LOS ANGELES – There’s a strange double standard regarding sexual health for men and women. Many women feel a sense of social stigma from the simple act of carrying condoms in their purse, something rarely seen as shameful for men. Lovability aims to challenge this through its unabashedly positive approach to manufacturing sexual wellness products. In January of this year, the company was acquired by Maureen Pollack, Kamini Sharma, and John Paul Basile to continue expanding its product line and service for customers.
Co-Owner Pollack felt that the acquisition was a perfect fit. “[I was looking for] a brand, multiple products, the community – everything that Lovability has.”
Lovability was founded in 2014 by Tiffany Gaines and her mother, Pam. Gaines was in graduate school at the time and wanted to create a company centered around self-empowerment. Its core message is clear: “sexual confidence is a pathway to power.” They offer a variety of products, including their latex condoms, which are popular for being 100% vegan, thin, easy to open, while also coming in damage-proof tins. Others include water-based lube, towelettes, compact mirrors, and three “self-love sprays.” One of these is the “Bae Spray,” an aromatherapy mist meant to boost mood and overall self-confidence. Another is the “F*ckboy Repellent,” a glittery body spray that uses its tongue-in-cheek name as a way to remind consumers that they don’t need to be around men who make them feel uncomfortable.
“Our mission is to bring conversation, fun, and beauty into sexual health. [The company] originally started when we saw that there was a void in the market for women feeling comfortable taking charge of their sexual needs and health,” Pollack said.
Even before acquiring Lovability, Pollack had plenty of experience in the sexual wellness industry. She is an intimacy coach and the inventor of the WaterSlyde, a faucet attachment that she designed and patented. While developing her own brand for the WaterSlyde, she crossed paths with Gaines. The two of them had been “Instagram flirting” with each other and bonding over how much they loved each other’s work. They discussed collaborating, and through a stroke of luck, they found out that Gaines was staying in the same building in San Diego as where Pollack’s parents had lived.
When they met up in-person, they immediately connected, and Gaines brought up the possibility of selling Lovability to Pollack. It was the right time for Gaines to step away from the company, and she felt that Pollack would be the right fit. Pollack recounted their conversation, explaining what Gaines said to her, “‘It’s time for me to pass the reigns on. I’ve brought it to a certain level and I’m looking for somebody to take over Lovability … I know you’ll take care of my community.’”
“Everybody has their power, we just want to help shine it.”Maureen Pollack
Pollack, too, was looking for a brand and community like Lovability to utilize for the WaterSlyde, but the acquisition cost was out of her range. It seemed as if it wasn’t meant to be – until eight months later. Having received many awards from the WaterSlyde, Pollack partnered with Sharma and Basile to continue working and develop more products. When Sharma and Basile heard about Lovability, they immediately encouraged Pollack to reach out and see if the offer was still on the table. When Pollack called, she heard that Gaines was about to shut down the company in three days. In a flurry of activity, Pollack, Sharma, and Basile flew to Los Angeles, acquired the company.
As co-owners, their tasks are split amongst the three of them. Pollack tends to handle product development, social media and public speaking; Kamini manages Lovability’s branding, marketing and blog articles; and Basile oversees the operational backend of the company. Overall, though, Pollack said they take a collaborative approach to decision-making. One of their first goals after buying Lovability was to make the packaging eco-friendly, which took a complete rehaul. They’re aiming to partner with more retailers and plan on launching a new product within the next month. Though Pollack couldn’t provide any more details, she is very excited by the direction the company is headed in.
“We want to normalize sexual conversations and sexuality … One of the things that I hope Lovability will bring to the customer is a sense of place where you feel comfortable and you belong. That’s what keeps it going,” said Pollack. “I know that I’m helping people feel good about their sexuality and who they are in general. It’s not about empowering them, it empowers me. Everybody has their power, we just want to help shine it.”