“Sex is like exercise in the sense that when you do it you feel better” Eva Goicochea told me in the spring of 2018, shortly before the launch of Maude. The initial four-piece drop was sober, with cleverly packaged condoms, a three-speed vibrator in dove gray, and two types of lube. “The idea is well-being and integration into your daily life – and I know it’s great, super overused,” admitted the founder, referring to the ever-growing self-care movement ( and already cliché). “It has to become a practice,” but not, she added, a chore. The brand’s slogan, after all, had the ringing of an optimistic mantra: “A better morning is coming.”
Two and a half years later – in the midst of a pandemic that has seen more than 22,000 pre-orders of Maude’s bestselling Vibe – this optimistic message is finding many listeners. It also finds a new voice, with today’s announcement that Dakota johnson has signed on as Maude’s new co-creative director, focusing on sustainability initiatives and product development for the growing body care line. The actor is also an investor, having joined the latest $ 2.2 million funding round that features venture capitalists alongside prominent figures including a choreographer. Benjamin Millepied and fashion retailer Steven Alain.
“It’s kind of cool for me to come into a company that already flies, and then I can just do fun stuff,” Johnson said with a smirk, speaking from his Los Angeles home via Zoom last week. Above the actor in my talking heads grid was Goicochea, in the company’s six-person office in Brooklyn. The couple had a weird match: two 30-something brunettes with pairs of twisted bangs. Johnson was quick to point out their resemblance, explaining that she had just had her hair cut after completing a “pretty intense” shoot last month for The lost girl, the next Helene Ferrante adaptation led by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
“I’m just trying to look more and more like Eva,” Johnson joked.
Like the little world, the two have friends in common. There is also an unlikely connection to the industry: “When I was five years old and DJ was a star in the sky, the only movie I was in was his mother,” Goicochea said of 1988. Milagro Beanfield’s war, with Melanie Griffith. The formal business partnership came easily, as in the best-case scenario for the twinning in the pandemic era: Johnson identified Maude through Instagram and her products, followed by a Zoom meeting that highlighted their shared perspectives and their design sensitivity.
“It’s not like I’m like ‘I love Shabby Chic’ and she’s like ‘I like modern Danish.’ We both love modern Danish, “Johnson joked about their aesthetic kinship. They also have a penchant for green, as the actor professed in his recent Architectural summary home visit, as she stood in her painted foam kitchen. Goicochea initially chose forest green as an accent for Maude (and, later, a second colourway for the Vibe) because it represented the brand’s neutral intention. “It’s reminiscent of nature,” Johnson agreed. “The whole basis of Maude is trying to remind people that sexuality is such a fundamental part of being human, that it has to be taken care of as such.”
This fundamental idea of Maude took a long time to take root. “I have to constantly correct people that just because I’m a female founder doesn’t mean it’s a women’s business, which I find subtly sexist,” said Goicochea, who previously worked as a legislative assistant in California ( with healthcare a priority) and was one of Everlane’s first employees. “To me, it didn’t make sense that this industry was gendered because you have sex with any partner, whoever they are; or partners; or yourself. (The latter option hasn’t garnered such public health attention since the AIDS era. “You are your safest sexual partner,” the New York City Health Department advised residents in the first weeks of the pandemic.)
Still, it’s hard to ignore the recent cultural shifts that have been largely ushered in by women, from #MeToo revelations that swirled around when Maude was born, to the role of intimacy coordinators on set, such as kissed by Gyllenhaal HBO The devil) and Olivia wilde (Clever). “In fact, I have never worked with an intimacy coordinator! Johnson said. “That didn’t exist when I made my big naked franchise. I was kind of thrown to the wolves on that one. The level of care that is now given to these vulnerable moments – as one would expect with the fight scenes, Johnson pointed out – is “extremely intelligent and certainly a bit parallel to what the global conversation is. [around sex] is. Well, maybe not global, ”she paused, acknowledging room for progress. “But we’ll get there.”