes that tackle themes still left unturned within the world of wellbeing, sex and pleasure.
What outlets do use to promote The Sway?
Word of mouth, attending events, meeting people face to face and telling them about what we are doing – and of course by building a strong community on Instagram.
Interestingly we had originally intended on investing in paid social advertising, however – despite our discreet and allusively worded material – our ads were taken down and since barred. There’s an interesting conversation to be had here around Facebook’s rules around “sexual content” but that’s for another time.
What gives you both ultimate career satisfaction?
“So we did it! He cracked it. I relaxed, blind folded, after a great full body massage and we DID it, I came ! In almost 10 years and with about 12 sexual partners it’s never happened but he had the patience of a saint and it paid off! Thank you for your advice and for answering my question! I feel so happy! I’m not broken … haha I nearly cried when it happened too! I felt amazing and even though I’ve only been with this guy (a tinder match!) Less than 2 months. I’ve never felt more at ease and in touch sexually with someone ever! Your advice really helped me to just relax and concentrate of what was going on, and I can’t thank you enough”
Getting messages like that, now that’s satisfying!
What challenges have you both seen to have been presented during the growth of The Sway?
Growing our skill sets – that has been the biggest hurdle of all. From the initial setup of the organisation to the daily challenges of running a business– everyday we are faced with things we have never done before. It can be really scary and incredibly frustrating, however teaching yourself new skills is also incredibly, incredibly rewarding. In the last year Sinead has basically taught herself to code – now that’s an achievement!
How do you define your own success?
Building a life you are proud to live.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I’d say Oscar Wilde described it pretty accurately, “be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
Our main aim for 2019 is to grow our reach – have more women engaging, talking and discussing sex in all its forms. We are in a great position with our bi-monthly subscription service so the plan this year is to widen our offering with our one off boxes and grow our community. Watch this space!!